Light winds send the children on their way

Les Voiles de l’Espoir

15-22 June 2024


 After 730 days of preparation the 12th Voiles de l’Espoir, sponsored this year by Christian Millette from the TV ‘Dance avec les Stars’ show, got underway on Sunday 16th June from Saint-Raphaël. A hundred children in remission from cancer and leukaemia aboard 50 boats are sailing along the French Riviera for a week. On Wednesday 19th June, these young sailors aged 8 to 14 called into the YCM Marina for an exceptional 24 hours.


A stopover in the heart of the Principality

Aboard sailing cruiser boats, the children are rediscovering the joys of learning, while working together as crew and feeling that sense of freedom you get out at sea. During the week they are storing away so many great memories from the sunny Mediterranean as they take in Saint-Raphaël, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Monaco and Golfe-Juan.


Ashore a very special programme awaited them in Monaco, as they attended the changing of the guard followed by a visit to the Palace hosted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, then a lap of the famous F1 circuit in cars provided by Automobile Club de Monaco members. An emotional day ended with psycho-fun workshops at the Yacht Club de Monaco before a Princesses and Princes Pirates party. “We were so lucky to get into the Yacht Club,” beamed a delighted Baptiste, age 13. “This adventure has been nothing but happiness as at home we only think about how little we can do, while here we don’t think about our illness and that’s really, really nice”.


Solidarity without borders

Organised every two years, this 100% volunteer meeting is the largest nautical event in the world for children in remission. It is thanks to the 400 adults who are mobilised to accompany and support 100 young patients, aged 8 to 14 from all walks of life (France, Morocco, Israel, Luxembourg, Belgium Switzerland) for a week.


Already more than 1,000 youngsters have benefited from this wonderful initiative since it started 20 years ago. Most of the children have undergone intensive chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant and for the majority this is their first outing outside their medical and family situation. This unique experience is organised in such a way that every child regains their self-confidence which is so often dented by illness.


This Thursday morning the fleet headed back out to sea to sail to Golfe-Juan for another port of call full of unforgettable memories.