Vendee Globe Banque Populaire and Armel Le Cleac’h

Banque Populaire is a co-op of banks, including retail and commercial & insurance companies around France. The holding/parent company-Groupe BP is publicly traded on the Paris Bourse. Their revenue from the Core business line for first three quarters 2012 is 5 Billion Euros.
The English website for what looks like their charitable arm states that BP has: 36 million customers, 8.5 million cooperative shareholders, 117,000 employees & 8,000 branches
In addition to  sponsoring (their first) Vendee globe entry they also sponsor a Figaro Team and are the Marque behind the current holder of the Trophe Jules Verne, the 130 foot trimaran Banque Populaire V.
They have been sponsoring Sailing since 1990 (22 years) so one must assume they like what the relationship with sailing is doing for them.

They are also an Official Partner, since 2000, of the FFV, an Official Partner of the French Olympic Team and they are the Official Partner of The Association Eric Tabarly. On their BP Voile site, there is a blow by blow of the Vendee Globe apparently direct from the VG site and the boat itself, currently leading (1430 EST-Saturday). The Vendee Imoca 60 Team Face Book page has 6500 likes-Up from 5295 earlier this week. There is also a BP You Tube channel-for just the IMOCA 60, with 25 videos on it.

Let’s see:
Figaro for a season: 500,000 Euros. IMOCA 60 for 4 years, at this level, 24m Euros. (Easy math-6m a year
This is the tricky one-a 130 foot Ocean greyhound tri…Euro10 million a year?
Consider: 10 guys in the crew, at least that many in the pits, a mainsail is probably a quarter Million Euros…2,3,4 serious Ribs,simply painting it is probably the same amount of Euros….
Total sailing sponsorship (including the Olympics, FFV and Tabarly…? I guess north of 20-25 million Euros a year.

It seems as though our boy Armel has  been recruited by a big program with lots of resources. One wonders why?

(Trivia section-His older brother Gael is the boat captain for Vincent Riou on PRB…)

From the VG skipper’s dossiers section:
2nd 2000
1st 2003
1st Solo offshore racing Championship 2003
4th in 2004 Plus winning the Transat AG2R-trans-at in the Figaro 2
1st 2010 Win, again in the Transat Ag2R
4th Route Du Rhumb 2006
IMOCA world champ and 4th in The Artemis Transat-2008 formerly the O.S.T.A.R.
2nd Vendee Globe in 2008/9
2nd Route du Rhumb 2010
3rd in the TJV 2011
2nd in the B2B (A solo race back to France from Columbia or wherever the Rd R finishes-It is another VG qualifier) after R du R in 2011
3rd In the Europe Warm Up 2012
1st GP Guyader 2012

Embarks on 2nd VG, November 2012

The Grand Prix Guyader is held in the Brenton seaport town of Douarnenez from Mid April to early May, it is a combined regatta for everything from MOD70’s, Maxi’s , IMOCA 60’s Class 40 to Dragons, mid sized sport boats to Stand Up Paddle boards, Kite sailing and stopping at Opti’s.…It is an absolutely  full blown regatta well underway while boats in the North East US are just getting the covers off…..

Oh, it is only a couple of weeks after Spi Ouest in La Trinite the 2013 edition of which, the 35th, will be held over the weekend of 28 March to 1 April, with usually about 500 boats, at 47.5 degrees north.