He has a degree in Philosophy and was a career journalist with the Figaro newspaper who then took up the challenge to race on the AG2R and La Solitaire du Figaro. That set in train his desire to race solo offshore, culminating in his first Vendée Globe in 2016-17 when he finished 11th. Now, looking to a step up in his performance and racing and sailing full time, meet Fabrice Amedeo
Fabrice Amedeo – Newrest – Art & Fenêtres
Date of birth: 24th February 1978
Place of birth: Château-Gontier (Mayenne)
Lives in: Levallois-Perret/La Trinité-sur-Mer
Studies and career path:
“I have an M.A. in Philosophy and graduated from Sciences-Po Paris. In 2016 before taking part in my first Vendée Globe, as an adult I got my Master’s from HEC to get to grips with how to run the project so that I could deal with the Vendée Globe.”
Your first sailing experience: where, when, under what circumstances?
“My first experience of sailing was on Lake Parloup in Aveyron at the age of two on a Caravelle which I still have. It was my grandfather’s and I still sail it with my daughters. I used to sail every summer with my parents aboard a First 22 then a 28. That boat was our holiday home. On three occasions, we spent a month on the water during the year with all my brothers and sisters. It was fantastic!”
How did your love of ocean racing begin?
“Above all, I enjoy being out on the water and I love the sea. And I enjoy competing. When I was younger I used to train to compete at a high level in judo and athletics. The two together helped develop my passion for ocean racing.”
When and why did it become a focus in your life?
“I was a journalist at the Figaro paper and in 2008 I took six months off to compete in the Transat AG2R and the Solitaire du Figaro. When I went back to the office, it hit me: I wanted to do my own thing. I moved to Class40 and launched a Vendée Globe project in 2015. I hung up my suit and put on my wet weather gear. It’s a full time job finding sponsors and sailing at the same time. I am really pleased about my decision.”
Which result or experience are you proudest of?
“Completing my first Vendée Globe in 2016.”
What is your greatest quality? “My determination”
And your major weakness? “I am a loner. I like being alone. That is an advantage in the Vendée Globe.”
If you were an animal, what would you be? “A dolphin… so that I wouldn’t have to sleep at night. A dolphin never sleeps. When half of its brain is sleeping, the other half is awake. I can remember Laurent Bourgnon in 1991 after the La Baule-Dakar race starting to talk about that. That is something he dreamt of and he had already talked it over with Bertrand de la Giclais, a pioneer in the study of sleep at the Hôtel Dieu hospital in Paris. He was the first to attach prodes to ocean racers to study their brain patterns.”
If you were a plant, a film, a piece of music? “A reed, because The Oak and the Reed is my favourite fable. My film would be The Constant Gardener adapted from the book by de John Le Carré. Incredible. As for a piece of music, it would be Guns and Roses. I listened to them over and over when I was a teenager at sea…”
What would make you happy? “Quietly enjoying my retirement in Polynesia. I have already been there twice. I feel good there and there are some untouched places there.”
Who is your personal hero? “Bernard Moitessier. I loved what he said at the end of the Golden Globe in 1968. “I am continuing to sail to the Pacific Islands without stopping, as I feel happy at sea, and maybe it will save my mind.”
An aphorism? “Something Mohammed Ali said that I wrote down inside my boat in 2016: “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
If you weren’t an ocean racer, what would you be? “A journalist.”
MY PERSONAL VENDEE GLOBE
Your ambitions in the 2020 VENDÉE GLOBE: “I want to finish it. You have to fight hard to complete the Vendée Globe. That is going to be all the more important in this 2020 race, which is going to be very special. Covid 19 means that we haven’t been able to organise things as we would have liked. I think it may be a difficult edition and completing the voyage is going to be a real feat.”
Weaknesses (what could prevent you from reaching that goal apart from suffering damage?): “Sometimes I admire other extremely keen sailors so much on their extremely efficient boats, people like Jérémie Beyou and Charlie Dalin, that I don’t feel I can follow them. I have a bit of a glass ceiling. I’m working on it.
Your best weapon: "My will to go and come back. My desire to go to sea and enjoy my true happiness being at sea. "
What would a successful VENDÉE GLOBE be for you? "Crossing the finish line on January 28, 2021, my eldest daughter's 13th birthday! "
What do you want to share? “My happiness in the Southern Oceans. I like the Big South, we put racing aside a bit and we are clearly on the adventure spectrum. I remember harsh conditions, grey skies, a lot of wind, huge swells, I loved these moments ".
In three words, the Vendée Globe for you is ... "An outcome, Southern Oceans, To Dream".
Three images you have from VENDÉE GLOBE: "The first was off the Kerguelens in 2016, at the beginning of December, there were 40 knots, snow and five albatrosses following me. I am in the moment. I zoom out the electronic chart and tell myself that I am very far from home. It was crazy! The second was my arrival at Cape Horn with 55 knots of wind, mountainous seas of over 10 meters. On the port side, I saw the snow-capped Patagonian mountains. Magic ! And then, there is also my finish back to Les Sables d'Olonne, off Brétignolles-sur-Mer, I tack and I see lots of boats coming to meet me. I had completed the full round the world! "
Which skippers inspires you? “Loïck Peyron because he combines the talent of the sailor and the communicator. I also love Michel Desjoyeaux who has the talent of the absolute racer and then Sébastien Josse for his humility. "
You wouldn't go around the world without… “Photo and video material to share what I'm going through. For me, telling the story is inseparable from a Vendée Globe. "
Environmental / scientific actions on this round the world "On board Newrest - Art & Fenêtres, I have sensors to measure the CO2 content of the oceans, the salinity and the temperature of the water. The idea is to better understand global warming. There is also a module on board capable of measuring the presence of microplastics in the Southern Oceans in particular. I have also set up an educational project with the national education service on ocean protection. "