Giancarlo Pedote: “The Défi Azimut, the perfect race to rediscover the sensations of racing”
After a short summer break, Giancarlo Pedote and 26 other competitors in the Class IMOCA set a date for the 12th edition of the Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération. As such, at 14:30 hours local time this Thursday 15 September, the skipper of Prysmian Group and his rivals will get down to action with a singlehanded 500-mile offshore race, followed by a sprint around Groix Island on Sunday. Though it’s a relatively busy schedule, it’s the ideal way to get in a final practice session in race mode before the legendary Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, which is due to set sail in less than two months.
“I’m very happy and really looking forward to returning to the water and getting back down to action!” assures Giancarlo Pedote, whose last confrontation dates back to June and the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne. “Following on from that race, we gave the boat a thorough overhaul and then took a short break before powering up the machine again in mid-August with the whole team,” explains the Italian sailor, who has got back down to training over recent weeks and had a great sail in bracing conditions, which enabled him to validate certain technical details on the boat, as well as create a very good image library. “Right now, I’m eager to size up the competition and gauge everyone’s level of preparation. With that in mind, the long 48-hour race particularly appeals to me, as it will be the perfect way to rediscover the sensations of racing, even though it’ll be contested in false-solo mode with the presence of an on-board reporter. It’s always very different to true solo racing, but it’s important to be able to produce images so the widest possible audience can follow our adventures,” notes the skipper of Prysmian Group, who’s especially thrilled by the 500-mile triangular course in the Bay of Biscay proposed by Race Management in this 12th edition.
“Do the best I can”
“We’ll kick off play with the focus on VMG, link onto a reach and then finish with a beat. As a result, the course is likely to be very comprehensive, but also very nice, with between 15 and 20 knots of wind. It won’t be a struggle and we’ll make fast headway. It’ll be a great way to get us all back into the swing of things. It’ll doubtless be one of the Atlantic Ocean’s last gifts this season too, before the start of the succession of autumn and winter depressions,” says Giancarlo, who intends to make the most of the fine conditions predicted and this final clash prior to the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe to continue to raise his level of preparation. “The plan will naturally be to succeed in getting the boat making fast headway on every point of sail and try to sail as good a race as possible. The Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race in May, then the VALS in June weren’t entirely satisfactory for me at this level, even though I can’t blame myself in the latter race for not hunting down the window to the east,” explains the skipper of Prysmian Group, who is constantly calling himself into question and refuses to rest on his laurels. “It’s always good to question yourself if you’re to forge ahead,” notes the sailor. Is he keen for revenge then? “No, that’s not in my mindset. As is always the case when I take the start of a race, I always want to do the best I can.” That’s settled. The verdict in this long race will be revealed on Saturday morning so watch this space!