Here is Louis Burton again ready to do battle with the most famous of ocean races. This Sunday, the 35-year-old skipper, originally from Yvelines, set off from Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée) for the 2020-2021 edition of the Vendée Globe.
This will be the third participation in this solo race around the world (44,996.2 kilometers, or 24,296 miles), for someone who grew up in La Celle-les-Bordes and completed his schooling in Rambouillet. On board his sailboat “Bureau Vallée 2”, the former “Banque Populaire VIII”, winner of the previous edition in 2016 with Armel Le Cléac’h, the young sailor is not there to make up the figures, despite a year 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic.
“The idea is to do better than four years ago. To be classified in the top 5 would be ideal, ”announces the 30-year-old who had finished seventh. And listening to the director of operations at Bureau Vallée, a company specializing in office supplies based in Clayes-sous-Bois and a ten-year sponsor of Burton, there is every reason to believe. “We have a boat which has already proven its worth, which is robust and fast, lists Adrien Peyroles. It combines the best ratio between performance and speed on paper. After that, the skipper does the rest. “
Preparation disrupted by the health crisis
But like the 32 other participants in this 9th edition of the Vendée Globe, Louis Burton had to deal with the coronavirus and its confinement, far from ideal before embarking on a world tour. “It was a rather ambivalent situation,” explains the latter. On the one hand, we are happy to be able to meet up with family but on the other hand it is quite stressful as regards the preparation of the boat. We could have put it in the water earlier but this year we are two months late. “
All the more so, since before isolating themselves in their boat for at least two months, the skippers had to remain confined a week before D-Day. It is therefore from his home in Saint-Malo (Ille-et- Vilaine) that Louis Burton had to oversee the final stages of the preparation. “But I trust my team, which does a great job,” he says. For the rest, the sailboat with which he has had the advantage of sailing for four years “is ready”, he confided on the phone Thursday. Last test: a PCR test this Friday to ensure that he does not go on a contaminated adventure.
A “deeply kind” and “committed” athlete
He has now left dry land. And there again, confinement requires, the atmosphere was not in a walkabout. Only the family was allowed to accompany the sailor to the pontoon. But not “the friends”, these childhood friends that he joined after the first confinement for cycling trips in the forest of Rambouillet. “Usually, there are about fifteen to come to support me. Despite everything, we call each other and they encourage me a lot, ”he puts into perspective.
Also, he can count on a sponsor who saw Louis Burton grow up. “We started with the oldest boat and the youngest skipper,” recalls Adrien Peyroles. At the time, we started sponsoring and it was with the means at hand. But that made us want to continue with this little guy from Yvelines. “
Its performance in the last Vendée Globe confirmed Bureau Vallée in its choice. The Director of Operations salutes a “deeply kind” and “committed” athlete. “Again Tuesday, he was making a videoconference with schoolchildren to talk to them about respect for the sea,” explains the latter. For them, he is an adventurer. For us, an athlete as we see little. “
VIDEO. Vendée Globe: how sailors organize their lives on board
A number of skippers never equaled. This Sunday, at 1:02 p.m., 33 sailors set off for the most legendary single-handed race around the world, which takes place every four years. A private departure from the popular clamor which is the salt of this competition due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the containment and health measures. Four years ago, nearly 350,000 spectators came to attend.
As in each edition, several objectives for sailors. The first ? Finish the race. At the end of the last Vendée Globe, of the 29 participants, only 18 had completed the round the world. This year, for the more ambitious, it will be a question of beating the record set by the defending champion, Armel Le Cléac’h, who does not compete, and crossing the finish line in less than 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr