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Vendee Globe - Mirabaud skipper looks forward to monumental challenge

by Bernard Schopfer on 3 Nov 2012
Dominique Wavre onboard Mirabaud © Thierry Martinez/Mirabaud
On the 10th November, the skipper of Mirabaud will cross the start line of his 10th round the world race, the Vendee Globe. A week out, we take a look at some of the challenges that await him during one of the most difficult ocean races on the planet.

Friday 2 November 2012 – On Saturday 10 November, Swiss sailor Dominique Wavre will start the 2012 edition of the Vendée Globe. The skipper has been based in the Sables D’Olonne since the 19 October and states that he is feeling ‘calm’ in the last few days before the start. He also says that he has never felt so well prepared a week before the start of a big race.

The non-stop solo round the world race starts on Saturday 10 November at 13:02. From the moment he crosses the start line, Dominique Wavre will be alone and master of his own destiny for three months. He will be on watch 24 hours around the clock and will be pushing his yacht to its limit to maintain an average of 18 knots boat speed.

He will encounter all weather conditions, from extreme to mild, as he races from Vendée to the tropics before venturing into the Southern Ocean.

Dominique’s sleep pattern will be drastically reduced during the race: in general he will cat nap and when conditions permit he might get 4-5 hours sleep at the most. He will rest at the chart table, fully clothed and ready to react.

His every waking moment will be dedicated to steering, trimming, analysing the weather and deciding on strategy. He will also need to mend things, shoot footage and photographs and be available for interviews with the race committee. Managing his health, food intake and physical condition will be critical and he will need to consume between 4000 and 5000 calories a day depending on the conditions in order to maintain the energy levels required to deal with the challenges that he will face.

'I’m not nervous,' he says. 'I am actually quite excited and really looking forward to getting started, the Vendée Globe is an adventure! I am getting used to the moment just before the start of a big race; it is exhilarating. I know where I am going, and after all these years I am experienced enough to face the prospect with a feeling of calm!'

After the start, the fleet will race across the Bay of Biscay – always a feat in November – and head for the north-east Trades, which will sweep them towards the Equator and the famous Doldrums with its dead calm and sudden squalls. The fleet is likely to bunch up and restart in this area for a race to the Southern Ocean to pick up the freezing westerly wind in the roaring forties and screaming fifties in December.

The Southern Ocean is the wildest most inhospitable place on the planet; it also happens to be one of Dominique Wavre’s favourite stretches of water. Its beauty and wild, unpredictable nature draws him like no other ocean in the world.

Rendez-vous on the 10 November 2012 for the start of this epic solo round the world Dominique Wavre Vendee Globe website

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