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The Fifth man, Vincent Riou: it was long and it was painful
Vincent Riou's sentiments echoed those of Jean-Pierre Dick, which is hardly surprising since he suffered some of the same problems with his electrical battery system, but the 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner also underlines how the need to be at 100% for all of the race is a pre-requisite of the IMOCA class now, this is what he had to say>>>>>
It was long and it was painful, but I feel fine, running on empty a bit at the end. But I started well and sailed well enough but you feel you deserve more, a bit down because the finish was not easy. Stamina was needed on this race over these last few days but I really gave it everything to the end. But it feels like the party was yesterday.....The successive fronts of the Atlantic really made it important to be fast all the time, to keep pushing.
Fifth is disappointing. They were not ideal conditions for a new boat, I did not really know that boat that well, and feel it is not fully tested. The conditions were such that you were just on the attack the whole time. The wind and sea conditons were often difficult And with new boats you do need to learn to make them go before you break them, to learn the gears and how to use them best. It was not an easy race, but I think there was a strategy to follow, but you put the result behind you and learn from it. When you miss out on things you need to learn. The idea is to get better so the programme improves.
What can you say ? He was great, consistently there, fast all the time, no breakdowns, and into the fronts he was out and away. That’s the way it worked. And in the difficult conditons at the end he did well and showed how to do it. It finished perfectly for him.
New boat teething troubles ?
I spent too much time inside the boat repairing stuff and not enough time at the nav stations or on the deck. Nothing is broken. I had plenty electrical problems, as Jean-Pierre did because we have the same equipment, and this caused more and more issues. Sudden cut outs are not good at all for the navigation system, the computer, the pilot... I also discovered some problems in the ballast systems that handicapped the boat, I never noticed that they were filling that fast and then I did not know how to empty them.
The fact is that today the level in the IMOCA class is so high that you have to be at 100% from the start to the finish line. That's why it is not easy to perform well with a new boat, especially in a race as hard and technical like this one.