Clarisse Crémer: “Knocked out of the world because mom”

Clarisse Crémer: “Knocked out of the world because mom”

Clarisse Crémer is a French ocean sailor who at the Vendée Globe 2020/21, the non-stop solo round the world tour, a marathon of the seas considered one of the toughest regattas, placed 12th, battling winds and waves for 87 days 2 hours , a time that gave her the distinction of the fastest edition ever accomplished by a woman. Crémer is also a mum, she had Mathilda last November. And because she is a mum, she denounces, now she has been left “on the ground” by her sponsor Banque Populaire, because she “doesn’t want to run the risk that I won’t be able to qualify for the 2024 edition”.

Clarisse, whom we had followed on her last round-the-world tour with great sympathy, for her sporting prowess and her media appeal (her videos are beautiful), expresses her disappointment and bitterness in a long post. Also due to the rules imposed by the organization of the Vendée Globe. “Today the rules forbid a woman from having a child,” she writes. “What does equality mean? And then they deplore the fact of the small number of women on the starting line…”.

Here is his complaint.

“I gave birth to a baby girl in November 2022. Even if nothing forced me to do so, I informed my sponsor Banque Populaire in February 2021 of my maternal and family project. They still chose me for the Vendée Globe 2024 and communicated the our mutual commitment in the fall of 2021.

Last Friday I learned that Banque Populaire has decided to replace me. By their decision, and despite my constant will, I will not be at the start of the 2024 Vendée Globe.

The Vendée Globe rules for the 2024 edition require all skippers to compete based on the number of miles covered during the race. On this criterion, of course, I lagged behind the other competitors at the start, this motherhood prevented me from being present at the qualifying races for a year.

Today Banque Populaire decides that this represents a “risk” for them that in the end they do not want to take.

I’m in shock. I have other projects started much more recently, however, that continue without anyone batting an eye. With 2 full seasons and 4 transatlantic races missing to get back to the level needed to compete, I was fully equipped to reach my physical recovery as soon as possible.

But for Banque Populaire it would have been like “letting fate choose for them” and that they “must” be at the start of the Vendée Globe. It is remarkable that they are prepared to take the risk of (sponsoring) a giant trimaran and all the natural, technical and human hazards associated with offshore racing, but not that of motherhood.

If offshore regattas exist today it is because the sponsors choose them as a means of communication and use them to tell great sporting and therefore, a priori, human stories. I am in total incomprehension in the face of the story that this sponsor has chosen to tell today: “The Vendée Globe, at all costs. »

Even the Vendée Globe organization is content to “apologize” to me, but says it “can’t do anything”. It is the organization that writes the rules. Remind them that 4 years ago I would have automatically been selected as a finisher of the previous edition (having finished a Vendée, the rules said she would have automatically qualified for the next edition). I recall that 13 new boats (1/3 of the fleet) benefit from an exemption so as to be automatically selected for the next Vendée Globe in the name of supporting innovation.

The rules of a competition are intended to ensure fairness and fair play. Today it is clear that the rules chosen by the Vendée Globe prohibit a woman from having a child, even if she is a recognized sportswoman, already a finisher in the previous edition. In the 21st century, who would you believe that such rules would be fair? It is also easy to deplore the low number of women at the starting line.

I would like to thank the people who have supported me and who will recognize themselves in me. I am determined to sail again, under the colors of a trusted partner whose human beliefs I will share. My passion for sailing remains intact and I will soon overcome the disillusionment I am experiencing today. Above all, I am thinking of all the women, athletes and non-athletes, who go through similar difficulties without having this opportunity to speak. What does equality mean for women? Behave in all respects as men and therefore above all not be pregnant? If I speak today, it is not out of revenge, to attract attention or to pity myself, but to provoke reflection and in the hope of advancing our society”.

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