By Jochen Rieker, YACHT magazine. Republished by permission.

He is one of the greatest of our time. And one of the few who enjoy international success in different fleets and in different classes -- singlehanded, doublehanded, or with a full complement of crew -- around the globe or around the cans.

French sailing hero Loïck Peyron holds the inaugural Seamaster Award.


Now Loïck Peyron has been honored for his biggest feat to date -- his triumph in the Jules Verne Trophy last year, sailing the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V. At the recent Düsseldorf Boat Show Flagship Night, sponsored by German publishers Delius Klasing, he was the first to receive the new Seamaster Award.

Never did any sailor get around the world faster than this legendary French skipper. On January 6, 2012, the 53-year old set a new record of 45 days, 13 hours for a nonstop circumnavigation. It’s a performance that up to that point had seemed unimaginable, and might endure for a while.

But it is not just that miracle-record by Peyon and his crew that electrified the sailing world. He also won millions of hearts with his fun and witty approach to dealing with the hardships underway – be it calms, storms, heat, ice, breakdowns, or sleep deficit. And as soon as he had returned from this record trip, he showcased his talents as the skipper of Energy Team in a very different context: on an AC45 catamaran at the America’s Cup World Series.

“I learned to sail in my mother’s womb," he commented, having flown in from San Francisco where he and the Swedish Artemis team are preparing for the next America’s Cup.

With this award, Delius Klasing and the Düsseldorf Boat Show recognized Peyron as leader and trendsetter for water sports. The Frenchman was welcomed by more than 400 invited guests with cheers, applause, and standing ovations. He called it an emotional moment. The presentation speech was given by Wilfried Erdmann, who met him 25 years ago at the start of the very first Vendee Globe and has followed his career ever since. Germany’s only solo-nonstop circumnavigator praised Peyron as someone who always seems to find time, even in the most intense moments, to win over others for a sport that has been close to his heart.

This story originally appeared in YACHT magazine.

Translated by Dieter Loibner,