Published on 28/01/2021

Giancarlo Pedote: “The Vendée Globe is a very complex adventure”

Since crossing the Vendée Globe finish line this Thursday 28 January at 12:02 UTC, Giancarlo Pedote now forms part of just a handful of skippers to have completed a singlehanded, non-stop, unassisted round the world; a group that is far smaller than those who have conquered Everest or been into space! As a result, the skipper of Prysmian Group has fulfilled his remit, overcoming the numerous pitfalls dotted along the 24,365-mile course, surmounting the elements, sorting out all his technical woes, pushing back his limits as far as possible, preserving his steed as best he could and racing in the leading group from beginning to end. Ultimately, he was the 7th boat across the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, though the final ranking will likely show him to be in 8th place after the arrival of Jean Le Cam, who has been credited with a time bonus of 16hrs15 after his involvement in the rescue of Kévin Escoffier offshore of South Africa back in November.

With this spot in the Top 10 on his first participation in the event, the Florentine has certainly posted a very fine performance – the finest ever achieved by a transalpine competitor in the race – a feat reinforced by the success of the inclusive ‘1 click – 1 metre’ operation, which will enable the realisation of the three Electriciens sans frontières projects supported by his partner, the global leader in electric power transmission, telecommunications cables and energy systems. As such, the adventure rounds off in the most wonderful of manners for the Italian sailor, who has unquestionably passed a very important personal milestone, whilst affirming that he is an extremely determined, committed and robust sailor.

Giancarlo Pedote, skipper of the 60-footer Prysmian Group: This return to land after a circumnavigation of the globe and 80 days at sea is obviously something very special. My greatest joy is naturally to join back up with my wife, Stefania, and my children, Aurelio and Isabella. They are what I missed most during this Vendée Globe. When I crossed the line, I saw these boats around me, but I didn’t recognise my family straightaway because of the masks. The first of them I really saw was my son, who waved hello to me and that was a particularly emotional moment. In the end, I’ve finished the race with a strange sentiment: that of having competed in a local race. I don’t know why. It’s as if my mind has suddenly gone blank, perhaps to forget all the hard things about these past two and a half months. This Vendée Globe really is a crazy thing. It’s an extraordinary adventure. To my mind, it’s also the realisation of something huge after years of sacrifice, hardship, scrimping and saving… I’m really very happy to have come full circle because it’s not a trivial affair. A solo round the world is a very complex adventure where you also need a bit of luck on your side. I tried to always strike the right balance in the right place. I realise that I could have attacked harder when I look at how Louis (Burton) or Yannick sailed, but they already had experience of the Vendée Globe. For my part, I picked up my 60-footer a year and a half ago. I set sail on the race without expecting anything. I set off with a blank page in a way and my conclusion, on the spot, is that during such an exercise you experience everything very intensely. The cold, the heat, the humidity, joy and sadness: you feel everything in its rawest form. With regards my result, I’d hoped to be able to finish ahead of Damien (Seguin) and there was very little in it at the finish. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but I haven’t forgotten the fact that if I’d been told that I’d finish in the Top 10 within 24 hours of the winner prior to the start, I’d have signed up immediately because it was reasonable for me to target the Top 15 at the start. I’ve managed to come full circle in my circumnavigation of the globe and to race throughout with a fairly reduced budget and a small team who hadn’t experienced a Vendée Globe before. That’s a source of satisfaction for me.”