They all jumped into the atmosphere and excitement in the Vendée Globe Village, and are busy with interviews, autograph sessions, visits from sponsors, while everyone wants to shake their hand.
“We’re going to have to be careful, as we’re going to miss this, when we’re out at sea,” Kito de Pavant said yesterday on the pontoon. How do the skippers cope during this period? What do they do each day? How do they get any rest? When will they really enter their own little world as an ocean racer? The sailors told us about what their current life is like in amongst the crowds.
Some are busy dealing with final details, making adjustments, because they struggled to find the time or money. Then there are others, who manage to get away from it all to get some rest, as their boat is fully ready with everything sorted. The Swiss sailor Alan Roura (La Fabrique) is one for whom these final three weeks feel much too short: “We’ve still got plenty to do to be ready for the start. I won’t have much time for anything else. I’m going to be busy working on the boat.”. Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent) also got his funding together late on and is taking advantage of these final days to work on the technical aspects: “There’s no time for taking it easy. It’s been a year that I haven’t had time for that.”
Bringing the crowds and sponsors together
With a million visitors in the Village in 2012, the Vendée Globe is the only sailing event like this with fans, tourists, the general public getting so close to sailors, boats and teams. The pontoon has been full since the boats arrived last Thursday. The sailors take that into account. “It’s a time when we get together with the public and sponsors and we all enjoy it,” said Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac). Vincent Riou (PRB) also makes the most of this period: he will be talking to 350 clients of PRB about his passion for racing alone around the world, which he is doing for the fourth time: “This is how our projects work. We want to see everyone here, our supporters, we have to share this passion for the Vendée Globe with them.” Each sailor has a carefully drawn up schedule organised by their press attaché or by a member of their family, to allow them to get a little time to breathe. “I have some slots in the morning and evening, so I can go surfing, swimming or jogging. I’m trying to keep to my routine,” explained Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild). Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir) is never without his Figaro or his surfboard either. At 8 on Sunday morning, he was out there surfing and hopes to get in two or three sessions on his Figaro Bénéteau 2 to stay in contact with the sea and the elements.
Some time off before it gets going
While Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ), Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut), Vincent Riou (PRB), and the majority of international skippers, like Rich Wilson (Great American IV), or Kojiro Shiraishi (Spirit of Yukoh) are based in Les Sables d’Olonne for three weeks, many have decided to take a few days off to get away from it all. “During these days off, I’ll have some normal days with sport, looking after my son and taking some time out,” stressed Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine). Jean-Pierre Dick will be going off for nature walks with his partner to try to forget everything and get some rest. The idea for them all is to reduce the stress. Everyone has their own method, as they look forward to 1202hrs UTC on 6th November.
Sébastien Josse (France), Edmond de Rothschild:
“I went through some physical training in Brittany and I’ll be continuing in Les Sables d’Olonne. We have to keep at it, as there is a lot to do and it’s important to stay in good shape. I’ll be running, swimming and surfing if I find the time. I’ll sail once a week to remain focused going through everything right up to the start. I want everything to stay in place on board to be ready for the big day.”
Kito de Pavant (France), Bastide Otio:
“These three weeks in Les Sables are different from the others. We see so many people, while in general sailors tend to be quiet and keep to themselves. We mustn’t get used to it, as we’ll miss it during the Vendée Globe! I’m taking some time out, but am remaining focused on the race. Sailing around the world is complicated, as there are so many things to think about.”
Vincent Riou (France), PRB:
“I’ve a busy schedule right up to 6th November, and I’ll be here all the time except for one weekend, when I’ll go home. We’re seeing 350 clients, so am present every morning in la Mothe-Achard with the firm to answer their questions about the Vendée Globe. I leave them to it at lunchtime, as I want to have a light meal and have a little nap. After that, they visit the boat. That is what allows our projects to work. If we want to interest people and have support, you have to invest beforehand. We have to share our passion for sailing and the Vendée Globe with them.”
Alan Roura (Suisse), La Fabrique:
“I’m working with a small team and have lots of little details left to deal with to be ready on the big day. I also have to deal with the media, and this is part of my job. My days are full and I’m getting through a lot of coffee. I don’t have any time for anything else, but I hope to get three days off to get some rest and forget things.”
Kojiro Shiraishi (Japon), Spirit of Yukoh:
“I’m making the most of my stay in Les Sables d’Olonne. I’m soaking up the atmosphere with the spectators. The atmosphere on the pontoons is incredible. The boat is more or less ready for the Vendée Globe. I still have a bit of learning to do about the computer. On the week of the start more than a hundred people from Japan (sponsors, friends) will be coming to Les Sables d’Olonne to visit the Vendée Globe Village. They are going to be impressed seeing such excitement.”
Jean Le Cam (France), Finistère Mer Vent:
“I’ll be busy over the next three weeks with media commitments, autograph sessions and the technical work. My project is rather unusual. We got our rig and sails at the last moment. Fortunately, we got a lot of support. There’s no time for easing off, but I’ll try to get some rest.”
Thomas Ruyant (France), Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine:
“The schedule is very full during the first week with lots of interviews. We were ready, when we got here, so I don’t have much to do on the boat. We’re enjoying the event and soaking up the atmosphere. I have planned to take a week off with my family in Lorient with some normal days.”
Arnaud Boissières (France), La Mie Câline:
“We’re going out sailing on Tuesday, as we have a few things to see to on the boat, such as setting up the autopilot, for example. The visits from partners are scheduled here in the workshop, which makes it easier than aboard the boat. I became a Dad last week, so I’m getting used to not getting much sleep!”
Louis Burton (France), Bureau Vallée:
“I’m really enjoying it here. It’s great to attract so many people and see how the public is interested in our project. The boat is almost ready and the family is on their way. I’m trying not to get too stressed and to stay calm. We have decided to set up appointments on the first and last week in general. I’ll be taking some time off in the middle. Apart from that, I’m doing some cycling, so I am managing to do some sport…”
Jean-Pierre Dick (France), StMichel-Virbac:
“It’s never that easy. You have to deal with the situation, but in the end, it’s a moment when we get together with the public and our sponsor. We try to be available to them, even if the race is already on our minds. We also need to take some time out, do some sport to sleep well and keep up the exercises. My trainer is here. I’m swimming, cycling, so not doing anything dangerous During my week off, I won’t be going home. I’m going abroad with my partner to enjoy the natural world and do some walks together.”
by Vendée Globe