Satisfied, relieved, smiling and, as always, in touch with his emotions and ready to share his experiences, Armel Tripon arrived back in Les Sables d'Olonne today in 11th place. Here are the highlights of his press conference.
The breakage of the J3 held back my race a bit, but I managed to come back. I had to deal with a second problem after Cape Horn where I broke another hook so I no longer had the fractional headsail it was becoming problematic. A little hard because I was coming back to the others. But the goal at the start was to bring the boat back to the finish, to complete the round the world and here we are it is done.
It’s a great reward for all the people involved, it proves the boat is great. It is easy and more comfortable.
I went looking to experience the big south and this intense race. I discovered what it was like to be alone at sea and to see nature in all its guises. The Vendée Globe is still very theoretical until you go and do it and experience it.
It's a mix of a hard race and a crazy adventure, an inner adventure, you don't come out unscathed, untouched by it. I think I grew with it. And then it is also a maritime adventure because sailing in these parts of the globe is really something/
Mentally I was well very well prepared to deal with some very strong moments and approach them in a very calm manner. That certainly saved me. It would have been much more painful otherwise. On this race every day is to be celebrated.
When I arrived back to the Bay of Biscay, there were squalls up to 50 knots, the sea was white, it was very brutal. But in saying that It’s a real gift to be able to live it and see this. There were crazy lights. As soon as there was a little mouse hole with a little less wind and sea I went for it, it was the biggest winds I had on the whole race. You have to travel all the way around the world to realize that there are some really bad bits on the doorstep. It was a special end to the race.
I think I'm the only one who's been around the world on threads. From the moment I had this hook problem on the J3, the storm jib was in place all the time because I no longer had a furler. I have sailed a lot with the stormjib, when there were 25-30 knots, it worked well.
I worked for two years with my mental coach on the idea that ultimately this round the world race was going to be full of unexpected things that we had to face up to. Fortunately, I worked on this aspect a lot because I had a problem on the second day of the race. There were a few hard moments, but it was a lot of fun, very intense.
I am lucky to have been able to race, to do what is my job. Every day I thanked my partner for allowing me to live this dream. I didn't want to spoil it. I had an exceptional boat which was very well prepared. I got to know it well so I could push her harder and harder. It was a big chase to get back to boats as we went along. It was motivating. I really enjoyed playing with the weather systems and finding lines.
The time scales of this race are quite incredible. It is unique, over its entire duration, on the seas and seascapes encountered, but above all on the commitment we put into it. Sometimes you find yourself having to fix something and put the race aside for a while. On a Transat that does not exist. These times in parenthesis are mind-blowing. We also have time to appreciate things, the universe around us, this wild and raw nature. It feels very intense.
This course does not leave you unmarked, unscathed. Fighting for more than 80 days with so much desire, selflessness and commitment makes me come out different and that will help me for the future. This feeling of freedom when you are at sea is incredible. I have never felt it so strongly. I found that each moment was intense to live. There is this communion with nature which is very strong, we are reduced to our bare, basic essentials, to have a day-to-day life.
A Vendée Globe is an 80% downwind and reaching race. This boat is really made for this race, it is less suited for a transatlantic race. It's a very pleasant boat to live with, I got along well with it. We were quite good friends and it gave back to me because it allowed me to get to the finish.
I am proud to have finished, to have fulfilled my mission. I think it was a real challenge to be at the start in such a short time. To see the level of engagement on this race which is crazy. It's nice to see that everyone has their own problems to get to the finish. It’s a great philosophy. Everyone struggles to get to the finish.
Of course, I have a good idea of what to have and what to do to be 100% ready (for the next one) We ran out of time for this start, but setting up a competitive project for four years from now is something I would really like. "