New Year: in the Vendée Globe, the last were the first to pass in 2021

“I am fortunate to celebrate this New Year right now!”, rejoiced Manuel Cousin, current 22nd in the Vendée Globe standings, on franceinfo. As he speaks, it is 11 am, Thursday December 31 in Paris. But for him, it’s already Friday January 1st: the skipper is in the south of New Zealand, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, west of the date line. And for the better ranked skippers, who are already a little further east, beyond this imaginary line, which largely follows the 180th meridian (or antimeridian), it is still for a few hours on December 31.

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How does it feel to be among the first to pass in 2021? “I hope it will be better than 2020, even if we had the chance to take part in the Vendée Globe, says Manuel Cousin, aboard Sétin Group. Obviously, we have all experienced what everyone is experiencing today with the pandemic, it is to be wished everyone that all this improves, and we do indeed hope that with the vaccine, it will be resolved. “

Manuel Cousin enjoys relatively good sailing conditions, even though the weather is “cool, 3 to 4 degrees”. But the sailor also wants to share his happiness to be at sea: “We always see albatrosses, which follow us and soar majestically behind the boat, it’s really beautiful. They never really move their wings, they soar. We’re never alone, after all.”

“The albatrosses play with the air flow of the sails of the boat. They are very very large, it’s impressive, several meters wide.”

Manuel Cousin, skipper on the Vendée Globe


At the time when he confided in franceinfo, Manuel Cousin had not yet “consumed” his eve. “I had some technical glitches, so my 31 was a bit special. I worked all day but I just finished, and tonight I admit that I will prepare myself a good meal. My family, my relatives , my wife prepared it in a special bag. “

Among the sailors of the Vendée Globe, some do not make the most of their New Year’s Eve. The leader of the race, Yannick Bestaven, has not planned anything in particular: “It’s an evening like any other, I will have a thought for the family, the friends on the ground who are going to celebrate and then there you go.” By comparison, on Maxime Sorel’s monohull, 9th in the race, it’s Byzantium: “My partner had prepared two meals for me: one for Christmas and one for New Year’s Eve.

“I think there is still foie gras, and the rest, normally it will be pasta, like at Christmas, because I love it. I intend to mark the occasion!”

Maxime Sorel, skipper on the Vendée Globe

to franceinfo

Mark the blow, yes, but at what time? Boat time, universal time or home time? The German Boris Hermann, 6th in the fleet, decided: “I celebrate it at European time. A little aperitif and a good little thing.”

For the first of the fleet, on the same time zones as North America, the switch to the new year will wait a little longer. IThey will celebrate the New Year after the metropolis, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., Paris time. For the last in the standings, on the other hand, it’s already 2021.

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