The Vendee Globe
The Vendee Globe solo around the world race is seen as the world’s toughest sporting challenge. The concept of the Vendee Globe is simple and easy to understand. Sail around the world, alone, without stopping and without assistance.
The event was created in the spirit of the Golden Globe; which was held in 1968, the first non-stop solo around the world race via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn). Out of the nine pioneers, who set sail in 1968, only one made it back to Falmouth on 6th April 1969 after 313 days at sea. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston thus became the first person to sail alone around the world without stopping.
In 1989, the race that is now called the Vendée Globe, was run. Known as the Everest of the seas, it has seen 138 sailors line up at the start, while only 71 have managed to cross the finishing line. This figure alone signifies the huge difficulty of this global event, in which sailors face icy cold conditions, mountainous waves, leaden skies and howling gales in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.
The race takes place every four years, and records tumbled in the 7th edition in 2012-2013. This edition saw the youngest winner of the race, Francois Gabart (29) who set the fastest time of 78 days. The victory came after the most tightly fought duel in the race’s history.
The race set media records too, becoming the offshore sailing race most followed worldwide on social media. It was the French sporting event achieving the biggest impact that year (more than Roland Garros and the Tour de France). Two million visitors attended the start and finish of the race. And the three months of racing was followed by a TV and press audience of 2.3 billion. The Vendée Globe brings together people passionate about extraordinary human adventures and sporting endeavour.
The eighth Vendée Globe will set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 6th November 2016, and it will push the limits even further. A new generation of Open 60 yachts now feature “foiling” daggerboards, anticipated to achieve speed increases of up to 15% compared to earlier generations.