Vendée Globe: Thomas Rettant answered questions from our (young) Internet users -

20 Minutes

  • Seasickness, an aperitif break or the fragility of the latest generation Imoca, the questions of the readers of 

    20 Minutes

     to Thomas Rettant were very varied.

  • The




    about his daily life on his boat, the repairs he had to undertake after the breakage of his port foil or because of his problems at the top of his 28-meter mast.

  • After the rescue of Kevin Escoffier by Jean Le Cam, Thomas Rettant also explains the safety rules he observes at sea and the survival equipment he has.

A broken foil, roaring forties and some technical problems.

A big week ago,

20 Minutes

asked you to ask your questions to Thomas Rettant, but these different elements have postponed the Skype interview with the skipper of 



This Thursday, we were able to establish a video link with the current 3rd in the Vendée Globe.

"At the beginning of the Indian Ocean" the sound was perfect except for small cuts, the pixelated image and the vertical recording turned horizontal without knowing why.

Despite these technical uncertainties, the browser did not let go of his smile and took the time to answer fifteen questions from readers of 

20 Minutes


Thomas Rouillard even told us a fifteen-year-old anecdote that he had the pleasure of remembering.

Zoé, 6 years old: I am the Vendée Globe with my CP class.

How do you sleep on the boat and sail at the same time?

To sleep and navigate these boats alone, we have an autopilot on board.

It is an electric cylinder and the electronics take control of the cylinder.

We give this pilot a course or an angle to the wind and that allows us to do something else: adjust the boat, change the sails, navigate, find out about the weather, eat, sleep.

This autopilot takes the helm of the boat 99% of the time.

Gabin, 5 years old: What are the qualities required to one day be able to embark on an adventure like the Vendée Globe?

The first thing to take the start of such a race, you have to have a strong desire to take up this challenge.

Me, it's a desire that came late after experiences in solo and in races.

I am not a specialist in anything but I am a jack of all trades.

You have to be resourceful, have a little courage, like sporting challenges and adventure.

These are the qualities to be able to compete in the Vendée Globe.

Luna, 9 years old: Each student in my class follows a Vendée Globe skipper and I follow you!

What motivated you to choose the LinkedOut sponsor?

The main sponsor at the start is called Advens, specialized in cybersecurity.

With him, we chose to highlight LinkedOut because social inclusion in France is a real subject and the goal of this world tour, in addition to the sporting objective, is to help dozens of people find the path to employment by making their CVs visible.

With Advens, we are convinced that the worlds of sport, business and associations form a very beautiful triptych and with the media coverage of the Vendée Globe, we are a megaphone to highlight beautiful messages like that of LinkedOut.

Mehdi, 5 years old: I am in a large section at Jacques-Prévert school in Cessson.

And with my class, we place the boats of the first two on a map every day.

How do you organize your day?

And will Santa Claus pass on your boat?

In the morning, I make a big weather report, around that, I will give rhythm to my meals, my sleep.

There is some boat maintenance that needs to be done in order not to let the boat deteriorate and keep it in good condition.

I am very, very busy all day.

Will Santa Claus come aboard?

I hope so (


), I await it with firm feet on December 25 on my boat.

Louison, 8 years old: I heard on the radio the rescue of Kevin Escoffier by Jean Le Cam.

Were you worried about the sailor at sea and happy when he was found?

These are sea stories, we know that can happen.

These are not simple times.

Kevin is a great traveling companion and a very successful sailor in this Vendée Globe.

Obviously, I was reassured when Jean picked it up.

Damage, there may be some, we are prepared for that.

We follow training, survival courses, we have a lot of safety equipment on board including two life rafts.

These are things that we are prepared for, but these are situations that are never funny.

Both Jean and Kevin handled well and I was relieved to hear of Kevin's rescue.

Several readers of

20 Minutes

like Margaux (35 years old), Hubert (66 years old), Antoine (36 years old), Vanessa (32 years old) want to know how you do to make seasickness go away when it happens ...



) Seasickness is unique to everyone.

I'm very lucky not to be sick at sea. So I don't really have any secrets.

At the start of the race, the first thirty-six hours, I sometimes have a little time to sail away, to feel good.

During these first thirty-six hours, I have a little trouble sleeping and eating, but I'm never too bad.

There are small products that exist to get this across, but I don't take anything.

It's true that great sailors are sick at sea. We are not all equal on this.

Christiane, 83 years old: Don't you suffer too much from the noise that the rigs make all the time?

The rigs make noise, the foils whistle a lot.

The hull is made of carbon, we are a few millimeters from the water, and therefore the boat is noisy.

From time to time I have headphones, custom earplugs when it really makes noise.

But it is important not to cut off completely from the sound of the boat because it is also what allows us to know if the boat is properly adjusted, to warn us when a damage occurs.

When I broke the foil, a week ago, it was the noise of this breakage that alerted me.

Bruno, 50 years old: We crossed paths at the Triangles du Soleil 2005 or 2006 (regatta on a 6.50 m sailboat).

How much time out of twenty-four hours do you spend at the bar?


Astonishment is read on his face

) Wow!

It's huge (

big smile

), I remember this race very well.

A double-handed race and this is my very first offshore race.

In 2005, it seems to me.

We got caught in a gust of wind in the middle of the Gulf of Lion in the Mediterranean.

I have very strong memories of this race: we had filled the boat with water, finished in a survival suit.

It was daunting this first offshore racing experience (



Well, I don't spend time at the stand.

As I explained to Luna, these are boats where there is a lot to do on board between maneuvers, adjustments, weather, navigation, food, sleep.

Autopilots are very efficient and they steer almost 100% of the time.

From time to time, I take the helm to try to feel the balance of the sails and the boat.

"The Vendée Globe boats have entered another dimension", explains the skipper @Thomas Rettant #VendeeGlobe

- 20 Minutes (@ 20Minutes) November 6, 2020

Renaud, 30 years old: In what physical and mental state are you after these first weeks of racing?

How did the repair at the top of the mast at 28 meters high and that of your foil go?

I had a fairly intense start to the race with heavy damage - in particular the breakage of a foil - several climbs at the top of the mast to solve the weather vane and hook problems - it is a point of attachment of the sails - these repairs and these technical problems cost me a lot of energy.

Today I have a boat where all the problems are solved even if I am missing a part because I had to cut the port foil.

I'm pretty fit, I manage to get a good night's sleep, to rest well.

I hope I have eaten my black bread.

I know that I will still have some problems because the race is still long.

Bernard, 65: Are you strapped in when you go to the bridge for maneuvers?

What happens if we fall at sea?

How is it going in terms of security?

When I am in my cockpit, I am not hung up because there is no risk of going overboard.

On the other hand, when I move to change the sail at the front, I am hooked.

I have a little fanny pack on my belt that I have different emergency beacons in just in case.

Sometimes the boats have movements that are difficult to predict, even if I move cautiously on the bridge, I hang on.

I have lifelines that run the entire length of the boat and a lanyard with a harness around the waist that allows me to progress on the deck while hanging up.

Fred, 49 years old: With your foil sawn off, if you don't gain speed, will that handicap you and make you lose speed?

These large foils are the revolution of these boats, they allow us to go at crazy speeds and sometimes at certain speeds and when the conditions allow it to almost fly with our boats.

Obviously with this foil less, there is a loss of performance on one edge, which is around 20%.

It's a big handicap.

But I am not giving up.

Sébastien, 47 years old: Several latest generation Imoca have suffered damage.

Aren't these boats too fragile for offshore racing in the southern seas?

This is a good point.

These are boats that are solid despite everything, real safes.

But they go faster and faster and so there was a lot of damage as a result of shocks with ofni.

When you hit an object floating at 15 knots or 30 knots, it doesn't do the same damage.

A boat that goes fast is a light boat, we are going to look for those limits.

In the race, we pull on the machines and sometimes, we go a little too far.

There, that's the whole stake of the trajectory that I will try to have in the southern seas: I will try to preserve my boat by not going in the swells or the strongest winds but to go quickly under acceptable conditions to last over time.

Yannick, 48 years old: How do you approach navigation in the southern seas?

It is very different from the way we sail in the Atlantic.

Here between the Cape of Good Hope and the Crozet Islands, we are a bit far from everything, it is colder, the depressions and the winds are stronger, the sea is rougher.

Obviously, we pay a little more attention.

We know that rescue is more complicated in those seas.

They are understood very differently from the Atlantic and the navigation that could be done there.

I try to navigate carefully even if I try to go fast.

Julie, 39 years old: I noticed that some skippers were supplied with beer by a brewery in Sables-d'Olonne.

Do you allow yourself from time to time small aperitif breaks?

And if so, on what occasions?




It doesn't happen often, on board, I hardly drink.

Since the start of the Vendée Globe, I have allowed myself two aperitifs.

A first crossing the equator where I was able to taste a good old rum from my friend Pierrot.

And I drank a little beer on the way over the Cape of Good Hope.

It is one of the three legendary capes of this Vendée Globe with Cape Leuwin and Cape Horn which they still have to cross.

I took a few very pleasant sips but I haven't finished my can.

Fred, 48 years old: I am from Dunkirk like you.

Will it be possible to meet you on the pontoons of the city of Jean Bart and



be moored in the port of Dunkeque?



) Obviously, I come back very regularly to the North and to Dunkirk where my parents still live.

I live in Brittany because for these projects [offshore races], it's complicated to be elsewhere and the skills are in Brittany.

I will come back to Dunkirk and the pontoons of the regional sailing center and those of the North Sea Yacht Club.

My dad has a boat moored in Dunkirk.

We'll meet on the pontoons.

Will my Imoca come to Dunkirk?

For the moment this is not planned.

It is true that I have always returned with my boats to the North.

There, the project went very quickly to prepare for this Vendée Globe and I haven't had the chance yet.


Vendée Globe: Thomas Rettant has fun on his new flying sailboat


Vendée Globe: Thomas Rettant relies on a dream team for his solo round-the-world tour

20 seconds of context

Partner of Thomas Rettant during the Transat Jacques-Vabre in October 2019,

20 Minutes

 continues to support the northern skipper on the Vendée Globe 2020.

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