Giancarlo Pedote will be the fifth Italian sailor to launch a project or race the Vendée Globe. The most recent was the redoubtable Alessandro Di Benedetto who finished eleventh in the 2012 edition. Although Pedote, 43, is fully respectful of the achievements of his countryman he wants to set himself up with the means to be more competitive and to do better.
"I try not to tie myself to particular references. I really want to run myself and my boat independently of references other than my own potential and my own performance, otherwise there is a danger in accepting second best. My approach is single minded and independent.” Says the Florence born Italian skipper.
Pedote has been ocean racing now for a dozen years, encompassing different projects and classes so that he feels now he really does know what makes a successful campaign. He did two cycles in the Mini, had a spell in the Figaro circuit, a season on the Multi50 alongside Erwan Le Roux, did a Route du Rhum in Class40. " I have the incredible good fortune to have the same partner, the Prysmian Group since I started out in offshore racing. Twelve years of unstinting support is a huge asset. For my Vendée Globe they are with me all the way.” The Milan based global company manufactures electric power transmission and telecommunications cables and systems. It is the largest manufacturer of cables in the world by revenue. "I wanted to do this round the world race but was very aware of what size of investment it represents for a company. I knew that probably a new boat was out of reach for me but I did want a boat with which I could be competitive, I could be in the match. And at the end of 2017 he got the call from his sponsors, telling him they wanted to join him on his adventure. "We had discussed the idea but I was not sure they were up for it. And so it was a real surprise when they said yes. And for this program we will carry the colors of Electricians Without Borders, an NGO that intervenes during emergencies around the world.
For the Vendée Globe 2020, Pedote has the former IMOCA of Jean-Pierre Dick on which the Frenchman was fourth in 2016, the boat which Yann Elies raced on the last Route du Rhum. Jean-Pierre’s company were keen to sell at the earliest opportunity but had already guaranteed that Elies could race the Rhum on the boat. "Well, of course I would have liked to have been there in the Rhum and raced from Saint-Malo. But, in saying that, I would not really have been fully ready. And I like doing things properly.” The Italian sailor has experience on both sides of that coin. During his second campaign on the Mini circuit, that was from 2012 to 2014, he had the time to take work up his proto and that was key to his second place on the Mini-Transat 2013. And the 2014 season ended with a grand slam of all the circuit races. But conversely his time on the Figaro circuit was neither happy nor productive. Preparation was hurried and he did not do well. "It's frustrating to know that we have not been able to prepare fully as we would want.”
To win, first you have to finish
Giancarlo Pedote believes he has accumulated enough experience accumulated on the various circuits to know how to run a competitive IMOCA project. In 2017 he did the Transat Jacques Vabre alongside Fabrice Amedeo, "It was a good way to gain my first experience on this type of boat”. More recently he has been finalising his team and has a base at Larmor Plage (just to the south of Lorient). "We’ve seen a lot of people. I favored two criteria: their technical competence and how I felt it would be working with the person. We all live and work together until the end of the Vendée Globe and so the human aspect is important. And settling in the Lorient area means we can also benefit from the experience of Tanguy Leglatin, the coach at Lorient Grand Large.”
The two know each other well and respect each other a big asset in the formation of a successful project. At the beginning of March, Prysmian left the yard.
Now Giancarlo Pedote plans to compete in all the IMOCA Globe Series races: the Bermudes 1000 Race, the Fastnet and the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2019, and then solo transatlantic in 2020. Bit by bit, stage by stage the Italian soloist intends to raise his game . "The first goal is to finish all the races. As soon as I get to know the boat better, I can learn to attack. The point is to keep the right safety margin.” Meanwhile in Italy, Giancarlo Pedote's project is beginning to make waves. And this is another positive step, adding to the international dimension of the Vendée Globe.