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Meet Stéphane, the Captain of the Blue Panda

Stéphane Mingueneau is the captain of the Blue Panda. We met him in Toulon while he was preparing the Blue Panda boat for its 6-month journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Let’s know him better...

© Maité Baldi / WWF
Stéphane, captain of the Blue Panda

1- Your name

2- Your first encounter with WWF
It was in 2008, I welcomed Denis Ody, Head of Oceans Program at WWF-France on the Patriarch, on one of my sailboat fleets. We were joining a meeting at the National Parc of Port-Cros, a beautiful island in the south of France.

3- Your feeling being the captain of the Blue Panda
I feel immense pride and a lot of responsibility too!

4- When you first decided that you wanted to be a captain
Since I was a child, the sea has always attracted me. I studied to become an aeronautical technician. In my work environment, I had met a lot of captains… There was a kind of revelation! Being a captain allowed me to combine my attraction to the sea, my technical expertise and human experience and my passion for traveling.

Blue Panda

5- How many times you have crossed the Mediterranean - and your favorite memory
For 30 years, I have been crossing the Mediterranean Sea twice a year on average, so let’s say I have crossed it around 60 times already! I have a lot of great memories. But the first that comes to my mind is when I joined the Vendée Globe (this a single-handed non-stop yacht race around the world without assistance!!). We had to face a storm, with wind force between 10 and 11. These were the highest waves I have ever faced in my entire life...at least till now! (quick nautical lesson: if you want to know how strong 10-11 wind force is, check here)

6- The Mediterranean for you is...
...a cradle of civilizations, an incredible variety of cultures, an unpredictable and hard sea, a jewel of biodiversity.

7- Your “wow” moment while sailing in the Mediterranean
I have many, but definitively, the human experiences that lie behind this amazing environment. Nowhere else, apart from maybe on a spaceship, you can have what you live while sailing on a boat.

8- What you like and what you hate or miss, when you are at sea
I like to lose all sense of time when I’m at sea. I definitely miss sitting next to a warm fire at the end of the day :)

© Maité Baldi / WWF
Stéphane, captain of the Blue Panda, with a young football player from Marseille

9- How much plastic you see at sea
Really a lot, mainly concentrated in coastal areas. While sailing, I have spotted piles of waste that were up to a meter of height covering beaches or creeks.

10- Your message to the people who will meet the Blue Panda
The Mediterranean is seriously at threat. Be responsible, act now, and don’t forget our future generations. Join us to protect our beautiful sea: It is time to change, there is still time to change!

See you in Italy!

Stéphane is now sailing together with Charles as second captain, and Yan as sailor. If you have some questions for the Captain and his crew, you can meet them and the Blue Panda team in Argentario (Italy) next week, from 3 to 7 July.