Vendee Globe - Safran Sailing Team prepares for battle

Safran Sailing Team working on the boat.
© Jean-Marie Liot
The 2012 Vendee Globe will commence in just over two weeks and the Safran Sailing Team is taking care of the Safran monohull, which has been moored up at the pontoon in les Sables d'Olonne since 18th October. Thierry Brault, who is in charge of the Team, explains to us what the team’s work entails before the start.

There are now only sixteen days to go to the start of the Vendée Globe. In les Sables d’Olonne, Marc Guillemot’s team only has a few minor checks left to carry out on the boat. 'Technically, the boat is already ready to sail,' said Thierry Brault. 'What remains to be done in the final two weeks leading up to the start are simply details. For example, we are running through the checklists from a month ago and examining everything point by point. That involves everything, starting with the bow and working right back to the transom and from the top of the rig to under the deck,' he added. The whole team is there in les Sables d'Olonne to do that.

On Monday 21st October, the team carried out the compulsory safety checks required by the organisers. A job, which took almost three hours, as here too, absolutely everything needs to be checked with nothing left to chance, in particular 'the life raft and documents, the distress rockets, all of the beacons, the new thru-hull systems, which enable the boat to continue to emit her position, even when she has turned over, the communications and phone systems… it’s very thorough', explained Thierry Brault.

There are already lots of people visiting the Vendée Globe Race Village, including many employees from the Safran group. 'They visit the Safran stand in the village, register and visit the boat in groups of five,' said Thierry. 'A lot of people are in this way able to get an idea of what lies ahead for Marc as he sails around the world and what his life will be like over the next three months. As for us, we are protecting the boat, laying down mats and cleaning Safran up each day, so that everything is perfect.'

The other area that the Safran Sailing Team is working on involves checking all the equipment on the boat. 'To do this we are once again running through our checklists and examining all of the equipment. We have to take on board everything that is required, ensuring that we don’t forget any spare parts. On board, there are seven big boxes containing this equipment,' explained Thierry.

'We open them up and close them up again one final time, remembering the importance of limiting the weight, while at the same time keeping what is required. That will also be the case for the bags of food, which will be stowed aboard next week,' he added.

The ten sails allowed in the rules are already aboard. As the tide goes in and out and with the wind in the harbour, Safran is tugging on her moorings, as if she too was eager to get underway around the world.

Vendee Globe website