What is your position now Didac? Do you have access to the boat again, has someone bought it?
Yes, we have an agreement to buy the boat. The project - in particular, everything related to the boat - is made up of different people: Josep Costa (no relation!) assumes the role of manager, and there’s a media and sponsorship management agency called Immedia.
What state is the boat in? What needs doing to it to make it ready?
The boat is in good shape. I finished the 2016 Vendée Globe without it suffering any damages, beyond having finished a 3 month, round-the-world race.
Why go again? What is it that you want to achieve?
On the one hand, from a sporting perspective, there is no doubt for me. A solo, round-the-world race, on board an IMOCA... I want to be there!
On the other hand, I really want to compete with the best conditions; to have time to prepare the boat, to train, to test things well, etc. In the last edition of the VG I could barely train with the boat. We had just 3 or 4 days to test with the boat and my team together, the qualification race, where you cannot push too much because you have to finish it, and then the delivery from Barcelona to Les Sables d’Olonne, which took us – as I did it with more crew – about 7 to 8 days.
Having done this training, I’m very proud of having finished in 14th position back in 2016, and it gives me a lot of strength for the next edition.We also want to focus on communication. We believe there is a lot to talk about and to have an impact, creating good content and enhancing ocean sailing, especially the Vendée Globe. In addition, I would also like to establish continuity beyond the VG 2020. We would like this Vendée to serve as a starting point, to have a stable team and a stable project in the future.
What did you learn from last time?
Lots of things. In the sports field, I had done the Barcelona World Race, a two crew round-the-world race. Although I had already participated in some solo regattas, I did learn that solo sailing adds some small difficulties such as less sleep, more physical fatigue, etc. Not only that, but the general approach has to be different from the beginning, and that is something that we have to work on during the preparation.
Can you describe your relationship with this special IMOCA?
I know this boat very well. This helps me to adjust the timings to assemble and disassemble her, to know the state of the different important elements of the boat, and the improvements needed.
How close did you get to finding money for a more ambitious project?
We have made advances that make us feel optimistic. Of course, there’s a very clear ratio between the resources we have and the improvements we will be able to make, but the calendar is also very important because, especially in a race like the Vendée Globe, you have to make things more reliable. There is no possibility of assistance, there is no other race like this, and this is an aspect we tend to forget.
Describe the ocean racing scene in Spain right now... IMOCA racing has gone backwards a bit with no BWR and the FNOB not being so active. That must be difficult for you?
Apparently it is not an easy scenario. The BWR was a very important focus for ocean sailing. Although it is also necessary to have more young people sailing in other ocean classes, events like the BWR help a lot given the impact it has, especially at a local level.
Anyway, this aspect can also be focused in the opposite direction: in the current situation, the fact that I have one of the few Spanish projects in the world, and I am the only Spanish sailor in the Vendée Globe, is an opportunity to benefit from all the impact and coverage this regatta brings both here and in France.
What have you been doing since the last race... Would you ever move to France to pursue your career or is Spain/Catalonia home?
It’s something I’ve thought about, before doing the VG 2016. In relation to what I said before, the BWR gave me an opportunity to sail around the world that I wouldn’t have had in France, and that continued in the VG 2016. From there, I was working hard to have an important project for the BWR, but the race was cancelled and that has upset the plans for these four years a bit.
I would also add that, for me, the VG 2016 did not finish when I arrived in Les Sables, since I have had to face the economic effort involved in doing the race with very few resources. This hasn’t allowed me to seriously consider leaving Spain to ‘try my luck’.
What kind of budget do you need? Different levels, minimum? What is realistic to update the boat?
We have different levels, it’s very variable, not only because of the improvements that can be made and the scope they have, but also because of their viability. For that I have to work with people with the technical capacity for it, beyond my experience as a sailor - that’s work we’re doing now. That, and the calendar itself, will determine the different budget levels.
Do you have other ambitions in sailing ?
My attraction to sailing is focused on high seas navigation. It has all of the aspects that attract me to the discipline; sports, knowledge of navigation-meteorology-strategy, knowledge of boats, preparation, etc