Giancarlo Pedote’s Route du Rhum: “It was frustrating but I know my worth”

Giancarlo Pedote on arrival at Point a Pitre

Giancarlo Pedote and Prysmian Group finished 16th in the Route du Rhum among the Imoca 60s, a “suffered” result for the Tuscan sailor who was aiming, as he has shown other times, to race in the top 10. The loss of the J2 jib at the start of the race, a sail that is mostly used upwind up to 25 knots of wind, was the decisive moment that affected the rest of Prysmian’s race, albeit with a great second half comeback.

Giancarlo Pedote recounts his Route du Rhum

For Giancarlo Pedote, this Route du Rhum was a stepping stone to the Vendée Globe 2024, in preparation for which the skipper is counting on completing some major upgrades to his Imoca. We caught up with him by phone in Guadeloupe, to let him tell us about his feelings after this not-so-easy trial that was nevertheless completed. We heard a very determined Pedote on the one hand, in the conviction that he can play it out in the good part of the standings, but also a little disappointed with how this Route du Rhum went and with a hint of frustration at not yet having a competitive vehicle at his disposal.

Maybe it was the most “difficult” regatta since you’ve been going to Imoca class?

No, I wouldn’t say that, I’ve often had pilot problems this year and that’s much more serious stuff because it puts the safety of the boat at risk, however, the performance those were compromised. This sail was a problem that happened and about which there was little to be done in the end. The lack of the sail weighed heavily on the strategic and ranking aspect of the race, because it puts you in a condition of pure frustration, especially in my case starting with a boat that does not allow me to stay with the leaders. Losing the sail became very hard, with some strategic choices that were not feasible because I would have too much J2 sailing, despite a good first part that I am happy with, and a very good second part in the Trade Wind.

How do you make up for the lack of the J2 in a regatta like the Route du Rhum?

There is no effective solution to the problem, since it is a sail that would have served for almost half of the regatta. I tried a few different configurations: I sailed with the mainsail and J3, completely unbalanced because the 3 is very small, with a lot of load on the rudders, to get less I had to reef but then I lost a lot of speed. I tried to use the FR0, which is a very flat tail-type sail that can be used in certain conditions even upwind, but as soon as the wind picked up it was problematic to handle. In short, in the end I tried to make do with what I had, I succeeded, and we finally got into the Trade Wind and abandoned the upwind conditions from J2, but it was hard to stomach.

The Imoca 60 Prysmian Group

The second phase in the Trade Wind started another regatta, did they also pay for the work on the new bow?

On the speed I had it basically pays the result of the bow and the work of 4 years, even though we have a very small team I am very happy with the development work. If we review the regatta in the Trade Winds compared to boats of the same generation as mine, I am the one who held the best averages. And that’s the thing that kind of leaves me with regret, because I’m a competitor and I would like to play where I think I’m capable of playing. I think now we need to take a leap forward in the means to invest in the boat-I had the same sails as in the Vendée Globe-which will remain this one, but new foils will come, and I think we need to enlarge the team as well to be more competitive. More diverse professionals are needed to help me develop performance in all areas, and our small team is not yet at this level.

What will be the first regatta where we will see the boat with the new foils and what will they look like?

We will leave for Europe right away, and we will go to the shipyard to start work on the new foils, which will not be C-shaped but rather classic like the other boats. By Spring next year there will be the first official tests of the new foils and we will also try them out in regattas, we will see when based on how long the yard lasts. Then the Jacques Vabre will be the highlight of the next season.

Mauro Giuffrè




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