With 9 days to go until the Vendée Globe start, read Conrad’s penultimate diary from land online, with excerpts below; his overwhelming impressions from being down in France at the inauguration of the Vendée Globe race village, where over 95,000 people walked past the boats in the first week alone. Plus he pens his final thoughts as he spends his last week back home in Plymouth…
We put Conrad in the hot seat and interrogated him on what makes him tick and why he is voluntarily going off to sail solo around the world non-stop. Find out what his biggest fear is, how he’ll survive the loneliness factor, what he can’t leave the dock without and many more intriguing questions…will the real Conrad please stand up! Click on HELLOMOTO News online for the full Q & A session.
Today we have refreshed the website for the Autumn/Winter season – warm colours and fantastic new aerial and onboard sailing photography of Conrad sailing HELLOMOTO, taken in varying conditions offshore. Check out the homepage ‘Interactive’ section for new Motorola Ocean Racing Merchandise and sign up for race updates.
Excerpts from Conrad’s Diary with less than 10 days to go…
“For thousands of people, to come and see the boats and skippers taking part in Vendée Globe is something of a pilgrimage. Clutching their race programmes, scrapbooks & newspaper special editions, they spend a few moments transfixed by the boats, touching the bowsprit or part of the rigging, knocking on the hull softly, before eagerly thrusting their autograph material into my hands. I have never felt quite so humble…I was simply not prepared for the affection and admiration that is held for each of the Vendée skippers and their boats…”
Other priorities this week included a fleet safety inspection, which was carried out meticulously by the race organisers. The lessons learnt from the 1996/7 race where French skipper Thierry Dubois boat capsized off SW Australia. His life raft wouldn’t inflate in the cold southern ocean temperatures and this has meant new safety checks to some of the essential kit. These guys are so thorough, they even checked that the Mars Bars in my emergency grab bag were out of date and told me that I had to replace them..!
Then the medical course arranged by the race organisers took place. The race doctor, Jean-Yves Chauve, has a wealth of experience, particularly in remote medical operations, and successfully helped Pete Goss nurse Raphael Dinelli back to health after his dramatic rescue in the Southern ocean. He also helped another previous competitor, Bertrand de Broc, when he had to sew his tongue back on. We practiced this ourselves but using pigs’ trotters. All very easy in the confines of a classroom…”
And finally, the time has come now to say goodbye to friends and family at home – and buy a few Christmas presents before the off! Vikki and I are used to spending Christmas apart, but this will be my first one alone. It seems a long way off right now, and I’ll take one day at a time, but there will inevitably be times like Christmas Day where being on my own will be tougher than usual…
So, the whole of the Motorola Ocean Racing team will all be together in Les Sables d’Olonne this Sunday, and our goal is to be race ready at the end of this week so that we can enjoy the race build up and excitement in France for the final few days after all the hard work that’s gone in to getting the boat and myself ready. I imagine I’ll be taking it all in with some awe and amazement!”
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