15 days to the start of the Vendée Globe
A week after the official opening of the Vendée Globe Start Village and 15 days after the start, the sprawling Port Olona site, Les Sables d’Olonne, has enjoyed, until today, a good time for the passionate crowds who have visited the famous dock and the IMOCA 33 regatta boats that are almost completely prepared and ready for Sunday November 8 th 1302hrs when the starting gun will sound.
If capacity has been limited due to health conditions, and masks and careful monitoring are the order of the day, the level of interest and enthusiasm is as great as ever. Compared to recent past editions, it may take a little more patience to wait in line to get on the pontoon, but the anticipation is rewarded by an unprecedented size 2020 Vendée Globe fleet and a spectrum of racing performance. ocean that has never been wider. .
So far there have been many patrons around the pier and town, the race heroes can keep a safe distance from the visitors, but they are still gathered with their fans. Selfies are more carefully composed, but even in this overly digital age there are still poignant written letters, drawings, good luck notes, flowers, stuffed animals, lucky charms, and questions from children of all ages, such as: ‘Why? what? Doesn’t Charal just fall?
British skipper Sam Davies smiles: “I enjoy this pre-kickoff phase. It’s like the first real feeling of accomplishment to be here on the starting line with your project ready, and there is always a special vibe with the patterns here. I am relieved to be here. Maybe it’s a bit more moderate, but that’s to be expected. ”
Alex Thomson Racing Team Technical Director Ross Daniel reported that “Alex sailed the boat for the last time before returning to England after the final mandatory controls. We brought back some candles and checked them. We have just some final detail work to do. So the boat is ready to do the Vendée Globe and that is the position we wanted to be in and where we are. We were a little concerned about how productive this period would be with the restrictions here, and we’ve actually done more. We are in good shape. Alex is isolated at home now with his family. They won’t be able to come over to start, so this is precious time for them together. He will return to the 31st to start the final isolation before the start. We agreed on a strict Covid policy with our entire team and stakeholders from day one and have had our plans and processes in place for a long time. ”
Behind the scenes there is still work to be done on the boats and it takes time to get out on the water and do the final checks. In total, seventeen trips have been made. And this Friday there is a lot more, sail control, electronics, keel hydraulics, foil control. These final sailing tests are allowed until the end of next week. Sébastien Simon received his second foil on Thursday for his Arkea Paprec.
At the same time, safety checks have been carried out (per Offshore Cat 0 Special Regs, a verification that all required safety equipment is in place, up to date and working). “In general, apart from some small teams that still have some chances and finish to complete, the boats are very ready,” confirms Jacques Caraës, Race Director of the Vendée Globe.
Confined as of November 1.
The bosses prepare to isolate themselves in the company of their chosen ‘bubble’, most of the time the closest and dearest. Pattern lockdown is mandatory from November 1, but many French patterns will be stricter than the minimum and will return home.
Next on the official agenda for skippers is the announcement, on October 30, of the second version of the Antarctic exclusion zone, the positions that will draw the line that marks the ice zone that solo skippers must not cross but that can be updated during the race in case of new data, according to the latest observations made by CLS.