Another consequence of sailing by yourself is that you have to do every job on the boat. On a Volvo team, the skipper and navigator can focus on course selection and tactics, there are specialist helmsmen and sail trimmers, and other guys who mostly grind, handle the sails, and move heavy things around. The Vendee skipper's to-do list includes all of this and more. It doesn't matter how fast you are going if you go in the wrong direction, so they spend a lot of time downstairs analyzing the weather. You also have to do all the maintenance and repairs by yourself, whereas the Volvo team has guys that can do this without disrupting the sailing of the boat. You do all the stacking by yourself, so the packages have to be a bit smaller, and more sails stay belowdecks. And you have to sleep, eat, communicate, and do all the other chores that go with being on a super high-tech racing boat. So you can see why there is so little time for hand steering (or sleeping). The Vendee is about managing your time so you are doing the right thing at all times to help your long-term performance. You tend to get a lot less sleep! In contrast, the Volvo guys work hard for their four-hour watch, trimming constantly, changing sails a lot more, moving the stack, and always hand steering. But then you get four hours off (unless interrupted by a maneuver) so you actually get a lot more sleep, even though you are working hard during your watch.
The other important difference between the two races is the format: the Vendee is non-stop and the Volvo has stops, lots of them. The non-stop format forces Vendee teams to prepare and sail their boats much more conservatively than their Volvo brethren. If you are asleep and you keep too much sail up during the 40-knot squall and you break your mast, your campaign is finished. Even small breakages can have a very negative effect because you have to fix everything by yourself, which detracts from your sailing. On December 15, J.P. Dick was leading the Vendee when damage to his rudders forced him to slow and take an unfavorable course in order to effect a repair. If you have a breakage in the Volvo, on the other hand, you can still win the race. You may suffer in that leg, or even have to drop out, but that is only one leg out of 10, and you can make up the points later. You also have the whole crew to help with repairs and maintenance, so the boat can often be sailed well during the repair.