Please select your home edition
Edition
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px2 TOP

Vendée Globe: Never say never

by Vendée Globe 14 Mar 2021 08:13 PDT

He won the 1992-93 edition at the age of 31, he was the longtime safety consultant for the event and this time was the director of Isabelle Joschke's MACSF project, Alain Gautier has had many roles in his life with the Vendée Globe. He spoke to us just after the courageous return of Joschke, giving the expert's look back at this epic ninth edition.

Alain, what lessons do you draw from this edition as a whole?

Look back at 2012 and 2016 and we saw two fairly similar Vendée Globes, but that is rare to have two races like that one after the other. Remember 2008 and it was all about the incredible comeback of Michel Desjoyeaux and the rate of attrition and it was the battle at the front in 2004 Each Vendée Globe has its history. But 2012 and 2016 were really a bit similar with duels, Gabart and Le Cléac'h then Le Cléac'h and Thomson in 2016.

This year was very different, unique again. We had a completely new Vendée Globe, thanks to the fight at the front similar to what we had in 2008 during the first month. But this year, the fight lasted the entire race and it was not over until the finish line itself, indeed after the line!

We had never seen that, so many boats so close to each other, it was great to follow. There were opportunities for skippers that we had never tipped before the start. Of course, there were the four big favorites. Of the four, we said to ourselves that there would surely be one who would manage to stand out above the rest. Except that it did not go like that at all!

We had a Vendée Globe that really was historic. It is often said that it is always the ones in front who get the best conditions and race away but this year, that never was the case. It's rare for catch ups from dfom behind on the four different sections of the Vendée Globe. It was a memorable Vendée Globe. Pip Hare blew me away with her 2000 boat. But of course there are also sailors like Damien Seguin, Benjamin Dutreux, Louis Burton.

I am of the opinion that among the group of leaders there were only three or four boats sailing close to 100% of their polars (computer generated target speeds) they are Benjamin Dutreux, Damien Seguin, Yannick Bestaven and Louis Burton. Others sailed differently, either because they had problems or they did so by strategic choice. In fact Boris Herrmann could very well have won the Vendée Globe without ever having taken the lead. He executed his race in an amazing way. It might have been hard to accept him winning because panache is also one of the things we love about sport. But then you see Louis Burton, with all went through, maybe he could have been in two days earlier. It was an unforgettable Vendée Globe. There were few dropouts too, which is remarkable.

We saw Jean Le Cam up among the leaders at 61 years old, doesn't that give you an itch to be back out there?

That is not the first time I've been asked this question! Clearly, Jean did a very impressive thing, and I'm not talking about saving Kevin which is something special. But speaking in terms of the sports performance alone he is prepared for his Vendée Globe having sailed very little, having optimized his boat very carefully, in terms of the rule and in terms of a lot of the little things that are essential, especially in the South. He made a brilliant start to the race helped a bit by the weather, it's true.

And yes what he did does inspire people like me, or like Bilou (Roland Jourdain) although I think Bilou has said more often than I have that he would like to do it again. Right now it's not on my mind. You have to realize what a Vendée Globe is! Seen from the land as a spectator, it's great, we had a great time following the race. But we know all the sacrifices, the difficulties that come with being in the race and getting to the start line. Jean said it himself because his race was not easy, far from it. There is the preparation, these two three years of your life where you are focused on this one overriding goal. You see the amount of work, the hours, the days, the weeks Jean put in because he didn't have a lot of budget, Jean worked 12-hour days 7 days a week. It's a lot of commitment and for that, he you have to want to do it a lot. Jean was very clear in his head. In mine it is not there at all. I have already given a lot to ocean racing in terms of investment and my personal life. So for now it's not high on my agenda, but as I often say - and it makes my wife start - never say never!

For more information visit www.vendeeglobe.org.

Related Articles

Thousands honour Vendée Globe skippers
Emotions and celebrations suppressed by the pandemic for over a year came bursting to the fore Tens of thousands of partying, passionate Vendée Globe race fans and well-wishers lined Les Sables d'Olonne's Grand Plage, the main sea front promenade, last night (Friday) to honour the heroic 2020-2021 skippers. Posted on 5 Jun
Dalin: "The year couldn't have started better"
With victory in the IMOCA Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Charlie Dalin (Apivia) won the third edition of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race which in fact is his first solo victory in IMOCA and his fourth overall IMOCA race win since 2019 in all different formats combined. Posted on 22 May
25 skippers for Vendée Arctic-Les Sables d'Olonne
A race of discovery to the northern waters of the Arctic Circle Alain Leboeuf, President of SAEM Vendée and the Department of Vendée has just presented the skippers of the second edition of the Vendée Arctic - Les Sables d'Olonne, more than 2 years from the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe. Posted on 20 May
2020 Vendée Globe skippers grand parade
Taking place on the Remblai in Les Sables d'Olonne on Friday 3rd June To launch the summer season, the festivities will begin on Friday 3rd June 2022 with the Grand Parade of the 2020 Vendée Globe Skippers, to celebrate these men and women of the sea. Posted on 14 May
The dream makers - Episode 4
Marrying up skippers and sponsors It is a long and mostly difficult path to the start line of the Vendée Globe and not everyone makes it. Here is number four in our series of those team members who work behind the curtain in a while variety of different roles Posted on 21 Apr
Vendée Arctique: Two months to go
Skippers will leave Les Sables d'Olonne and head north towards icy waters of the Arctic Circle At 5:00 pm on Sunday 12th June 2022 will be given the start of the Vendée Arctique, the first chapter of the Vendée Globe 2024 adventure. Posted on 13 Apr
The vanguard of a new generation
Harayda sets his course for the 2024 Vendée Globe In a few days time young British skipper James Harayda will take over his new IMOCA 60, Stéphane Le Diraison's 2007Groupe Finot designed and built A Time For Oceans, and his ambition of taking on the 2024 Vendée Globe takes one enormous step forward. Posted on 3 Apr
Twice as many cellulose fibres as microplastics
Fabrice Amedeo collected 53 samples using the microplastics sensor fitted aboard his sailboat A study by three French institutes: Ifremer, the University of Bordeaux and the IRD (a public research institution), reveals that the surface water of the Atlantic Ocean is twice as polluted by cellulose fibres as it is by microplastics. Posted on 2 Apr
Éric Bellion creating thefirst Vendée Globe “team”
One of the best rookies of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe returns Now, just these past days having turned 46, Eric Bellion - who was one of the best rookies of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe - is is off and running again. Posted on 21 Mar
NOR for Vendée Arctique 2022 is published
IMOCA skippers will leave from Port Olona on June 12th The President of SAEM Vendée, the organisers of the Vendée Arctique and the Vendée Globe, publish the Notice of Race detailing the rules for participation in the Vendée Arctique - the first qualifying race for the Vendée Globe 2024 Posted on 18 Mar
Sea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTERJ Composites 2022 - J45 FOOTERHyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTER