With the same rigor as the philosopher investigates the meaning of human existence, Giancarlo Bidot (who has a degree in philosophy in his pocket) deals with sailing, the sea and navigation. This year, the 45-year-old Florentine sailor concluded, on January 28, a non-stop and unassisted solo tour of the world, the legendary Vendée Globe. After 80 days sailing, he finished eighth, 19 hours behind the winner. The best result ever obtained by the only four Italians who managed to complete the difficult test: Italian-French Alessandro Di Benedetto 11 in 2013 in 104 days, Cervice Simone Bianquetti 12 in 2001 in 121 days and Roman Pascual de Gregorio (who had a dozen have lived in Rimini for years) 15 back in 2001 in 158 days. Before flying on the Imoca 60 around the world, Pedote tried to try out “proof” boats: windsurfing with sailboats, rafts, the small class with a round bow (second beautiful place in Mini Transat 2013), acrobatic and flying boats like a moth, surfing … Crew boat races, Atlantic boat races. Many successes. Always one step at a time, in recent years he built the house near Lorient, in Brittany, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Giancarlo What prompted you to go around the world on your own?
“The world tour for me was a bit like the next step in my past experiences. The most logical and most logical option, a race for which you never feel ready. Before leaving, I asked myself many questions, but we must accept this situation, be courageous to make this jump and try to do it as thoughtfully as possible, and do things day in and day out. ”
How do your philosophical studies intersect with your passion for the sea?
“Philosophy taught me a method, it taught me the construction of thinking. Logic, self-questioning, always trying to fully verify what he is doing, and always questioning himself … This was the best gift philosophy had given me. ”
Have you read the authors who talked about your road trips?
“I undoubtedly read Moitessier, but I don’t think he was the one who pushed me … The sailing we do today, with our metal boats, is different from the Moitessier romantic world tour. We move by very competitive, technical and stressful means, which often do not allow you to raise your head, look at the sky and leave yourself for reflections, as Moitessier did. It’s a very variable type of sailing. ”
What impressions did you get from reading Simone Bianchetti or Pasquale De Gregorio Regattas, two Italians who preceded you on Vendée?
“It’s undoubtedly a very good impression because carrying Vendée Globe is something really hard to be happy with. It’s a very complicated boat race. Simone and Pasquale both did it with possibly more towing means than I had, so I always had a lot of respect for them and for the people who managed to complete this regatta. ”
Were you expecting to approach the first?
“It is clear that dreams never stop and never stop dreaming or imagining a good position when you think of this regatta. For me, the top ten was clearly a dream. “I knew there were eight new boats, and five boats that had been modified with the latest generation of chips, so they were more performing than our boats … For me the goal was to finish.”
What will your next vendée look like? What are the prospects?
“To be more competitive, the upcoming Vendée needs more resources, and maybe another sponsor to showcase more ambitious results. This is something we are evaluating with my Prysmian Group sponsor. As a very competitive person, to be a motivator, I need a new goal and to transcend myself. We are trying to prepare the ground for this to happen. ”
What do you think of the option to change the hull type of this regatta?
“The idea of setting limits I find very reasonable because it is a good idea to set limits on the costs of our boats which are now very important.”
Your project at Vendée and the Luna Rossa project at the America’s Cup brought Italians’ attention back to sailing. What should be done to bring the Italians closer to the sea?
“There is no doubt that the media interest is indeed something that allows the public to participate, so organizing the boat races themselves attracts the audience and the youth. All actions aimed at promoting our sport are important drops capable of increasing sailing followers. Football in our country is its hero and most children dream of becoming a player. Of course it is difficult to get people to understand ocean sailing in Italy because we don’t have the ocean or the ports from which boat races like France start all over the world. This is really complicated, and then today, many self-proclaimed sports news papers offer 90% football news and 10% other sports. “An attempt to change this equation might be a good step.”
What do you think about the Ac75?
“Technologically beautiful and interesting boats… Sail goes from boats that sail according to the Archimedes Principle to boats that fly and are capable of sailing at four times the speed of the wind. Maybe if we had said it 30 years ago no one would have believed it … I found the Copa America chosen formula very interesting. The limited-time races have allowed a certain type of compelling news to the spectators. ”
Did Luna Rossa watch boat races?
“While sailing, I only had information about the results by talking to friends who were at the beach. Once I arrived I started to follow. It happened to me many times, especially when I was sailing under New Zealand … Sometimes I wanted to talk to Someone and in Europe were sleeping hours, and so it happened several times to exchange a few words with Francesco Bruni, on various things, of encouragement. It was a funny thing.
If you weren’t a professional sailor what would you do?
“Maybe it’s a job where I can constantly ask myself, and I always have a new target to be fit to fight for. I think one of the best messages my grandfather (a major person in my life) ever sent me was that you grew up in difficulties. He had to participate in World War II and had many difficulties. But it was precisely in these difficulties that he became the strong man who appeared in my eyes as a child. ”