Pitras Olivier (France)
After facing the green inferno of the Amazon forest where he buys his first ship and exploring the canals that run through the Tierra del fuego and Patagonia, Olivier Pitras becomes the first Frenchman to cross the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean by sailboat (Northwest Passage).
From the age of 15, Olivier knew that sailing would direct his life. When he was 18, he followed an intensive navigation program and had to pass his High School baccalaureate exams independently. Driven by the call of the wild, he leaves France at 23 after having graduated in the field of physical education and having followed several cycles at the Nautical and Oceanographic Institute and in naval architecture.Â
The Amazon remains his first big adventure, exploring its rivers by trimaran and kayak. Olivier Pitra's experience in the green Inferno is one of his favorites. He acquires his first sailboat in no time.
During two and a half years, he quits being a captain in Kourou and becomes a business man. He saves three companies from bankruptcy. During this time, his hobbies involve observing the last black caimans that live in the Kaw swamps and traveling the wide rivers by canoe in search of the last Amazon Indians.
From then on, the bow of his ship brings him to the Polar Regions. He returns to the Grenadines just three months a year. Alaska and British Columbia become, for a few years, his favorite destinations.
Aged 39, he returns to Europe through the Northwest Passage and becomes the first French skipper to have crossed the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean by sailboat. He now lives above the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway, where he has set up a navigation company, 69 NORTH. "After having spent 17 years traveling on expeditions in the some of the most remote places of Earth, I returned to Europe after the Transarctic 99 crossing. By becoming the first French skipper to cross the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean by sailboat, I have been able to meet a lot of people and receive a huge amount of fan mail. Many thought I should share the experience I have in the Polar Regions with others. This new business has allowed me to measure actual distances crossed since the age of 10 when I used to study the atlas for hours, organizing imaginary expeditions."