Please select your home edition
WASZP 2020 - Win the 1000th boat - LEADERBOARD

Meet the Vendée Globe skippers: Charlie Dalin

by Vendee Globe 30 Oct 01:52 PDT
Charlie Dalin on Apivia finishes second in the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race © Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / IMOCA

With his Verdier designed new generation Apivia Charlie Dalin was second in the Vendee Arctic Les Sables d'Olonne and won the Transat Jacques Vabre with Yann Elies. His programme is managed by Vendee Globe winner Francois Gabart's Mer Concept.

By all accounts he is one of the favourites, looking to follow in Gabart's wake and win the solo round the world race at the first time of asking.

So finally Charlie here we are you are about to start the Vendée Globe for the first time, how are you feeling?

"Good! It's going to be the longest race I've ever done. It's a race that we've been preparing for a long time with the team. What's also a bit special is the time to prepare and build up is so much longer. On a Transat the start would be tomorrow usually after some 10 days in the start port. That said even if there is lots of time it all goes in quickly. I still have time to read and study the weather charts, my routing suggestions, my sail selection charts are all good, everything I take in terms of my weather roadbook. Everything is on board and super tidy, everything in its place. That leaves time to prepare everything well.

Do you actually run the course in your head, mentally rehearse?

I am sure I know the descent of the Atlantic now. But I don't know the depressions in the southern oceans. Just last night I was making routings in the southern oceans to familiarize myself with the weather patterns.

Did you take advice from experienced skippers about these areas?

Yes, I talked a lot with Pascal Bidégorry. Even though he hasn't done the Vendée Globe, he has been round the world several times, in the Volvo Ocean Race and on maxi trimarans. I also spoke a lot with François Gabart, with Michel Desjoyeaux and Yann Eliès too, all good sailors who know the southern oceans.

What advice did they give you?

Lots of things... Especially about the pace to set, on how to manage your race in the South, sleep... I'm really happy to have been able to talk with them, it helps me feel ready and confident.

Did that help you come to terms with things a bit?

Yes it demystify things a little, to be able to mentally prepare yourself better too. And it allowed for a bit of a vicarious enjoyment in their company while waiting for me to create my own.

Your project is well sorted, you are a talented successful skipper. Which label do you prefer, favourite or outsider?

The Apivia project is an ambitious project. The boat was designed and built specifically for the Vendée Globe, with a four-year program. My team is carefully selected and very experienced they were extremely involved in the development of the boat. The objective of the project was to position itself as a potential winner of this Vendée Globe. Beyond that, what will happen in the race will happen. But I'm going with that as the sporting objective anyway.

Do you have any last technical choices to make before you go?

No, everything is set. All lights are green. We were able to do a check of all the onboard systems, everything works. It was good to get out to sea the other day to unroll a few sails, to remember how it all feels before the confinement period which will soon begin.

How will you deal with this the compulsory confinement? Do you think it will disturb you?

Yes, of course it's a bit special, but once the start gun goes it is a yacht race, it will not change anything compared to the other races. The period before the start is affected, there are fewer transactions with sponsors, less interaction with the public. I also had to say 'goodbyes' to my family last weekend because I won't be able to see them the week I leave. I will not be able to dine with them as I usually do 24 or 48 hours before the start. Obviously, things are a little different.

Regarding clothing can you tell us what you put in your bag?

It was a big question because once again I have never done such a long race. I have never spent so much time in such cold climates racing. So I did some research. I'm taking several pairs of foul weather gear, a few fleeces, quite a few base layers, hats, a balaclava. I also bring a little lighter clothes for the descent and the ascent of the Atlantic. In the end there is a lot there even if I'm careful with the weight. Afterwards, I'm lucky to have a very protected boat, I don't need to put on my foulies to go to trim a sail. Even for some maneuvers like a tack or a jibe, I don't need to get out of the cockpit. It allows me to be more reactive and get wet less often.

Do you have personal body protection?

In the Vendée-Arctic I took only one helmet, a rugby helmet that I put on to do the stacking when I move my bags of sails to one side or the other or from front to back. I also have a hard helmet, I will try to wear it as much as possible when the boat starts to go fast.

Does loneliness concern you?

To be honest I'm more of a loner, I like to do solo physical activities like cycling, running, swimming in the sea... At sea, I don't think I worry about loneliness. I'm not going to bring podcasts for example just to have a background presence. I don't feel like I lack social interaction. I think that's one of my strengths on this Vendée Globe.

Do you bring books, music?

Books no, music yes always, I am a big consumer of music. In the end, it's quite rare the times when I can listen to it but I always have it with me.

Related Articles

Vendée Globe Day 25: The Indian Strikes
Nine IMOCAs pass Cape of Good Hope in same day Given that the fleet started with a record sized fleet of 33 IMOCAs and there are still, technically, 31 tracked on the race course, it is not entirely unexpected to have no fewer than 9 boats cross the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope today. Posted today at 6:59 pm
Starboard foil and casing damage for ARKEA PAPREC
Vendée Globe fourth placed skipper Sébastien Simon was not injured At 0820hrs UTC this morning, ARKEA PAPREC hit an unidentified floating object. The collision caused serious damage to the starboard foil. The skipper is coping with the situation with his shore team. Skipper Sébastien Simon was not injured. Posted today at 10:41 am
Vendée Globe Day 24: Relieved Escoffier speaks
The 40 year old solo sailor had to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB After being rescued from his liferaft by Jean Le Cam in big seas and strong winds the early hours of this morning some 840nm South West of Cape Town, Kevin Escoffier has been recovering on board Le Cam's appropriately named IMOCA 60 Yes We Cam! Posted on 1 Dec
Kevin Escoffier: "The boat folded at 90 degrees"
Skipper describes the moment he had to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB in the Vendée Globe After eleven and a half hours in his liferaft since being forced to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB in strong winds and big seas 840 nautical miles SW of Cape Town, Vendée Globe skipper Kevin Escoffier was dramatically rescued by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam. Posted on 1 Dec
Vendée Globe: Escoffier rescued from liferaft
Kevin Escoffier (PRB) has been rescued by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) At 0118hrs UTC the PRB Team was informed that their Vendée Globe race skipper Kevin Escoffier (PRB) has been rescued by fellow Vendée Globe competitor Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!). Posted on 1 Dec
Kevin Escoffier (PRB) activates Distress Beacon
Jean Le Cam alters course to assist Kevin Escoffier, 40, who is racing in third place in the Vendée Globe solo non-stop around the world race, positioned some 550 nautical miles SW of Cape Town, has triggered his distress beacon. Posted on 30 Nov
Vendée Globe Day 23 morning update
The big chill: The sailors are now in a strong south-westerly flow The leaders of the Vendée Globe fleet are now in a strong south-westerly flow approaching the Cape of Good Hope. Leader Charlie Dalin, is expected to cross the first great Cape this afternoon. Posted on 30 Nov
Vendée Globe Day 22: Be thankful for small merci's
Huge support for Alex Thomson as he heads for Cape Town Charlie Dalin, the Vendée Globe race leader, should pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope on Monday, the first of the mythical 24,296 nautical miles solo round the world's three Great Capes. Posted on 29 Nov
Vendée Globe Day 22 morning update
Fast first time out solo in the South - Escoffier, Simon set mean pace At some 520 nautical miles west of the longitude of Cape of Good Hope Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is largely matching the pace of the hard pressing group that is chasing him led by Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut). Posted on 29 Nov
Vendée Globe Day 21: Dalin leads by 370 miles
As a dejected Alex Thomson heads for Cape Town The hopes of British skipper Alex Thomson of winning the Vendée Globe were dashed by damage to the starboard rudder of his IMOCA HUGO BOSS on Friday evening. Posted on 28 Nov
Gul 2020 FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTEROfficial-Collection-Red 728x90 BOTTOM