Its ascent at high tide in the famous channel of Les Sables d’Olonne is scheduled for around 3:30 p.m. “Charal” and its skipper, Jérémie Beyou, should again cut off the starting line of the Vendée Globe around 4:00 p.m. this Tuesday, November 17.
That is, nine days and two hours after having crossed it the first time at the head of his 32 little comrades, launched like him in this ninth non-stop solo round-the-world trip – except at the home port in the first ten days after departure .
Already more than 6,000 km behind
With nearly 3,300 miles (6,200 km) of disbursements on the head of the race, which is due to cross the equator on Wednesday 18th, he has little chance of going up a priori. “For him, the race is over, it’s clear, but something else is beginning”, said, Monday November 16 in The cross, Bertrand de Broc, another of the unlucky heroes of the Vendée Globe, three times forced to retire. Against twice for Jérémie Beyou (in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013), before he finally completed the lap in third place in 2016.
This other race, there was never any question of not trying it for this modest Finistérien, but on the verge of tears when he returned to Sables d’Olonne on Saturday 14th. “I did get a little message from my team on Saturday evening telling me that it would be complicated to leave on time, but I was sure they would get there”, says this great little-known navigator, member of the closed club of the triple winners of the Solitaire du Figaro.
“It’s up to me to be at the height of my team”
About twenty people, architects, technicians, logisticians, worked to restore the boat within the ten-day limit authorized by the regulations. While his team was restless, he returned home to rest, recharge and re-mobilize on this new race that begins. “The Vendée Globe is a team race, they have all shown that with willpower, we can work miracles. It’s up to me to be up to it, to respect all the work that has been done. “
Before the first start, he was in the trio of the favorites with Alex Thomson (currently leading) and Charlie Dalin (4th). “I have never been so ready and my boat too”, said the sailor, victorious this summer in the Vendée Arctic, on the eve of the first departure.
Economic interests obviously also weighed in the decision to leave, even if on the sponsor’s side, the notoriety and communication objectives were partly achieved. On the sporting level, everything remains to be rewritten. “I will take what comes, I do not know what awaits me”, he said in a fatalistic phrase that did not convince the familiars of this fierce competitor.
Alone at the back, he can, he will undoubtedly lose the race, but he can and will do anything to set a new record. Armel Le Cléac’h had circled the earth in 74 days in 2016-2017 and the 70-day mark seems largely within the reach of new generation foilers like “Charal”.
In a completely different genre, he can also take up the chapter of the “remorada” prefaced by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2008-2009: before winning his second Vendée Globe, this champion who became the boss of a racing shipyard, had also had to turn back path and repair in Sables d’Olonne.
→ INVESTIGATION. The other Vendée Globe race, that of adventurers
Leaving two days after the start, Michel Desjoyeaux had nibbled his delay and had finally won in 84 days. Can Jérémie Beyou repeat this feat? With a journey time of under seventy days for the best, it is hard to see him getting on the podium. But with good weather, a few good fortunes of wind and so many problems for his direct rivals, he can still slip into the top five or six. Man and his boat are made for that.