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Michel Desjoyeaux -- 'The Professor'

Michel Desjoyeaux
A sparkling performance earned Michel Desjoyeaux victory in the Vendee Globe  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Although Michel Desjoyeaux shortens his name to Mich Desj, his nickname is 'The Professor'.

The 36-year-old was introduced to sailing at a young age by his father who was one of the founders of the famous Glenan sailing school and who also ran a boatyard.

A father of three, he has spent a lifetime preparing to be a professional sailor and at the age of 18 sailed on Pen-Duick VI after the Figaro Solo race.

He was hired by Eric Tabarly as a crew member on the yacht Cote d'Or in the 1985 Whitbread Round the World race.

After the race he took part in the Tour de Europe with Philippe Jeantot on Credit Agricole, and in 1990, he co-skippered with Jean Maurel in the Twostar, which they won.

Michel has raced in Formula 40 regattas and has taken part in the Tour Voile as well as the renowned Solitaire du Figaro.

In 1992, after skippering Elf for two years, he won the Solitaire du Figaro and followed that up with victory (with Jacques Caraes on Sill Plein Fruit-France 3 Ouest), in the AG2R Transatlantic race.

In the meantime, he pioneered the swing keel, which is now standard on racing mono hulls.

Michel Desjoyeaux then set off to sea again, taking part in the Whitbread on La Poste (1993), and then joining Alain Thébault on his flying boat L’Hydroptère. He has since spent well over a year preparing for the Vendée Globe.

His preparation was hampered though when he finished only seventh in the 2000 Europe 1 New Man STAR, after a dismasting on his Open 60, PRB, just two weeks before the start of the race.

The official Vendee Globe race Web site said Mich was more in "delivery" mode, rather than flat-out racing. He was not keen to push the boat too hard, as it was his qualifying sail for the 2000 Vendée Globe.

The PRB is arguably the most technically advanced of the new generation of Open 60 boats, with a joined Finot-Conq hull, a rotating mast, a horseshoe mainsheet traveller, and a mobile navigation desk.

Vendee Globe 2000

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