Yann Eliès’ candidacy was the big surprise which surfaced suddenly just as registrations for the Vendée Globe closed on November 1st. Eliès announced his intention begin the construction of a new boat in order to be on the starting line in November 2020. Everyone knew that the schedule would be extremely tight, but with the super determined and successful Eliès, anything seemed possible.
But now, some six weeks later, Elies has decided to throw in the towel. To be ready on time that is with the new boat qualified on July 1st, he had to start building in a yard immediately. But as is often the case things could not move as fast as Yann Eliès need, and that goal of a new build on time is now untenable.
VG: Yann, you finally decided to give up. I guess that’s not an easy decision to make?
YE: Of course. Especially since we will have tried everything to achieve it. We had found a partner, but the with time needed to finalize the files, it appeared that the build time had become too compacted. We knew from the start that we were in extremely tight on timing.
VG: Why did you decide to build a new boat?
YE: In a way, we were forced into it. When this opportunity came there were no more IMOCAs available that were genuinely competitive. Given my previous Vendée Globe, I did not see myself going on a project which has sporting ambitions with a boat which did not fit the ambitions. The new boat solution was high risk, but it was consistent with our goal
VG: You had some guarantees...
YE: On the technical side, we had them. Damien Grimont and Liliane Fretté managed all the communication and marketing aspects. The Multiplast shipyard was ready to make a build spot for me, and Jérémie Beyou and his team were ready to make the Charal mould available. I was not alone, far from it. In every case, without all of them, the very idea of building a boat in such a short time was just not conceivable.
VG: So, what are your prospects for the coming years?
YE: I'm spoiled for choice. In April, it will be the start of the Transat AG2R, in Figaro, one of the few events that is missing from my list. La Solitaire is also a race I am particularly driven by and fond of and it would be an opportunity to go and seek for a fourth title. I might also be tempted by the Transat CIC in the Class40 or Multi50. I have very good memories of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2013 which I won with Erwan Le Roux on his trimaran. But if it is in Multi50, it will need the agreement of my family: the North Atlantic solo on a multi you need to be pretty committed.
VG: And the IMOCA? Any options?
YE: I have several. If he needs me, I would love to continue working with Charlie Dalin. We've had a great time and I think there is a lot to learn from joining the MerConcept team. This is a first idea. I would be pretty up for The Ocean Race now that it is running on IMOCA. It would be a great opportunity to earn miles. I am not short on ideas!!
VG: We know your resilience. In 2009, just after your accident in the Vendée Globe 2008 when you borke your femur in the Indian Ocean, Yann had to wait several days before being rescued by a frigate of the Australian Navy, you came back with a win in the Solo Concarneau before finishing 2nd in La Solitaire?
YE: Yes, I remember, I was still walking with a stick. Of course we all have to move forward. This is not the first time that luck does not turn in my favor. But those who know me know that I will not dwell on this for long. I am still young enough to win a Vendée Globe, this is only a mere setback.
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