A very experienced crewed sailor, who does not have much experience sailing solo, Pieter Heerema has taken up a huge personal challenge by deciding to compete in the next Vendée Globe. In addition to that, he will be doing it on a brand new IMOCA 60’ fitted out with all the latest technology, which for a single-handed sailor makes her complicated to sail. The Dutch sailor has built up his project step by step with the help of experts in order to get to know his boat. Last spring, he completed two solo transatlantic races on her, the Calero Solo Transat (between Lanzarote and Newport) and then the New York/Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne).
Getting into Vendée Globe configuration
After these two races, No Way Back entered the yard in Lorient. “Everything was taken apart and examined on the boat. We didn’t carry out any major changes, but a lot of tiny improvements to make life easier for Pieter during the Vendée Globe. Reinforcements have been added around the foils to make her more reliable,” explained Antoine Mermod, the project’s team manager. On Friday 12th August, Pieter Heerema left Lorient to head for Iceland, in order to carry out another long trip to check out all the various improvements and onboard systems (such as the heater and desalinator).
“Pieter is still lacking experience when sailing solo. He needed to gain experience before the round the world race,” added Antoine Mermod. “By sailing on this long offshore trip, Pieter will be going through Vendée Globe type conditions. We think that is preferable to simple day trips. Iceland is an interesting destination as far as the weather is concerned. It is cold and the conditions are fairly complicated. Incidentally, no IMOCA 60’ has ever gone as far north, as far as I know.” Pieter Heerema is due back in his home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany early next week. “He has learnt a lot since the project was launched. He is continuing to progress and is now much more ready,” concluded Antoine Mermod.