Vendée Globe - Interview with Marc Guillemot

Safran - Skipper Marc Guillemot (FRA) - Co-skipper Yann Elies (FRA) - Vendée Globe 2012
© Christophe Launay
Vendée Globe 2012-2013, organised by SAEM Vendee, will start from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 11th November 2012. The clock is ticking faster and faster, as we move towards the start of the Vendée Globe: the starting gun will be fired in ten months from now marking the start of three months of being alone.

Marc Guillemot interview:

Marc, you have just spent the festive season ashore. Next year, you’ll be at sea competing in the Vendée Globe. Did you look at this special time spent ashore differently?
No, I’m not someone, who looks ahead from one Christmas to another. I didn’t do anything special. In fact, it was a bit unusual, as we did some work on the boat. Between Christmas and the New Year, we stripped Safran down, and tested mast number three, the one which we’ll be using for the Vendée Globe. So let’s say that the quiet period at the end of the year was more work than rest, but I’m not complaining: the tests went well and the boat has gone in for her refit. Everything is going smoothly.

Is it tough sometimes having to spend three months alone? You’re bound to have some tricky moments when you’re sailing around the world alone, aren’t you?
Yes, of course, there are highs and lows. We spend so much time in the Southern Ocean in a hostile environment, that there are bound to be times, when we find ourselves alone and cut off from the world. That is particularly true when we spend a month sailing in the Indian and Pacific Oceans covering the south. Down there, apart from the albatrosses and sea mammals, there really is no one. When we round the Horn and start to head back up north, we start to see cargo ships and then a few fishing boats. That’s why that rounding is so symbolic, as it marks a return to civilisation in many ways…

What do you wish for in 2012, for yourself, but also for the planet that you’ll be circling next winter?
It’s never easy sorting out your wishes… For me, and this won’t be a surprise to anyone, in 2012 I’d like an ideal preparation for the boat… and then by next December to be up there in the top three in the Vendée Globe. As for the planet, it may be a wish in vain, but I would like to see people show more respect for it and for some of the big ideas to become reality. Because, when you sail around the world, unfortunately we come across signs of pollution, which are even more difficult to stand when you are out on the open seas.

Safran Sailing Team website