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Giancarlo Pedote crosses the finish line of the Transat CIC 2024: An epic crossing to New York

by Giancarlo Pedote 10 May 12:17 PDT 9 May 2024
Giancarlo Pedote crosses the finish line of the Transat CIC 2024 © Vincent Olivaud

Giancarlo Pedote crossed the finish line of the Transat CIC 2024 at 22:07 hours (UTC) on Thursday 9 May after an epic crossing, which took him from Lorient to New York, putting both his skills as a sailor and his boat Prysmian to the test.

After setting sail from Lorient on 28 April 2024, The Transat CIC certainly lived up to its reputation as a particularly tough and full-on sea passage, the disturbed weather systems giving all the thirty-three skippers competing in the IMOCA class a rough ride.

As for the Italian skipper, Giancarlo Pedote had to confront a series of technical issues due to some particularly extreme sailing conditions. Those which had the greatest influence on his performance were the failure of the main automatic pilot (which resulted in him having to use his secondary pilot that only worked in compass mode) and then his steering system.

On Saturday 4 May, at around 11:00 hours UTC, the Italian was sailing downwind in 30-35 knots of breeze with two reefs in the mainsail and J2 making around 18 knots of boat speed. "All of a sudden, the boat bore away and then gybed," explains Giancarlo. "I was down below and ended up being thrown against the side. I then hurried out to the cockpit to ease the sheets and douse the headsail. When I took the helm again, I realised that it was no longer attached to the rudders.

The sudden yawing motion had caused the link bar between the helm and the rudders themselves to disconnect after the carbon joint failed. This issue made the boat impossible to control, whether sailing under automatic pilot or steering her manually.

"I was drifting," continues the skipper born in Florence, "so after making the boat safe, I immediately went to inspect what was going on inside so I could get my head around the problem. I must admit that during the inspection, my most pressing thought was trying to work out which rescue technique would be used: by air or sea. I immediately got in touch with my boat captain, Gaby Bucau, and together we managed to come up with a solution to reassemble the link bar using the material I had on board to regain steerage."

To ensure the boat was safe, this temporary fix was monitored constantly, especially with a set of low-pressure systems rolling through. A less demanding trajectory was selected with alternative plans being set out in case the situation deteriorated. "I gave it everything I had to deal with the unexpected situation and reach the goal, but I wasn't able to accelerate as another failure of the steerage system would have led to me having to retire from the race."

For Giancarlo Pedote, The Transat CIC was the opportunity to size up the competition and test his boat in some extreme conditions with a view to the Vendée Globe 2024-2025, the solo non-stop race around the world, which is due to set sail this November.

"The Transat CIC was a real test of stamina and determination for both me and my team," stated Giancarlo Pedote on his arrival in New York. "The weather conditions and the difficulties encountered throughout the course really gave us a rough ride, but we're extremely pleased to have managed to pull off this challenge. It was excellent training for the Vendée Globe, which we'll now be able to tackle with even greater determination and awareness. I'd like to thank all my team and my sponsors for their invaluable support throughout this race," concludes Giancarlo Pedote. "Without them, we would not have been able to achieve this result. I'd also like to congratulate all the skippers who have made it to New York, demonstrating great talent and determination along the way."

Giancarlo Pedote and his team are now ready to take on the challenges which await them within the context of the Vendée Globe 2024-2025. Their epic crossing to New York is just the beginning of an even greater and more ambitious adventure.

The support of sponsors

"We are thrilled to have started this 2024 season with The Transat CIC and we are very proud at the way Giancarlo managed his race. Giancarlo once again proved that he performs very well, demonstrating the utmost concentration and a real talent for resolving issues. As such, we are approaching the coming year with real positivity and determination as we prepare to take on our second journey around the world." - Francesco Zecchi, President of POR - Prysmian Ocean Racing

"Offshore racing is a technical sport, but it requires a great deal of creativity, tenacity and resilience to deal with the minor and major battles and finish The Transat CIC, one of the toughest yacht races. Thank you to Giancarlo for leading the way and for sharing these incredibly strong values with us. I'm delighted to see you learning from these challenges and coming back even stronger aboard Prysmian." - Timothée Wetzel, Marketing Manager Helly Hansen and all the Helly Hansen team

"Giancarlo's courage, determination and extraordinary ability to overcome all the obstacles encountered at sea are a source of inspiration for us all. Gottifredi Maffioli is proud to be on board the IMOCA Prysmian!" - Rossella Maffioli, Commercial Director Gottifredi Maffioli

"In this complicated The Transat CIC, Giancarlo showed great technique and resilience, even in the toughest of times. Going above and beyond the short-term objectives, he is a prime example of what it means to be a great sailor." - Team Raymarine Italy

"Kohler Engines/Lombardini Marine congratulates Giancarlo for making it to the end of this edition of The Transat CIC, whilst acknowledging the difficulties encountered during the competition. We are proud to have witnessed the courage and determination, which guided him to the end of the race." - The Kohler team.

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