Published on 07/01/2021

Giancarlo Pedote: “I’m tackling each day as if it were the first”

Having rounded the legendary Cape Horn on Tuesday at 01:12 UTC after a little over 57 days of racing, Giancarlo Pedote is back in the Atlantic. However, he still has over 6,000 miles to sail till he reaches Les Sables d’Olonne. As such, there’s still a long way to go and the skipper of Prysmian Group is well aware that concentration remains a prerequisite, especially given the fact that the trade wind has yet to properly establish itself in the South Atlantic and the weather sequences are proving to be particularly complicated to follow. Within this context, as the skipper often reminds us, there’s still all to play for and anything can happen. Be that as it may, he already has a massive chunk of his round the world in his wake since, not without emotion, he has now rounded the three major capes that make up the course.

So here we have a Cape Horner! Indeed, on Tuesday of this week, Giancarlo Pedote rounded the legendary rock in 9th position in the Vendée Globe. With the switch from the Pacific to the Atlantic always a difficult transition offshore of Tierra del Fuego, it will most certainly remain a key marker in the sailor’s career. “Rounding the Horn is synonymous with a great deal of work and sacrifice. It’s not the rounding itself that is so symbolic, rather it’s the realisation of all that has been achieved to get to that point, which is something that people don’t always fully grasp. The hours spent on land pouring over every minute detail, setting up a team, forging a special bond with a partner, choosing a boat and the time needed to get a feel for it… Ultimately, there are various stages which lead us to Cape Horn and inevitably, the moment you get beyond that point, you feel yourself tearing up just thinking about it”, explained the Italian skipper, who has had to deal with a veritable flood of emotions offshore of the Argentinean promontory. “That’s why I’ve been focusing so hard on what I was doing and avoiding getting philosophical”, underlined the Florentine, for whom the Horn very much lived up to its reputation, with gusts of nearly 50 knots on heavy, messy seas.

A “work in progress”

“Obviously rounding the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, editor’s note) is quite something, but the most important thing remains to finish this Vendée Globe. Crossing the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne is what will give the project its true meaning and when you’re racing, you never know how things are going to play out”, said the skipper of Prysmian Group who typically likes to keep a cool head. “I must keep calm and focused and not let up one iota in terms of managing the boat”, added Giancarlo, not dissatisfied to have hooked back up with some much more manageable sea conditions since his return to the Atlantic. “It’s a kind of relief to me. The last few days in the Pacific had become exhausting due to the icy temperatures, the pervasive humidity, the strong wind, the swell and the cross sea… To sum it up, we had a massive dose of all the things you don’t always want!” quipped the sailor, who is currently making headway in around fifteen knots of NNW’ly wind on relatively calm and well-ordered seas. “It’s fantastic to rediscover quieter conditions, to be able to eat calmly and, when you’re at the chart table, to be able to press down on the mouse at the right time and not when a wave dictates”, commented Giancarlo with his familiar humour, clearly relishing the fact that he can once again enjoy a little bit of comfort aboard his 60-footer, though he is in no way playing down what’s still to come on his journey around the world. “There is still a massive chunk of the racetrack left to devour. It’s all to play for. I’m tackling each day as if it were the first of my round the world. To my mind, it’ll only be a done deal once I’ve crossed the finish line and not a moment before. At that point, I’ll be able to say, ‘job done’, but until that time it remains a ‘work in progress’”.