Standing at the front of his boat, Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest – Art & Fenêtre) is the penultimate of the 33 skippers to leave the pontoon. “It’s a special morning,” said the 42-year-old Parisian. I woke up thinking to myself that 2020 had been a terrible year. Jo Biden was elected to the White House, the Vendée Globe starts, it’s light at the end of the tunnel. I want to go around the world and get home as quickly as possible. The monohull sinks into this channel, where tens of thousands of people gathered 4 years ago.
Although the start of the ninth edition, initially scheduled for 1:02 p.m., was delayed by one hour due to heavy fog preventing all visibility, the competitors left the port early in the morning. They are positioned off Les Sables d’Olonne, in front of a 2 km long starting line while waiting for the sound signal to start.
Despite the health crisis, the organizers have long hoped to maintain a gauge of a few thousand spectators. The reconfinement finally imposed the closed door. Under a magnificent sky, Fabrice Amedeo escapes in an almost empty channel. “Sounds weird,” he breathes. It’s a mystical departure, in 20 years, we’ll be looking at these images again… ”At their windows where banners of encouragement have been displayed, the Sablais applaud. “Good road to you Fabrice!” », Yells a firefighter on the quay.
“The stress has gradually increased, I can’t hide that I’m a little afraid…”
The last hugs with his wife and 3 daughters took place a few days ago. “We were able to live this moment peacefully. In 4 minutes it would have been even more difficult. The sanitary measures did not stop the tears from falling. The pontoon, the last step before the boats, was only reserved for people who respected strict confinement for several days. The little boy of Thomas Rettant (LinkedOut) bursts into tears when he lets go of his daddy’s hand. Alan Roura (La Fabrique) kisses Aurélia, his wife who a few weeks ago gave birth to their first child. Maxime Sorel (V and B), in tears, falls into the arms of his brother, Jérémy. Eric, their father, stayed off the pontoon. “We had decided that way, at the foot of the boat, it would have charged too much emotion,” said the latter. My son is going to the Vendée Globe, psychologically, that’s something. I am proud of him. I never wanted to tell him, so last night (Editor’s note, Saturday night), I sent him a little note. “This morning, I got up telling myself that I was going around the world,” smiles Maxime Sorel. The stress gradually mounted, I can’t hide the fact that I’m a little afraid… ”
Laughter, tears, applause …
His wife and children having not been confined, it is while respecting a distance of 2 m that Armel Tripon (L’Occitane) greets his family one last time. The image of this last kiss sent with the hand, behind a mask, is poignant.
Not all of the skippers’ relatives were able to access the start area, some farewells were still being said live, but by video. We laugh, we cry, we applaud. Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire) admits her emotion when saying goodbye to Tanguy, her husband. “We’re not going to see each other for 3 months… well I hope! “. The night before, his parents came from Paris to pay him a surprise visit. But again, no hugs but kisses sent from a balcony …
Samantha Davies (Heart Initiatives) and Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best-Western), couple in the city, will run together. “We left Ruben (Editor’s note, their 6-year-old son) at home with my parents,” says the Englishwoman. I don’t know if he will have a moment of sorrow watching us leave on television, but he was mostly happy to go meet his friends on Monday. He was confined with us and had not returned to school since the All Saints holidays ”. Sam Davies admits to being lucky. “It’s not often that we wake up saying to ourselves: I’m going around the world! I enjoyed everything, my last night in a good bed, my last shower and even my last flushed toilet! “.
“It is already an honor to leave despite the Covid, coward Alan Roura, the rest will be written on the water”. “I imagined a classic start for a long time, that’s how it is,” says Charlie Dalin (Apivia). And I’m not here to make the crowd cheer, but to race. I hope in all that there will be people at the finish, because it will be really difficult ”.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr