The record of finishers suggests this Vendée Globe is about average, not worse


There seems to be a widespread perception that the Vendée Globe fleet has been decimated by damage, that this is unusual and therefore something radical should to be done about it. But once you start putting the damage and problems into a spreadsheet and start analysing them you see that it’s not quite as straightforward as that.

For one thing, the causes of the problems are very varied. But I don’t want to digress here, because this is the subject of a major and thorough investigation by Yachting World in our April issue, which of course you won’t want to miss.

But as to the matter of retirements, that’s simpler to analyse and the record over 20 years of technology and six round the world races is interesting. In only three out of six races have more than half the entrants ever completed the course, and those were in years that Vendée Globe veterans here tell me were kinder than average.

This graph shows the record quite clearly.

So there is nothing exceptional about this edition of the Vendée Globe.

Could that average be increased? Could the class rules be changed to boost the number of finishers? Well, that one is a really interesting question and the opinions of the sailors shed a fascinating light on the realities (and possibilities) of this race.

But I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that if you are interested in solo round the world races our April issue is worth watching out for?