Learning from difficulties: when ocean racing is a school of sports and life


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Giancarlo Pedote (Photo by Martina Orsini)

Offshore racing, ocean racing even more so, is a great school of sports and life. They give explosive joys but also bitter disappointments, often a seesaw of emotions that within hours of despondency can take you from despondency to elation and vice versa. The stories of this Transat Jacques Vabre fully reflect this narrative.

Giancarlo Pedote and Anthony Marchand on Prysmian Group. arrived at the finish line in Salvador de Bahia in 17th position out of 24 competitors in the Imoca 60 class, closing the 4,350 route miles in 15 days, 15hrs, 26min, 57sec. A result that is, as stated by the Italian skipper himself, below eve’s expectations. But as we said in Ocean nothing is a given, you win and you lose, and very often luck plays its part cruelly. And so it was that the western option chosen by Giancarlo and other distinguished members of the Imoca fleet, such as Alex Thomson, turned out to be wrong. But it was an attacking choice, an important one that could have propelled Prysmian into the top half of the standings if it had succeeded, not least because Pedote and Marchand’s start in the regatta had been decidedly good compared to penultimate-generation Imocas like Prysmian. But the weather development over the medium to long term was not what was expected, and the Italian skipper found himself on a longer course and in unfavorable sea weather conditions that carved out a major rut of miles compared to those who had opted for the south.

Giancarlo Pedote’s Imoca 60

“We knew from the beginning that we were taking the most complicated route, but it was a considered choice, made in agreement with our meteorologist on the last night before we left Le Havre. We followed our initial plan, except that the weather phenomenon we expected did not occur. Obviously, it was a great disappointment “, commented Giancarlo Pedote. Hopes faded at Cape Verde’s latitude, shortly after mid-race: “As we were at 13°N sailing at an average of over 15 knots in the trade winds, happy to have finally hooked up, we heard a big “bam.” The boat suddenly stopped. At that moment, we were both inside the boat, concentrated at the chart table. When We went out, we saw that the starboard foil was broken and the rudder on the same side was damaged. It was a difficult time“, admitted Giancarlo who, after carrying out the necessary technical checks, felt together with his team ashore that he could continue sailing.

The miles secured by Prysmian, however, are gold for Vendée Globe qualification, Pedote’s real goal. The experience of the Transat Jacques Vabre in this regard will prove crucial in tackling the round-the-world race.


Pedote is not the only one who has drawn the unlucky card in the great weather deck. Emblematic is the Charal affair of the Beyou-Pratt pair, the big favorites of the eve. True rulers of the race until the equatorial calms, with huge lead over the pursuers, they remained two days “planted” in the calms while just to the west a highway of boats in the fast lane opened up. Charal entered the equatorial calms first, with over 120 miles to spare, and came out sixth with almost 300 to spare. A real blow to shipboard morale. Charal then climbed back up to third position, on the podium then, behind Apivia (new-generation Imoca we told you about HERE) and the surprising PRB (old-generation Imoca refitted with foils).



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