Is this the world's toughest yacht race?


Many races claim to be the toughest in the world. The BT Global Challenge, Chay Blyth’s ‘wrong way’ race did so with some justification, as does the fully-crewed Volvo Ocean Race sailing some of the world’s fastest monohulls and pushing them to their limits – and beyond.

But in my mind this picture says it all. It is the IMOCA or Open 60 Groupe Bel sailed by Kito de Pavant on trials in readiness for the Vendee Globe starting in November. I can just about imagine doing this for a day before returning to terra firma and a hot shower. But de Pavant and his 29 fellow skippers will be doing it, alone and sometimes in the freezing wastes of the Southern Ocean for three months or more. Now tell me which is the toughest yacht race in the world.

Picture by Gilles Martin-Raget