Pedote: “I had set out to win, but everything happened.”


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Giancarlo Pedote freewheels after the disappointment of second place in the Mini Transat (but never had an Italian achieved such a prestigious result), after being in the lead for more than 3,000 miles. He reveals to the Voiles et Voiliers magazine website that he has been unable to push the boat as he would like because of damage to the canting keel and has made a miraculous repair to the rudder. But most importantly he states, “This second place I still haven’t digested.”

“First of all, we need to talk about the first cancelled stage, the one between Douarnenez and Sada,” Giancarlo vented. “I knew very well that it was going to be very windy, just by watching the weather development, and that the wind would turn. All of a sudden, before I left, I told my wife that I had to get away right away. And so I did, the first night I took the lead in the fleet, and the longer it went on, the more I took of the lead. I was going to pass Cape Finisterre with little wind, while the pursuers would have 10 knots of wind more. So I was supposed to have a lead of about 12 hours. Then, 48 hours later, I hear on the SSB that the stage was neutralized in Sada.”

And here Pedote recounts what really happened, when he was overprime in the first stage: “Hearing the message from the organization, I’m a bit pissed off, but the second one was well behind, far away. So I approach the Spanish port of Sada and look for the finish line. An inflatable boat approaches me and announces that there is no finish line, without telling me anything else. I think something serious has happened, a death or a serious accident to decide not to place the finish line. When I learned that instead it was just a matter of bad weather, I got pretty snowed in. The race management has no right not to give a score because of the expected weather conditions. If director Denis Hugues imagined that there was a possibility of stopping the race, he should have provided a score or put a buoy to fix the passage to Sada. In my opinion, he had no right to call it off.”

Pedote then retraces his regatta from Sada to Point a Pitre. “I knew I had to try the same strategy as the cancelled leg again. I put myself at the head of the fleet, throwing myself into the strongest possible winds (40 knots). I didn’t set out to finish second in the Mini, so I’m playing it 100%. The first night, I was traveling at 13 knots, the head of one of the two rudders exploded. I was left with Solent jib and mainsail, there were 30 knots of wind and a lot of wave. To repair the damage, I worked with two arms in the water, with an eight wrench and small bolts. In the meantime, I had called Benoit Marie on the VHF asking him to notify the race director and had activated the beacon on “Presence on Board.” When I saw the rudder head I told myself that my race was over. Then – I don’t know how I did it – in an hour and a half I had made the repair and gave canvas back. A hundred miles passed and I noticed that there was a crack at the canting keel joint. Again, I said to myself, “I’m screwed.” Then, I realized that if I stopped, my regatta would be compromised. In the meantime, I made a little way and found myself at the Puerto Calero crossbar. But if I had stopped, I would not have started again. So I decided to keep going. I had the procedure in case of a wreck well in my head, I chose to risk it rather than finish second.”

“From then on it was all very stressful. I couldn’t surf the waves too much, when I put on autopilot I would run to put my hands on the crack to see if there were any other cracks. I thought about giving it a resinate, but I didn’t. Fortunately, otherwise later I would not have been able to repair the bowsprit I broke with 300 miles to go. I fixed it in three hours; before leaving I had done simulations of bowsprit repair.

The interviewer from Voiles et Voiliers tones down Pedote’s emotions and pissed offness a bit and asks him what he had changed on his boat (which was called Magnum) after his victory in the previous edition of the Mini with the boat’s designer, David Raison, on board. “I’ve been working,” Giancarlo explains, “on the shape of the sails to fit my way of steering, but I’m still not 100 percent satisfied. Then, I moved the mast forward to make it less fiery. To finish, I took the boat apart piece by piece so that I know the boat inside out and always know what to do in racing. And that’s why I was able, with everything that happened to me, to finish the 2013 Mini.”

On the strategic choices Pedote tells: “I think I had a good race. In the Canary Islands I went down south, amazing many. But I was obliged to do it, I had wind from the north and not from the northeast. If I had not gone down south, I would have been forced to sail in a condition that was not ideal for my boat. In any case, outside of the duel with Benoit Marie, I was convinced that I was doing well and that the boat was fast…that I was well put together. I didn’t think I would lose the regatta. This second place I didn’t really digest.”



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