With two years to go until the race start, 12 sailors have already signed up

Bruno Retailleau, President of the Vendée Council officially launched the seventh Vendée Globe at the Paris Boat Show. The Vendée Globe 2012/2013 will set sail from les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 11 November 2012 at 14:00 GMT and already looks like being a vintage edition. With two years to go to the start, twelve sailors have already announced their intention of taking part and between 28 and 35 boats are forecast to be there at the start.

Bruno Retailleau, President of the Vendée Council, Louis Guédon, MP and Mayor of les Sables d’Olonne, Luc Talbourdet, President of the IMOCA class and Patricia Brochard, CEO of Sodebo officially launched the seventh Vendée Globe on Wednesday 8 November at the Nautic, the Paris Boat Show.

Start on 11 November 2012 at 14:00 GMT
In order to encourage the public, the date chosen for the start coincides with half-term holidays in France and is in fact a bank holiday. 1.7 million people attended the start and the finish at the last event (generating revenue estimated to be worth more than €39 million).

28 sailors are expected to line up, including one previous winner Vincent Riou (PRB). As for the organisers, they were pleased to learn about the recent project announced by François Gabart (Macif), who will be building his own 60-foot IMOCA boat with the Vendée Globe in mind. The technical details for this project will be taken care of by a certain Michel Desjoyeaux, twice winner of the Vendée Globe.

12 projects are already complete – one more than at the same time in the previous edition – and Vendee has already confirmed the names of nine of them: Arnaud Boissières (FRA, Akena Verandas), Kito de Pavant (FRA, Groupe Bel), Alex Thomson (GB, Hugo Boss), Vincent Riou (FRA, PRB), Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA, Virbac-Paprec), Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud), Bernard Stamm (SUI, Cheminées Poujoulat), François Gabart (FRA, Macif) and Safran (FRA).   

Some projects are due to be finalised in the first half of 2011. These include Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Mike Golding (GB), and Christopher Pratt (FRA). According to Bruno Retailleau 10 other skippers have officially announced that they would like to take part in the race and are in contact with a sponsor. They are Jérémie Beyou (FRA), Yannick Bestaven (FRA), Samantha Davies (GB), Raphaël Dinelli (FRA), Rich Wilson (USA), Yann Elies (FRA), Boris Herrmann (ALL), Dee Caffari (GB), Marc Emig (FRA), a Polish and a Spanish sailor.

So, all in all, there are around 30 sailors seriously committed to signing up for the start on 11 November 2012. As for the boats, at least six new IMOCA monohulls are due to start the race, including the three VPLP-Verdier designed boats sailed by Vincent Riou, Jean-Pierre Dick and François Gabart as well as Bernard Stamm’s Juan K-designed boat. Two other boats are in the process of being built.

New safety arrangements
We can also see that some new safety measures have been put in place, linked to the modifications to IMOCA class rules aimed at reducing damage to masts and keels: power limited by the new righting moment, an air draught limited to 29 metres, annual checks on all the masts and keels, which have to conform to stricter construction rules. In addition, the emergency hatch will have to be located above the waterline and each skipper will have to wear an individual beacon at all times.

For 2012, the prize money will be increased by €100,000 in comparison to the last race, which takes it to a total of €600,000 (including €160,000 for the winner, €100,000 for the runner-up and €75,000 for third place).

Two other developments were announced: (i) the race will be even more of an international affair and (ii) there will be a major change to the race village. A new Race Village will be built in Port Olona, and for the first time a Vendée Globe Village will also be set up in Paris.

With the publication of the Notice of Race, registrations can officially begin and will be open until 1 July 2012. The countdown has begun.

For more, visit www.vendeeglobe.org

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