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Articles > Behind the scenes at the PC Course with one month to go

Behind the scenes at the PC Course with one month to go

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As the mark of one month to go before the start of the Vendée Globe passes, so the team under Race Director Denis Horeau are extremely hard at work, putting in long hours of meetings, phone calls and e-mails making sure that the pre-start period is properly organised, that start day is safe and enjoyable for everyone, and most of all that safety and security is maximised around the race course.

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Illustration
© Jacques Vapillon / DPPI / Vendée Globe

Horeau works with a team of three: Guillaume Evrard, Cali Sanmarti and Simon Cardona.

“We are all working on different things just now.” Explains Evrard, “Among the main aspects we are looking at are the mooring and management of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet at the dock, when we are expecting boats to arrive, where they will be. We are looking at the management and mooring of over 50 RIB’s for the teams themselves.”

“On the other side we are finishing off the race security details with the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres) around the world and updating and filling in all the relevant details on the race’s rescue website”

The Rescue Website is a one stop information source for all MRCC and search rescue organisations to get instant access to a vast array of vital information on each boat and each skipper, down to very small detail. It includes such simple things and photographs of the boats under different sailplans, and the skipper, including medical information.

“It has been improved quite a lot since 2008, including the systems of instantly knowing the positions of the boats. For example in Australia and New Zealand they wanted that output in a specific file download format so that they can poll straight into their own software. Other than that we have many more images this time, and more information. There are pictures of the boats under sail from above in different sail combinations, there are pictures showing the colour of the keel, there is now a specific area of the hull which can be cut to rescue a trapped skipper and so there are pictures of that. There are pictures of the skipper in his or her survival suit. So we are working on that still and the relevant procedures.” Says Evrard.

They are also working on the management and security of the fleet and spectator craft on race day.

“We are expecting at least 65 passenger boats and, in turn, ourselves have at least 50 security RIBs, as well as 70 official team or media RIBS, and then the leisure fleet of boats which will be on the water. We don’t have projections for a total at the moment but we are expecting more than 2008.”

“We have just had meetings with the Affaires Maritime office to detail the exact movements and the security areas we will set.”

“And in the meantime we are in contact with the 120 drivers from all over France, so we have to break down exactly what they will be doing for each 30 minutes before the start”

Each team has different requirements or protocols attached to their Crisis Management Plan and so Race Direction are in touch with the teams to make sure that everything is clear well in advance of the start.

“Each team works in a different way and so we work with each team on that just now.”

“We are also working with CLS who look after all the ice monitoring. So we are looking regularly at all the pictures they have of the ice in the south. Twice a week we have pictures at the moment and so we can see if there is any need to chance the course.”

“It is looking much better than in 2008 for ice. We have a lot of ice in the SW of South Africa and that is why on the course we proposed at the beginning of September that the course is to leave Gough Island to starboard so that they are enough north of the ice. Otherwise for the rest of the course there is not so much ice.”

“Since August there has not been too many changes and so we are hopeful it will stay like that for the race.”

“During the race there will be someone working in the PC Course in Paris who will be doing daily updates monitoring the ice. We will have a very secure situation.”

 

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