Thousands of well wishers are pouring in the village of Les Sables d'Olonne to bid their final farewells to the 20 Vendee Globe skippers

Yesterday, with just one week before the start of the Vendée Globe, visitors were pouring into the official Vendée Globe village. A record number of 16,000 visitors strolled along the monohull pontoon in Les Sables d’Olonne this weekend which brings the grand total of visitors to 175,000. With more and more activities happening at the village throughout the week, further visitors are expected.

Laurent Bourgnon – two time winner of Route du Rhum Race and the single-handed Atlantic crossing record-holder for multihulls – will perform the naming ceremony of Austrian skipper Norbert Sedlacek’s monohull Brother at 1400 on Wednesday 3 November. Laurent will share this honour with Louis Cordier (aged 8) and Arnaud Collot (aged 28), who are both suffering from cancer and members of the charity – A chacun son Everest (To each his Everest) – set up and run by Christine Janin.

The next naming ceremony – Raphaël Dinelli’s boat Akena Vérandas – will be performed by cyclist, Thomas Voekler from the Brioches La Boulangère team at 1500 on Wednesday. Thomas wore the yellow jersey in the 2004 edition of the cycling Tour de France and is also the French champion for 2004.

Like many of the competitors Australia skipper Nick Moloney spent yesterday with family and friends but with just six days to go before the start is now preparing his body for the pattern for the following three months on board Skandia. This week he’ll spend one or two nights onboard with the alarm set to wake him up at regular intervals. Fellow competitor Roland Jourdain has decided to avoid seeing his wife and two children from now to the start of the race.

Jourdain, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec) and Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) will at Les Sables d’Olonne on Tuesday 2 November which means that all the skippers will then be present.