Bertrand, so you’ve taken the decision: you would like to set off again?
Bertrand De Broc: "Yes. I have always had this idea of taking part in the Vendée Globe in the back of my mind. Whenever I look at an atlas, it’s the first thing that comes to me. In particular, because it is still unfinished business for me. I have sailed around the world twice, but I’ve never completed the race. Yet on each occasion, I was up there. In 1996/1997, on my second attempt, my boat lost her keel a few miles from the finish..."
Before being forced to retire, on both occasions, it was going well..
BdeB: "I was in the top three both times. This time I really want to complete the race and finish cleanly without stopping along the way. I’m not talking about winning the Vendée Globe, but I know there’s a chance to have a good go aboard one of the very competitive boats available in the market. It’s still possible to write a fantastic chapter in the history of the race with a partner and make people dream. Look what Samantha Davies did four years ago... There’s room for a good project, I’m convinced of that. "
Since 1997, you’ve been close to setting out before...
BdeB: "Yes and each time I wanted to set off again - in 2000 and in 2004 I was well advanced – it’s not something you set up at the last moment. I was that close to being at the start again and deven more recently, I was on the point of buying the former Delta Dore, but it didn’t work out because of an insurance problem. And a few months ago, I was in advanced talks with a firm... Now there’s another that has contacted me to say that my project interests them. Nothing has yet been signed but I have hopes it will be."
Is it still possible given the timing?
BdeB: "Yes as there are still some good boats on the market. I think that up until mid-March 22012, it can be done. That’s the time limit I’ve given myself."
What about the budget?
BdeB: "Today, there are still some competitive boats on the market and they are not expensive: the Vendée Globe can be done with a total budget of a little over 2 million euros. That’s not that much, firstly in comparison with other sports and the budgets of those, who have been preparing for 4 years. Four years ago, you needed 8 million euros, then 6, then 4 and now just 2... but it can’t be done more cheaply than that (laughs)! We’re basing our campaign on a budget of 2.2 million for two years – 1.3 million in 2012 and 900,000 euros in 2013 – to do the Vendée Globe and probably the Transat Jacques Vabre after that. That’s very reasonable. I can remember that in 1993, the coverage was already said to be worth five times that figure…"
In terms of the race, at what stage are you?
BdeB: "Obviously I don’t have the same degree of preparation as those, who are doing the Transat B to B at the moment, for example. But sailing a boat on such a long course is something that doesn’t worry me. It suits me perfectly, in fact, and anything is possible.I have sailed aboard Maxis, big boats, in the Tour de France, on a Figaro… I haven’t forgotten what to do. And I do train. Once again, taking into account the quality of the boats available on the market, we can really do something here, particularly as you know as well as I that it is not just the winner, who benefits from the coverage in this race, but all of those taking part."
How do you consider your chances of being at the start on 10th November?
BdeB: "One in five, I think… but if we didn’t try, it would be zero. I raced my first Vendée Globe at the age of 31. Now I’m fifty, so it’s now or never…"