On Friday 14th October, the fleet is almost complete at the Vendée Globe pontoon. 28 IMOCAs out of the 29 (Sébastien Destremau is due to arrive around 19th or 20th October) have been moored up in Les Sables d’Olonne since last night.
In the space of less than 24 hours, 23 boats made their way through the harbour entrance channel in Les Sables, with most of the competitors arriving during the day yesterday ((Thursday 13th October). In the middle of the night, Banque Populaire VIII, Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine, Safran, 100% Natural Energy and Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir were the latest boats to moor up. Since yesterday, the crowds have been out to greet the solo sailors and see their boats.
There are now three weeks of festivities scheduled in the Vendée Globe Village, which opens its doors tomorrow at 10 a.m. local time.
“All of the boats are now moored up at the Vendée Globe pontoon, except for one, which received dispensation, Sébastien Destremau’s TechnoFirst-faceOcean, which was dismasted and required repairs late on,” explained Jacques Caraës, the Race Director, who was present to welcome each sailor arriving at the pontoon. “The last five boats arrived during the night. So, now they’re all here. Everything went smoothly and the first briefing for team managers is scheduled for three this afternoon. Sébastien Destremau is currently sailing up the coast of Portugal. It’s all going perfectly!”
You can feel the tension building in Les Sables d’Olonne, as if the countdown had begun to the big day, when the race starts at 1202hrs UTC on Sunday 6th November. Between then and now, the sailors will be juggling with their communications obligations, trying to get some rest, while remaining fully focused on what lies ahead. The crowds will be able to enjoy the atmosphere and let their imagination run wild.
Opening of the Vendée Globe Village on Saturday at 10 a.m.
On Saturday, the inauguration ceremony in the Vendée Globe Race Village is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the presence of Yves Auvinet (President of the SAEM Vendée), Bruno Retailleau (President of the Pays de la Loire Region), Didier Gallot (Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne) and Pascal Cadorel (Sodebo). For the ribbon cutting and the group photo, the official personalities will be joined by the 28 skippers currently present in Les Sables d’Olonne. The sailors will then be able to carry on their work, while there is a procession for the dignitaries through the Village, before they get back with the sailors at 11.30 a.m. for the pontoon visit. The traditional official photo of the skippers will take place an hour later in front of the pontoon in Port Olona.
As a reminder, the Village will be open every day from 15th October to 6th November from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. Late openings are also planned on Saturdays with doors closing at 10 p.m. (15th October, 22nd October, 29th October, 5th November).
Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut):
“What a pleasure it is to be here. It’s a victory to moor up in Les Sables d’Olonne and to tell ourselves that in just over three weeks, we’ll be casting off to set sail around the world. It was highly emotional this afternoon sailing through the harbour entrance channel!”
Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys):
“I was feeling stressed out, when I left home, so the delivery trip was a bit of a battle, and we had quite a lot of wind during the night. I’m pleased to have made it to Les Sables.”
Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ):
“The delivery trip went well with ideal conditions. We left Lorient at nine and got here at one this afternoon. Everything is set up for the next three weeks, and I’ll be focusing on the start of the race.”
Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent):
“Finally! It hasn’t been easy getting here. But we’re here now and are ready for the start.”
Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild):
“The pressure will gradually build, but I’m keeping calm and am ready to deal with everything in the coming days and have included that in my preparation.”
Stéphane Le Diraison (Compagnie du Lit-Boulogne Billancourt):
“We’ve carried out the final checks and are really pleased with the boat. For me it’s a victory being here. It seems unreal, but the welcome to Les Sables was fantastic.”
Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur):
“There are more boats on the pontoon than four years ago. It’s going to be a great race. You can feel that the locals are getting excited. I’m starting to remember everything about my last Vendée Globe.”
Alan Roura (La Fabrique):
“To be honest, getting here is magic. We worked around the clock to get this far. I don’t think there’s any pressure on me, but I haven’t really grasped what’s happening to me.”
by Vendée Globe