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Denis Van Weynbergh: "One day a Belgian sailor will complete the Vendée Globe, I hope it will be me. "

Despite have taken the decision to halt his Vendée Globe campaign towards 2020, Denis Van Weynbergh upheld his commitment to be at a press conference hosted in Brussels by the Vendée Globe and Vendée Tourisme in Brussels at the Atomium, that most emblematic of  buildings of the Belgian capital.

Vendée Globe: Denis, we imagine that this was not an easy decision to finally make?
Denis Van Weynbergh: These things are never easy. But at some point, you have to be realistic. Considering the few small sponsors that I had managed to gather, I just did not have the budget to realistically go towards the Vendée Globe. And I did not want to push blindly on and arrive in November hoping for a last-minute saviour.

VG: That said some skippera have been lucky enough to get that 11th hour, last minute support just before the start.
DVW: Except that it's not my way of working. I consider that 80% of the success of an adventure like the Vendée Globe is set up on land, before leaving. I have a disciplined background in business and leadership. Building a proper project requires that you establish your minimum in terma of resources in time to progress correctly. Right now, today, I have run out of time and don't have the resources.

VG: When did you make your decision?
DVW: I've been thinking about it since I chose not to participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre. I could almost have announced my decision at that time, but there were still four or five partnership opportunities. I wanted to take them to their conclusion and not to have to regrets.

VG: Your project seemed to be well founded?
DVW: I had taken the means to make it work. I was on a reasonable project, I bought the boat from Nandor Fa and it seemed perfectly suited to my project. I had a strong boat, which was certainly not the fastest in the fleet. But the goal was to complete the Vendée Globe, not go for a podium. I am above all a sailor, not a racer.

VG: From your point of view, what are the reasons why the project could not succeed?
DVW: Unlike in France, the ocean sailing culture is not very developed in Belgium. An offshore racing project does not have the profile that a cycling or in football campaign could have. Even the Vendée Globe still suffers from a lack of public awareness. When you meet business leaders and talk to them about the potential benefits, still many are skeptical. So to this end this, it is an excellent initiative that SAEM Vendée and Vendée Tourisme have taken to come and promote the race in Brussels.

VG: And now, what's going to happen?
DVW:  I own the boat, but if I have an opportunity to sell or charter it, I won't hesitate if the deal is right. Being the owner of a boat that does not race is hard to sustain financially. I have a few different ideas bouncing around and so in 2024 and if the planets line up, I'll be on the starting line in four years.

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