Which is longer: the Barcelona World Race or the Vendée Globe?


Is the Barcelona World Race really any shorter than the Vendée Globe? That’s the question reader Nigel Price asks following my confident assertion that it is.

‘The Barcelona Race has to come a long way north to pass between the North & South Islands Of New Zealand, and the Vendee Globe passes well to the south of the South Island of New Zealand in a more direct route to Cape Horn. Surely that must count for a few days of elapsed time,’ he queries.

Hmmm, yes. Winner Jean-Pierre Dick says that in theory the solo course is “maybe 100 miles shorter”. But weather can dictate as much as 20 per cent of the total miles covered in both races. For JP Dick, it forced him south of three areas of high pressure in the Southern Ocean and, all told, he says he covered about 28,500 miles.

He added that the conditions throughout were quite unusual, and that from the Falkland Islands to Barcelona “was 90 per cent upwind.”

I don’t know that I can be so confident, then, that the course is shorter. But, to be honest, I’m not at all clear if it’s longer either. Any advances on 28,500?