Rendezvous in Zaï Zaï unknown …

On September 27, 2021, the Gahinet family left Les Sables-d’Olonne for a three-year ocean adventure. Gwénolé, one of the fastest sailors on a round-the-world sailing trip, will take the time to live differently, with his wife Anne-Laure, and their two daughters Julie and Cléo.

A bubble of happiness towards a new life, filled with unknowns, adventures and good humor. Gwénolé and Anne-Laure Gahinet took their daughters aged three and four and a half on board “Zaï Zaï”, an epoxy wood catamaran, to explore the world in a different way. Discover a committed, sober and resilient lifestyle to change the way they work, consume, educate and… travel. “Our adventure will allow us to understand the world around us a little better,” explains Anne-Laure. We are no longer in mass consumption, like when we go on vacation for a week or two in the year. This time, we are lucky to be able to take the time. ” These board sports enthusiasts of all kinds now have the vastness of the oceans as their playground.

François Gabart’s co-skipper on the last Brest Atlantiques is a jack-of-all-trades sailor, holder of the Jules Verne trophy, winner of the mini transat 2011, the transat AG2R in 2014 and the Solitaire du Figaro in the rookie category. He also put his experience as an engineer and naval architect to the benefit of their Eclipse 472, a second-hand catamaran of around 14 meters. A common crush for Anne-Laure and Gwénolé. The couple had been searching for this Grail for several months. They finally landed it in Martinique, in 2020. Then direction Hennebont, in Morbihan, for a mega repair project. The rudder, the electronics, the water network, the sails, the electrical network, everything goes there. “The boat has been stripped naked,” remembers Gwénolé. Today, “Zaï Zaï” is self-sufficient in water and energy thanks to solar panels. Eleven months of work and its share of surprises … Underneath this “big whale” are actually hidden a few hidden miseries. Structural problem, delivery delays… The works budget doubles. To finance their project, the “Zaï Zaï” as they call themselves, sold, among other things, their house in Lorient, in Morbihan. Anne-Laure and Gwénolé sometimes doubted, but the desire for adventure transcends the daily galleys.

Work on board the

Work on board the “Zaï Zaï”. © DR

In 2019, their second daughter Cléo was only a few weeks old when the lovers embark the whole family for a navigation in the Grenadines. On the program: enjoy this new life for four. “When Julie was born, Gwénolé was doing offshore races and for my part, I was pretty busy with my work,” recalls Anne-Laure. For Cléo we wanted to do things differently. ” This parenthesis of a month and a half, out of time proves to them that another way of living is possible. Their credo: “Let’s take advantage of loving each other now.” Because what will happen in ten years if we continue to cross paths? ”

Gwénolé and Anne-Laure are also inhabited by another issue, more collective this time. The impact of our consumption on nature. And the risks that society poses to the future of the planet. On land, everyone is committed. Gwénolé participates in the creation of the collective La Vague with five other sailors, for a greener offshore race. According to them, “performance for the sake of performance is no longer enough”. Anne-Laure, co-founder of Colloc, a coworking space in Lorient of nearly 2,000 square meters, promotes a new way of working. The third place offers training, development advice and outsources its services to large companies or local communities. A Lorient success story focused on transversal management. The young woman, who devotes another two days a month to her business, plans with her husband to welcome scientists, engineers, adventurers, etc. on board. “We have a lot of ideas to develop activities along the way and allow us to find sufficient financial autonomy to make this trip last and share,” explains Anne-Laure.

The Gahinet family aboard the

The Gahinet family aboard the “Zaï Zaï”. © Alexis Courcoux

It remains to establish a roadmap. The couple then thinks of embarking in the cold regions, the channels of Patagonia, Antarctica, allowing them to combine their passion for the mountains. The choice is too complicated with small children. The cruise will therefore take place in a milder climate.

Appointment is given in September 2021 in Sables-d’Olonne for the big bath. They have signed up as an accompanying boat for the Mini-Transat. As a nod to the winner of the 2011 edition. Gwénolé, used to traveling the oceans at dizzying speeds in Ultim, these new generation ships piloted like racing cars, is about to write a new chapter, accompanied by his shock sailors. First step: the Grenadines. Before making, as they hope, stopover in Polynesia. “An amazing place with awesome ocean culture for girls to experience.” Because life on board is a school in itself.


The “Zaï Zaï” at sea. © Alexis Courcoux

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