Next Sunday, at 13:02 CET, the entire sailing world will follow live the Vendee Globe start from Les Sables d’Olonne, on the atlantic coast of France. This is by far the ultimate challenge in solo ocean sailing: the 24.020 nautical miles no stop and no assistance solo round the world race. Adventure and hi tech… as the new state-of-the-art foiling Imoca 60 generation will probably get the eighth edition of the Vendee Globe to another level, a revolutionary step in a new era of ocean racing. Alex Thomson, Jean Pierre Dick, Pieter Heerema, Sebastien Josse, Morgan Lagraviere, Armel Le Cleac’h will sail around the world new foiling Imoca 60. Jeremie Beyou will sail a 2012 Imoca with a foiling update.
29 skippers will be setting sail from Les Sables d’Olonne for the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe. With more than 680,000 people visiting the VendéeGlobe Village since it opened, and with exceptional media arrangements around the world for the start, the Vendée Globe is truly an exceptional global event.
With 300,000 visitors to the site in the first week after it opened, visitor numbers for the Official Village for the 8th Vendée Globe were already very impressive. Then the sun came out and since then, numbers grew to reach 380,000 in the second week. The President of the Vendée Globe, Yves Auvinet had a beaming smile on his face, when he announced these figures, which say a lot about the event. “We had prepared ourselves for crowds at the OfficialVillage, but I must admit that the figures for the first two weeks surprised us, particularly with crowds strolling up and down the pontoons and in the aisles in the Village. The Indian Summer in Vendée since the opening, the high standard of the line-up for this eighth edition and the quality of the events and exhibitions in the Village have clearly attracted a lot of visitors. Once again, the magic of the Vendée Globe is working, as it has done with each edition”.
The 2016 Vendée Globe in numbers:
1: Previous winner lining up: Vincent Riou (in 2004-2005)
2: Number of birthdays to be celebrated at sea before mid-February (Conrad Colman 2nd December, Didac Costa 22nd December)
4: Official sponsors:
– Vendée the French department: Vendée Council
– The town of Les Sables d’Olonne
– The Pays de la Loire Region
5: Sailors lining up for the fourth time: Bertrand de Broc, Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam, Vincent Riou and Alex Thomson
7: Boats fitted with foils, including 1 older generation boat: Maitre Coq
8: Editions. Launched in 1989, this is the 8th edition of the Vendée Globe, which takes place every four years.
10: Nationalities represented with for the first time a Japanese skipper, a Dutchman, a New Zealander and an Irishman.
14: the number of rookies lining up for their first Vendée Globe: Didac Costa, Thomas Ruyant, Alan Roura, Morgan Lagravière, Sébastien Destremau, Conrad Colman, Kojiro Shiraishi, Pieter Heerema, Romain Attanasio, Eric Bellion, Fabrice Amedeo, Enda O’Coineen, Paul Meilhat, Stéphane Le Diraison.
18.28: The length in metres of the 60-foot IMOCA
23: The age of the youngest entrant, the Swiss sailor Alan Roura
43: Difference in age in years between Alan Roura (23) and Rich Wilson (66), the youngest and eldest competitor in the Vendée Globe.
50: The percentage increase in the number of boats in comparison to 2012
78: days, 2 hours and 16 minutes: At the finish of the last race in 2013, François Gabart shattered the Vendée Globe record. The Frenchman improved on the previous reference time set by Michel Desjoyeaux in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe by six days.
80: Days. Only two sailors have completed the Vendée Globe in less than 80 days, the legendary time it took Philéas Fogg: François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h in 2013.
1998: the year the oldest IMOCAs in the 2016 fleet was built (Romain Attanasio’s Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys) and TechnoFirst-faceOcean (Sébastien Destremau).
24,020: miles, or 40,075 kilometres – the theoretical distance. Remembering that most of the competitors will sail more, sometimes even more than 52,000km to avoid icebergs and areas of high pressure (where there are light winds).
The seven foiling Imoca 60