Richard-Marika is a boat that the Mini community knows well. She’s the boat skippers contact after rounding the Basse Vieille to make their impending arrival known, and as such she’s a symbol of the relief and elation that come with finishing the race. She’s a boat that competitors can hear because the horn sound signal for the race to start is emitted from her, and so is the Race Committee’s VHF, which ascertains the competitor’s identity and logs the precise time. Richard-Marika is a blue boat seen as a goal to reach in order to complete the regatta.
On the other hand, Richard-Marika is the flagship of the charity Optmiste 29, whose Chair, Gilles Guyader, on the occasion of the pre-race speeches, gave thanks to the Winches club for the gift of Richard-Marika to his organisation. Indeed, this former fishing boat (a seiner) has been converted to facilitate access to disabled people or people with reduced mobility, so they can go on board and enjoy cruising in the Bay of Douarnenez throughout the summer. Richard-Marika makes it possible for hundreds of people each year to go boating.
Richard-Marika is not only the property of Optimiste 29, she is a whole team of people who make time to work together, year on year, during the Mini 6.50 races organised by the Winches Club. Firstly, there’s the Captain, Louis, and his crew. Then there’s the even-tempered Jean-Jacques, who acts as a general coordinator and maverick, whose services range from weather forecasting, logistics, to assisting the Race Organisers. There’s Chantal, in charge of safety checks and a maternal figure nicknamed ‘mum’ by the skippers. There’s also Christian, the charity’s Treasurer, who can always be relied on whenever you need help; there’s the delightful Christine, who helps with a variety of tasks, and finally Dominique, who carries out safety checks, does the night watch on board Richard-Marika, and does a whole raft of maintenance jobs on the boat throughout the year.
Photos: Simon Jourdan