From the moment her feet touched dry land on 12th February 2021, Pip Hare could only think about returning. To do so, the British sailor chose to develop her project: a new boat (the ex-Bureau Vallée 2), a reinforced team and a very busy schedule

How is the discovery of your new IMOCA going?

"It's going well! We bought the boat in May 2021. There were two boats we wanted to consider and we were very sure that it was the boat we wanted. We were very lucky to be able to buy it quickly. We did a very small refit in France and I started to sail at the end of July. For the moment I haven't sailed as much as I would have liked, because managing a team is a lot of work, but this year will really be dedicated to learning this IMOCA.

The boat itself is easier to sail than the previous one. This was a surprise for me, because I was really apprehensive that it was going to be much more difficult and very different from the other one. From an ergonomic point of view, the design is much better, especially because it was built to suit humans! 

The main difference for me is the requirement that this boat has. Any sailor could get the boat to perform at 75% because it's easy to operate, but to find the extra 25% you really have to do a lot of work and to think harder - I'm going to have to surround myself with good coaches. There is still a long way to go to get this IMOCA to perform at its best. 

This boat is less physically demanding, but requires more knowledge and skills, and that's what I'm going to work on developing this year. This is the main evolution of my project. This year, thanks to the funding and the whole team that is accompanying me, I will be able to invest as much as possible in the boat's performance, something I was not able to do for my previous round-the-world race."

© Richard Langdon

The boat is currently in refit, what are you modifying? 

"For this year, we made the choice not to modify lots of things. We change sails, electronic package and we are trying to make the boat as good as he can possibly be, but in the current format. In addition, we are currently discussing with designers and builders and we will looking to upgrade the foils at the beginning of 2023. 

This year  I will focus on learning what we have and will make big changes next year. It's a pretty conservative choice, but it's the first time we have a foiling boat so we have a lot to learn and small steps is a better way to do it for me."

© Richard Langdon

What is your schedule for 2022? 

"This year is going to be busy. We should finish in the yard at the end of February and we hope to be back on the water by early March. The goal is to go to Portugal to train because in the UK, the conditions are too difficult in March. The days are short, it's cold and the forecast is not very stable. Today, our enemy is the weather, so we have to seize every possible opportunity. I will then come to France in May to participate in the Bermudes 1000 Race, then the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne in June and I will return home to Pool in July. In August, we will race the Round Britain and Ireland Race. For me, it is quite important because the fleet present is important and of good level. It's a great race for people who want to develop their skills and find competition at all levels. I really want to be part of this event this year, even if the race is not part of the official IMOCA Globe Series program. Depending on the boat, we will see if we can come back to France in September to participate in the Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération. Then, to finish this beautiful year, we will line up for the start of the Route du Rhum! It is all going so fast!”

Medallia quickly made the choice to set off again on a second Vendée Globe, was this planned? 

"The night I crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe, I had a video call with Leslie J. Stretch, the CEO of Medallia. He said, "So, what do you want to do next?" to which I immediately replied, "I want to do another Vendée Globe." He said he would get back to me with an answer in the next two weeks, but just five days later he was already calling me back to tell me that Medallia would be following me for the next four years. We signed a new contract and bought the boat straight away. But we are still looking for other sponsors to join the family! 

Finding sponsors is the most difficult part of our job. The Southern ocean is maybe more dependable than negotiations with sponsors! (Laughs) So, it is moving along and we are in a very different place than I was before because I have got a Vendée behind me, the IMOCA Class and the race are in a place that it has never been before, the four-year calendar is fantastic the level is always going up and up which is a very good things for sponsors."

© Yvan Zedda/Alea

Why did you choose to base your project in Pool? 

"I chose to base my project in Pool, where I live, in order to make what I do visible to everyone. I want the people of my city to feel involved in this Vendée Globe campaign. I am sponsored by the port and the boat is moored in a public place so that everyone can go and see it. 

Today, we are changing the way people perceive sailing and we want to continue in this way. This means a lot to me. I had a hard time getting into the sport, and if by raising awareness of sailing I can make it easier for people to follow me, that's something I really want to achieve. Let's keep going!"

What is your new goal? 

"I am not a person full of confidence, I need to prove to myself that I can do things and then I want to know how well I can do it. So, finish the Vendée Globe was a lifetime goal, so for the first time, I accepted to do it in any conditions because the goal was to finish the race. Now I know I can finish the race, but I want to know if I can finish it well. My challenge now is to challenge myself and put myself in the best possible condition to perform. So, for me, it is about pushing myself as hard as I possibly can, and giving myself the best opportunity to perform. 

I am well aware that I am going to be 50 years old at the start of the race and that I will be competing with men who are not even 30 years old yet. I want to see what happens. The Vendée Globe is an exciting race because it's not just your physical ability that counts!"