With the song “Diva” for the start of the 2nd stage of the Ocean Race in Cape Verde

Without an unprecedented stop in the country of Cesaria Evora and without technical assistance, competitors in the world race will leave Cape Verde on Wednesday for South Africa.

Rhythm, skill, running. It’s been four days since the Ocean Race fleet anchored in Cape Verde, the host country of the first leg, won by Kevin Escoffier (Holcim-PRB) from American Charlie Enright (11th Hour Racing Team) on Saturday. ), German Boris Herrmann (Malaysia), Paul Meilhat (Biotherm Racing) and Benjamin Dutreux (Guyot Environnement-Team Europe). In Mindelo, or rather, on the island of São Vicente, the cultural capital of this West African island nation whose volcanic archipelago is located in the center of the Atlantic Ocean. At this time of the year, when tourists flee the winter cold in Europe, the temperature is mild there (20-25 degrees).

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An unprecedented destination in past Whitbread history, the Cape Verde Islands are used to host yachtsmen in search of adventure and transatlantic voyages to South America or the West Indies. They also regularly receive visits from sea racers who pass them, pass around them or stop there, often squeezed and forced by misfortune at sea. But never stopped the great ocean race “The Barefoot Diva” in the city of Cesaria Evora. “In terms of navigation, it’s a place we know very well, having crossed almost all the transatlantic seas.Meilhat says. I’ve been on vacation before, but I didn’t expect this enthusiasm. At the end of the stage, at night, there were people everywhere, it was a nightclub atmosphere! »

” I am very gladAdds Biotherm team member Anthony Marchand. If I go sailing, it’s for competition, but also to travel, to meet people. » Nicolas Lunven, the navigator aboard the Malizia, turns to his memories. “It reminds me of the races we have in difficult places like La Cap Istanbul en Figaro.it slides. There is something really beautiful about discovery and originality. » San Vicente Island, “It’s a bit of Brazil”Cesaria said to Evora.

The race’s ephemeral village settled on the quays of the commercial port, amid the containers, small cargo ships at rest, and the nearby cruise ship giant Vasco de Gama. In front of the bows of the Imoca (18.28 m Vendee Globe monohulls) opens the bay of Porto Grande, surrounded by hills and arid mountains, surrounded by a wide beach of white sand with turquoise waters. On the other side, you can make out the peaks of Santo Antao standing out in the fog. For dinner in the evening or early morning breakfast, some sailors take advantage of a few hours of freedom to go to one of the typical restaurants of the historic district with its cobbled streets and colorful facades.

Despite all this innovation, the intense pressure surrounding the crews is palpable. In the question? Assistance from technical crews not allowed on this short stop in Mindelo. Crews must perform maintenance and repair damage themselves without the strict a priori that occurs in the first phase. Like an involuntary nod to the marathon stages of the Dakar (which no longer ends in Dakar, but in Saudi Arabia), which African publications end 700 kilometers along the coast of Senegal! “No maker shall have the right to embark, and no part shall embark or embark, Imoja Class President Antoine Mermod says. They only have the right to repair torn sails on land. »

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“It is not usual for us to have a total of seven or eight technicianscomments Benjamin Dutreux. It had been a while since I climbed the pole to check it out. » “I like this way out,” says Meilhat. We decided not to bring anyone, it’s a bit extreme. But there is support. There is a side of the caravan that I like. » Less enthusiasm than Kevin Escoffier.

“The location is magical, but I see that the concept will not work because the time is too tightreacts. The idea is great, but it needs more time. No resting there, we would have gone straight to Cape Town, maybe it would have been less tiring! » Guyot Environnement’s boat captain, Jimmy Le Baut, prefers to use humor. “This is the first time I’ve been working remotely from a pontoon and I can’t access my work tool.leaves I was only allowed to dive to clean the hull! » At 7pm on Wednesday, the sailors will depart for Cape Town, the end of the 4,600-mile second leg. On the way, they will go through difficult situations, the St. Helena anticyclone, the Forties. The adventure continues.

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