In what is actually a very short time Clarisse Cremer has gone from the Mini Transat in 2017 to the IMOCA and the Vendée Globe in 2020. But at the age of 30 years old, nothing seems to distub her chirpy demeanour and her unquenchable thirst for learning. She clearly has a mature, solid mindset. Performance and a result on her conventional daggerboard Banque Populaire IMOCA which was SMA before are but one side of the equation for Clarisse, most of all she aims to enjoy and get something from every single day of her Vendée Globe.
How are you finding this special atmosphere in the Vendée Globe Start Village?
"I'm not at all used to all the attention. It is quite new to me. And really it brings home to me the popularity and the impact of the race. You realise how much it is followed by the general public. Under current health circumstances, we are still quite" protected. So it is nice, you don't feel quite as overwhelmed by the world and the crowds. It is cool.
But it's true that there is a time when you want to go?
I am lucky to be surrounded by this great team. The boat is ready. I'm already thinking about the start, even not knowing the weather situation. So we cannot really organize ourselves yet. But I'm already pretty focused on what's going to happen in the coming weeks.
You have shown great promise in the races leading up to now, how do you analyse your strengths and weaknesses?
I learned a lot of things in a year and a half with the team and thanks to the presence of Armel (Le Cléac'h) at the start of the project. I have fast tracked technical advantages, and so from that point of view it's really great. I also made good progress on the weather analysis and strategy. There has been a positive side to confinement, allowing us to review a lot of things like theoretical stuff on the course. I still lack a bit of experience, I would have liked to sail 10,000 times more. I wish I had the chance to do more things, to break more things. There is still a lot unknown to me on this Vendée Globe. I would say that my weakness is my lack of experience in the Southern Oceans and the management of a boat in terms of general seamanship. I will learn on the job. One of my goals, beyond even finishing the race, is to take this chance to fully experience this adventure. I know I'm going to have very difficult times, but I want to make the most of it, to be good at sea, and not just be a good time after the fact.
Mentally, have you prepared yourself?
I had two mental trainers on two different things. I still find that nothing can substitute for having having done different things at sea. I’ll set off knowing that there will be times when I will want to be somewhere else, anywhere except on my boat. I accept it and I know it is part of the journey. I know that I will get a lot stronger mentally during this Vendée Globe.
What do you take in your clothes bag?
I looked at Armel's clothing list from the last Vendée Globe and took the same thing, with a few details. I have two big 80 liter bags. I divided everything into sections of the course, and I saved some clean pants. In all, I have 28 kilos of clothes!
What is your program in the days to come?
I will go home shortly to confine myself. Despite everything, there is a positive side to being confined: we will be less tired out by the demands in the village and entertaining and so on and we will be able to concentrate more. I will come back on the Wednesday before departure. I still want to be there, not too far from my boat and from the team. I like spending time on my boat, even without doing anything special there. It helps you get in the mood. "