« After sailing around the world, all you want is to be home, » Benjamin Dutreux could have written this phrase from a song by French rapper Orelsan. After taking part in a round-the-world crewed race with stopovers - not exactly without setbacks - the Vendée-born sailor from Yeu Island is back in Les Sables d'Olonne, his home base. As the new school year gets underway and a large part of the Vendée Globe fleet prepares to take part in the Défi Azimut, the IMOCA GUYOT Environnement - Water Family is currently being refitted in her hangar, located between those of Manuel Cousin and Arnaud Boissières, two other skippers from Vendée.
Benjamin is not hiding his pleasure at being back home. Although he admits that it took him a little while to get the hang of things, he's ready for the new season, which will start with the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre with Corentin Horeau, a former Figaro mate. Well placed in the mileage rankings, the skipper can choose which races he takes part in. His aim: to find the right balance between training, preparation and rest periods, so as to be ready for the biggest race of all: the Vendée Globe 2024!
Boating, surfing, wing...
And for that, taking a break was simply necessary: « The summer holidays have done us a lot of good. It's really recharging to be back home. We took my girlfriend's parents' boat with some friends and family to go to Yeu Island, where we stayed for a week. We completely got away from it all and it did us a lot of good. » But also to get back into the simple things after living in the fast lane for several months: « we spent time at home, in our own place where we feel really good! We've been doing DIY and we're just happy to be here. » But don't think that the young skipper spent his summer between four walls: « I surfed, winged, went for walks in the forest with Sanka (his dog), I went swimming, I went to eat oysters at La Guittiere... My girlfriend and I are back in our Vendée element. »
Looking ahead to the Vendée Globe
Back after this break, Benjamin seems rested and confident: « We carried out a major refit this summer. We enlisted the help of a Spanish yard and the VPLP architectural firm to design a new bow. We've got new rudders, we've changed the foils and we've also carried out a major check-up after The Ocean Race. Our aim was really to introduce a lot of new features now so that we could validate them in the Transat Jacques Vabre. That way, this winter, when we take the boat out of the water, we'll be more in the phase of checking her over, making minor repairs... We'll be working on the details, because we'll already have done the 'heavy lifting'. We're lucky to be ahead of schedule for the Vendée Globe! And we hope that this organisation will give us a lot of peace of mind for what is to come. » See you in 2025 to see if all Benjamin wants after this new round the world race (this time solo, non-stop and without assistance) is to be home!*
*Lyrics of the French rapper Orelsan's song :
In the end, I think the Earth is round
For one good reason
After you've been around the world
All you want is to be home