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Nicolas Lunven prepares in New York - Covering miles is the best way to prepare for the Vendée Globe

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 28 May 12:29 PDT 28 May 2024
Team HOLCIM - PRB - The New York – Vendée © Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / Holcim-PRB

Three weeks after the arrival of The Transat CIC, Nicolas Lunven is getting ready to race again. And this race back to Les Sables d'Olonne is not looking like a walk in the park for the 28 IMOCA registered for this 2nd edition of New York - Vendée.

The weather on the North Atlantic did not spare the skippers on their way to New York, and apparently, the conditions will not be easy on the way back either.

Lights winds... Too light?

"We're doing everything backwards! The Transat CIC is supposed to be an upwind race and we sailed mostly reaching and downwind... The New York - Vendée, which is supposed to be downwind, will likely be upwind for the most part. There are no seasons any more!" jokes Nicolas Lunven less than 24 hours before leaving New York. The solo sailor spent the day with his eyes glued to the weather files and in meetings with Dutch meteorologist Marcel Van Triest, who is assisting him before the start.

At the moment, the weather is not very aligned with the usual patterns in the North Atlantic at this time of year and the start is expected to happen in light or very light wind conditions.

"The beginning of the race looks complicated because there is light wind forecasted for the first two days of the race. Will it be light or too light... That's the question. If we manage to make sufficient progress, we can catch a southwesterly flow that will take us almost to the Azores in great sailing conditions. If unfortunately we don't, we will stay stuck in front of New York waiting for a depression to form.

"But when it forms, it happens very quickly and then we can find ourselves in complicated weather conditions with very rough seas, very strong winds. It's a bit all or nothing. And anything can happen... Everyone can manage to catch with this southwesterly flow, or no one... Some can catch it, others not. This would mean a big separation in the fleet," explains the skipper of Holcim-PRB.

Giving it all for a great arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne

But there are still a few hours before the start and the weather can still change. Nicolas will leave the docks today at 7 p.m. (CET) but the start, which will take place far offshore from New York, about 100 miles from the Big Apple, will not be until tomorrow at 8 p.m. (CET). Until then, he will still be able to refine the weather data from aboard as he heads towards the starting area.

Eager to get back into competition, Nicolas shows few signs of tiredness linked to the rather exceptional sequence of these two solo transats. He is thinking about the approaching Vendée Globe and knows that every mile covered on his boat is a valuable learning experience.

"To prepare for the Vendée Globe, it's important to train. I need that to feel ready. Covering miles is the best way to prepare for the Vendée Globe. It was very important for me to take part in these two transats. In this New York - Vendée, the competition will again be tough. The fleet is impressive in both quantity and quality. It's going to be interesting. I hope to compete with the best and be able to draw conclusions about performance and technical aspects of the boat," continues Nicolas, who will be setting off on a perfectly prepared boat.

The entire technical team and Rosalin Kuiper have been fully committed during this American stopover to ensure his machine is at 100% of its potential for this New York - Vendée. And of course, everyone wants to make a big impression in the city of departure and arrival of the solo, non-stop, unassisted around-the-world race. With five months to go before this major event for the Holcim-PRB project, Nicolas is truly determined to do well.

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