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Summer, little time to pause for IMOCA skippers

by Antoine Grenapin / VG Redaction 11 Jul 01:55 PDT
Summer time for skippers © Antoine Grenapin/ VG Redaction

Don't think for one minute you'll find them lazing around on a beach. Almost six months after they reached dry land, those who took part in the Vendée Globe are planning a hard summer of studying and won't have much time to enjoy themselves. In this our first of two articles about the summer holidays, we can see that they will never be far from the sea.

Smile please! It's summer! Time to enjoy the fine weather and get away from it all and make the most of these days when you can relax a little... If the Vendée Globe sailors have shown how they have that special ability to face the difficulties of the Southern Ocean, they are nevertheless also able to deal with everything thrown at them ashore, as we can clearly see this summer. When we questioned them, they were all ready to talk about their programme over the coming two months this summer. The first thing we could see was that they are not goung to take it easy over the next couple of months and forget everything. It's going to be a busy summer according to Manuel Cousin echoing the comments of the other skippers.

Looking at the Tour de France

Having said that, some of them are taking some time out to look at other things, such as the Tour de France cycle event. Clarisse Crémer and her husband, Tanguy Le Turquais, were among the first to follow the cyclists for a day, when the race started in Brest. They were followed by Sam Davies and then by Charlie Dalin (seen in our pic) on Wednesday as the race took them up the Mont-Ventoux. "There are more people here than at the finish of the Vendée," joked the skipper of Apivia who was in the crowd. On 14th-15th July, it will be Yannick Bestaven's turn to follow the racers. The winner of the Vendée Globe has a lot on his plate. Over the next couple of days, he will be at the Francofolies music festival in La Rochelle to talk with the French actor, Daniel Auteuil about the topic of getting away from it all, something that the sailors obviously know all about.

Sailing with partners, training - all out on the water

In spite of all these commitments, the title-holder will soon be back out on the water: in the second half of July, he will be doing a lot of sailing with his co-skipper, Roland Jourdain, while talking to his team about his new boat. Most of the Vendée Globe sailors will be looking forward to a few major events this season. There is the Rolex Fastnet Race in August, the Azimut Challenge (Le Défi Azimuth) in September and the Transat Jacques Vabre in the autumn. So also this is on the cards for Manuel Cousin, who will sail with Alexia Barrier. The adopted Vendée region's skipper is waiting for Groupe Setin to leave the yard on July 20 to set his boat back up before starting training. Benjamin Dutreux and Sébastien Simon will also increase their training outings with Damien Seguin and Yann Eliès respectively. Dutreux and Simon have already done some training sorties with their co-skippers.

Kojiro Shiraishi, the first Japanese skipper to complete the Vendée Globe has returned home and is awaiting the arrival of his boat before he starts a PR and partners' tour of the country which will take up most of the. Shiraishi's boat is only the second IMOCA and actually the first foiler in history to be seen in Japan, which is already arousing growing enthusiasm in the land of the Rising Sun. Meantime Maxime Sorel will continue to monitor the construction site of his boat, while carrying out training missions also aboard the Ultim Actual.

The German skipper Boris Herrmann is also totally engaged with the design and build of his new boat bit he did manage to squeeze in a few days of holidays. What did he do? He went sailing of course! He went sailing on a small cruiser-racer with his wife and 12 month old baby daughter and his little dog Lilli. So Damien Seguin is cruising all of July with his family before returning to business to prep for the Fastnet. His actual the destination is not yet set.

For Benjamin Dutreux, it will be a fortnight's vacation with a cruise from Les Sables-d'Olonne to Lisbon "with friends". Cruising is also on the itinerary for the clan of Thomas Ruyant who should set sail in August, normally towards the South-West and Spain. Manuel Cousin also hopes to find a few days of 'break' "in Spain, with friends, with sea and sun" while Maxime Sorel will go to the South-West to go surfing.

For Yannick Bestaven holidays are scheduled for the second half of August. And the defending champion still has to make his final choice, a difficult one, between the sea - on a catamaran in Corsica - or in the mountains in La Clusaz. The mountains will also be Sébastien Simon's destination. Ambassador of the Protect Our Winters Association, which helps outdoor enthusiasts promote the actions against climate change and he will travel to the Pyrenees to complete a cycling challenge.

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