Franck Lagarde, from the Lycée de la Mer de Sète to all the seas of the world

Franck Lagarde, from the Lycée de la Mer de Sète to all the seas of the world

Franck Lagarde est parti en Antarctique avant de rejoindre la Méditerranée. – DR

À 40 ans, le marin au long cours Franck Lagarde, de Sète, a déjà passé 23 ans de sa vie sur l’eau, sur toutes les mers du globe.

À son époque, en 1999, quand on entrait au lycée de la Mer de Sète,"either we were the son of a fisherman, or we really wanted to sail, or it’was the siding". Franck Lagarde's parents were not the most delighted when he told them of this desire for direction. But he was really driven by the desire to sail. It was a good thing for him since 25 years later, he crossed all the seas around the globe. This long-distance sailor is one of the few to have this status on this unique island.

On a trawler then a ferry

He was far from suspecting it when, at the age of 17, with his first diploma in mechanics in hand, he boarded a trawler from Sète. "I really wanted to sail and I told myself that I would continue my studies later", he slips into his living room with walls covered with representations of boats. But the pace of life fishing and the very low salary pushed him to look for something else. This will be the cleaner's position on board the Médiranée, a former SNCM boat. A curious ebb and flow of history since Franck, since last June, has re-embarkated on this boat…

15 years on container ships

On board this ferry, in the space reserved for propulsion, the young Sète cleans. Little by little, increase your skills. "This is the initiatory path in the merchant navy, he explains. We start at the bottom and work our way up. This is how you learn the trade". A job that he will continue, as a worker, on CMA-CGM container ships. Buildings some 350 m long that can transport up to 9,000 containers. And which cross all the seas of the globe. For fifteen years, he saw the Sétois from all points of the compass. From the great North to the great South, from the East to the West. World tours Hong Kong – Hong Kong in 84 days. Stopovers in improbable ports where it was better not to get off. Ports with places not to frequent and others not to miss. Opulent cities and others with overflowing poverty.

In the deep South on the Marion Dufresne

"I loved the stopovers in the United States, he admits.The Americans knew how to keep their trading ports in the cities. Arriving in Seattle in the early morning smoking my cigarette on the bow of the boat surrounded by whales will remain one of my great memories". Franck Lagarde will continue his initiatory journey by becoming machine master on the prestigious Marion Dufresne, the supply ship of the southern lands managed at the time by the CMA-CGM. For five years, he spent his life between Australia and South Africa, in Antarctica. "We also did sessions for oceanographic missions beyond the 60th. And there it was like when I watched Commander Cousteau on Sunday on TV.

He resumes classes at 35

This life will stop when CMA-CGM loses the call for tenders for the supply ship. Franck Lagarde will return to container ships for a while. But life there had become "dull. Now these ships are unloaded in less than twelve hours. We arrive. We leave. We don't even have time to go down and visit. Sailing also means discovering other countries. And there it is less and less possible". The Sète native then "resumed classes" to get his diploma as a chief engineer at the Lycée de la Mer. At 35 years old. The apprenticeship was interspersed with missions for Corsica Linea (which took over most of the SNCM). “At the Lycée de la Mer, they are extraordinary, he exclaims.They understood the benefit of training sailors. There are fewer and fewer of them and I can say that French sailors are popular and competitive".

Soon on a sailing freighter?

At 40 years old, Franck Lagarde now has his officer diploma from the ENSM. Before re-embarking on the Médiranée, which he will take care of after the summer with the total overhaul of the machinery system, he accompanied the’ nbsp;launch of a cruise line bringing its customers near Antarctica from Ushuaia. Just to take a breath of fresh air before crisscrossing the Big Blue, and to see his wife and two children more often. "After the Mediterranean, which will take me a year, I don’t know what the future holds for me, he said. But I know that one day I will embark on a sailing freighter." Logic for a person whose final dissertation wondered about solutions for greener navigation.

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