Race finish decided at the Icelandic gate: Giancarlo Pedote, secures 12th place
After removing the circumnavigation of Iceland from the racecourse and then deciding to neutralise the race at the virtual mark to the east of the country, Race Management for the 2nd edition of the Vendée Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne was forced to make an even more radical decision in the middle of last night. Indeed, the weather systems set to successively sweep the south of the island are more violent than forecast, hampering progress towards the waypoint and making it hard to protect the boats in the fjords. For safety reasons, Francis Le Goff and his team have therefore announced that they’re closing the gate to leave the sailors free to choose the best individual solution for hunkering down. Within this context, Giancarlo Pedote, who passed the famous gate at the small island of Hvalbakur at 05:17 hrs this Saturday 18 June, has been awarded 12th place in the event after covering 1,500 miles with a little over five days at sea. “It’s a strange end to the race. It’s hard to get my head around it. It really is quite a special situation and doubtless I’ll be able to understand it better in a few days’ time”, stated the skipper of Prysmian Group, shortly after crossing the line. “The last few miles before the virtual mark were a little complicated as we ended up in a very sizeable low-pressure system. You wouldn’t think it, but for my part, I’ve been quite fortunate, because the sailors behind me will have a bit of a hard time of it I think”, added the Florentine, who will have to shelter as best he can over the coming hours, before making for Les Sables d’Olonne. “In the Deep South, when the low-pressure systems roll through, you hook onto the back of them, which always leaves a solution for making good your escape. The physiognomy of the low-pressure systems in the Far North is different. These closed zones of low pressure roll in sideways and the strong beam wind is the most dangerous element, because in these conditions, the boat accelerates at an impressive rate and becomes very difficult to control”, explained the Italian sailor, who ripped his mainsail shortly before he finished the race. “I must have had two reefs in for a little bit longer than planned, so I was on a slightly odd trajectory. I got closer to the coast to find somewhere with a bit of a lull to effect repairs. I was kind of forced to leave performance to one side for a moment” concluded Giancarlo, whose focus right now will certainly involve bringing all his good seamanship to bear.