All set for an extraordinary human adventure!
The kick-off for this Vendée Globe 2020 – 2021 will be quite unlike any other within the context of the exceptional scale of the health crisis and yet, the exit from the canal out of Les Sables d’Olonne, even without the crowds, is sure to be a highly emotional moment, as will the point at which the starting gun fires. Scheduled to take place this Sunday at 13:02 hours offshore of the Lumiere Coast, the latter will herald the start of an adventure that will likely be as crazy as it is intense for Giancarlo Pedote and his 32 fellow competitors in the longest and toughest yacht race: the non-stop, unassisted, solo round the world.
The Vendée Globe is an adventure with a capital A, a massive amount of which is a giant leap into the unknown with numerous challenges scattered along the way. As demanding as it is thrilling, Giancarlo Pedote has been preparing for this odyssey for months if not years. Today is crunch time. At 13:02 hours local time, the skipper of the 60-foot IMOCA in the colours of Prysmian Group will set off on a 21,638-mile (or 40,075 kilometres) lap of the globe, via the legendary capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. It’s a gargantuan challenge and an extraordinary voyage. “To my mind, this circumnavigation of the globe is a unique and exceptional opportunity for introspection and greater self-awareness”, explains the Italian sailor, who is already very much in tune with his values, his motivations, his goals and his beliefs. “I know that I’m setting sail on something unique and I must admit that I’m intentionally seeking out convention so as not to ask myself too many questions and to avoid becoming overwhelmed by emotion. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to open up to some, especially at the moment of the start. I’m well aware that I’m preparing to take on something crazy. It’s an extraordinary thing, which I’ve had on my mind for a long time. However, my goal is to go all the way and until I cross the finish line of this Vendée Globe, I won’t believe it. That’s how I operate: when I dream intensely about something, until it’s happened or it’s finished, I live in fear of it being taken away from me or that something prevents me from achieving it”, continues Giancarlo, who is always highly pragmatic.
Rejoicing in one’s very existence
The start remains a very special phase. The first mark to pass. “You have to limit the risk as much as possible, avoiding collisions, but also getting off to a good start. Overshooting the start would incur a five-hour penalty, so there’s no point getting agitated. That’s not where the race will be decided”, explains the skipper of Prysmian Group, who’s rather pleased about the weather forecast for this big day, even if the skippers will very soon have two fronts to negotiate in the Bay of Biscay, followed by a roller coaster ride for nearly three months. “I’m ready to go. I know that on a human level, this round the world is likely to transform me. I know that this experience will help me understand how lucky I am to have such wonderful things on land”, notes the skipper, who knows full well that the capacity for savouring life is in every one of us, even though it may be hard at times to feel it and maintain it. “In this regard, there is certainly nothing more powerful than adversity for reminding us all about the little pleasures of daily life. I keep in mind the fact that a lust for life is neither an obsessive quest for perfect happiness, nor, conversely, is it a charm that randomly befalls humans”, concludes Giancarlo Pedote, who loves to set himself existential goals in a bid to savour them. That’s all that we wish for him in this Vendée Globe.