Sébastien Josse heads for Vendée Globe start port

Sébastien Josse / BT Open 60. Crédit: Thierry Martinez/ Sea&Co/ Sébastien Josse-BT - Vendee Globe
Sébastien Josse onboard the BT Open 60 is heading for the Vendée Globe start.

After the news that Hugo Boss has dismasted after a collision with a fishing vesel while waiting to enter the port of Les Sables D'olonne last night. 'We are shocked to hear the news about Alex and we really hope that Hugo Boss can be on the startline of the race. Even to get on the start is a big challenge and it is awfull for the team after all the preparation. we wish them the best of luck.'

BT Open 60 skipper, Seb Josse, has spent the last few years planning to do the 2008/09 solo Vendée Globe - in fact, ever since he finished the last edition in 2005 - and after months of team preparation the moment is nearly upon him. Seb is the only sailor in the world so far to have completed the big three laps of the planet - solo, non-stop (Vendée Globe 2004/05), crewed, non-stop (Jules Verne 2002) and crewed with stops (Volvo Ocean Race 2006). About the Vendée Globe, Seb has no reservations: 'There is no greater adventure. This race is worth all the sacrifices and risks it holds in store.'

This Friday night Seb and the crew will sail BT from the team base in Lorient to the Vendée Globe start port of Les Sables d'Olonne. 'I am feeling relaxed like usual!' said Seb. 'It's the next step of the preparation. We can feel the changes today in Lorient, the container has left, there's no more computer in the office, everything is clean and packed. It's time to go! I know that the pressure will slowly build up and I will be fully focussed on the day of the start but for now, I really feel good!'

The entire 30-strong fleet must arrive by 10.00am on Saturday (18th October) a full three weeks ahead of the actual start day on Sunday, 9th November. Over that period thousands of public will come to see the boats and hopefully catch a glimpse of the skippers. But what will Seb be doing in these final days before the start: 'We still have a lot of things to do in terms of security checks with the race organisation, administrative protocal, skipper briefings and so on. And the race organisation and media are pretty demanding in terms of presentation, interviews, etc, but we know this and so are also prepared for it. And all my family will be there so I will try to spend a lot of time with them. It's really important for me to get their emotional support in the build up to the start.'

'I spend most of my time in the cockpit, which amounts to roughly 10 hours out of 24. While up on deck, I don't helm a lot, I mostly trim the sails, perform regular checks to spot weak points and gear fatigue. On a round-the-world journey, there are not a lot of tacks or gybes, maybe only 20 during the whole race!

'I roughly spend 4 hours out of 24 in the nav station, but of course that figure rises if the weather situation is not clear and I need to spend more time assessing various scenarios. I download 4 weather files per day, as there is a new one issued every 6 hours. I also send pictures and videos back to my shore base - editing a video takes about 1.5 hours.

Nav Station on BT Open 60 - Vendee Globe
'My navstation 'seat' doubles as a mattress. Onboard, sleep is broken down into sessions ranging from 20 to 45 minutes, for a total of about 4 to 5 hours per 24 hours. If the conditions are very bad or I'm in a close-combat situation with a rival, I sleep less than usual but then I compensate my lack of sleep afterwards.

Nav station 'bed' - Vendee Globe
To read the full article online, click here http://www.btsebjosse.com/theboat.asp?sid=17951