Zbigniew « Gutek » Gutkowski is a happy man. His 1,500-mile qualifying navigation went perfectly well and the Polish skipper even sailed all the way to Cherbourg to reach the French coast before putting the finishing touch to his monuhull preparation in Gosport, near Portsmouth. « This is a dream boat, Gutek said after arriving in Cherbourg. I’ve only used 50% of her potential because I still don’t know her well enough. But still, we sailed 400 miles in 24 hours, which is pretty good. I’m so happy to have her! » Energa is a Finot/Conq yacht built in 2007 and her previous owner, Alex Thomson, sailed her for a second place in the 2007-2008 Barcelona World Race, with a speed record of 501.3 miles in 24 hours.
With the support of Energa, Poland’s leader in electricity production, Gutek is proud to compete in the world’s toughest offshore sailing race. « This yacht means I have a real opportunity to finish on the Vendée Globe podium, even though I can’t really guarantee anything. Anything can happen when sailing solo and non-stop but I’ll give my very best. I’m proud to be the first Pole to compete in such a race. Some people are saying it can be done in less than 80 days but I think that 90 days mean a podium and 100 days is a spot in the Top 5 of the race. » Who knows? Gutek could very well be the good surprise of this edition!