In just under two week's time 20 skippers will embark upon one of the greatest challenges on earth - the fifth edition of the Vendée Globe
In just under two week’s time 20 skippers will embark upon one of the greatest challenges on earth – the fifth edition of the Vendée Globe. This non-stop, singlehanded round the world race which starts from the harbour in Sables d’Olonne, on the north-west coast of France on Sunday November 7, takes the fleet in an east-about direction leaving the three great capes (marking the southern tips of the African continent, Australia and America) to port.
Philipe Jeantot’s original idea back in 1989, to run a race to ‘challenge both man and machine to the limits and beyond’ has not been far off the mark. In the first two events (in 1989 and 1992) only seven of the 13 and 14-boat fleets finished and during the last 15 years there have been two losses of life including Nigel Burgess lost at sea in the 1992 edition and Gerry Roufs in 1996.
The 1996 event was also marked by Pete Goss’ amazing rescue of Frenchman Raphael Dinelli, and the Australian Navy’s rescue of Tony Bullimore from his upturned hull in the Indian Ocean.
But it’s not been all doom and gloom. In the 2000/01 edition British sailor Ellen MacArthur rose to stardom when she finished second overall to Michel Desojeaux and became the fastest women to circumnavigate the globe with a time of 94 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes and 40 seconds.
The line-up of competitors for this year’s event is possibly the hottest yet with the likes of Mike Golding (new Owen Clarke design), Jean Le Cam (new Lombard-design), Roland Jourdain (new Lombard design), Jean Pierre Dick (new Farr design), Vincent Riou (sailing Michel Desjoyeaux’s 2000/01-winning boat), Nick Moloney (pictured left), Sabastien Josse and Conrad Humphreys all capable of pulling off the big one.
To follow the event including news and photos from the start log-on to the yachtingworld.com microsite which goes live on Monday 1 November.