A record 30 boats will line up for the start of the Vendée Globe in November
Philippe de Villiers, President of the Vendée Council and organiser of the Vendée Globe presented the line-up for the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe at a conference in La Roche sur Yon in Western France on 2 July. The thirty places planned in the notice of race have now been filled and all 30 will be lining up on the 9 November for the start in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
An exceptional line-up, an unprecedented competitive level, it is now certain that the 2008 Vendée Globe will be sold out. The competition has never been so popular, remembering that 13 sailors took part in 1989, 14 in 1992, 16 in 1996, 24 in 2000 and 20 in 2004.
There will be 28 men and 2 women – Dee Caffari and Samantha Davies – taking part, from seven nationalities. Although the French contingent dominates with 17 skippers, there will be 6 British entrants and 2 from Switzerland. Canada, the United States, Spain and Austria are each represented by one skipper. Twenty new boats, or in other words two thirds of the fleet, have been specially built for this race, while the other ten from the 2004 generation have been completely refitted.
Never has a fleet of solo yachtsmen brought together so much experience in one race. Altogether, the skippers have completed 32 circumnavigations and 21 Vendée Globe races, which represents a total of 1.5 million miles raced around the world’s oceans. Added to that is the participation of two previous winners, Michel Desjoyeaux (2000-2001) and Vincent Riou (2004-2005), making for a record-breaking champion line-up at the start in Les Sables d’Olonne.
For the moment, 26 of the competitors have completed their registration and only four have yet to fulfil all the requirements: Jonny Malbon is still waiting for his new mast and is due to qualify in August; Steve White is busy working on the administrative details to complete the forms; Vincent Riou, victim of a collision in June during the Artemis Transat, has to replace the keel on his PRB, currently in Halifax in Canada. He will be officially registered in August. Finally, Norbert Sedlacek has to check that his boat, having participated in 2004, satisfies the 2008 safety requirements.
Never in the history of the Vendée Globe have the competitors been ready so early. This level of preparation is vital, considering the almighty battle that will be taking place between the contenders in this 2008 edition. Behind the scenes, everyone has one question on their mind: where should they place the cursor on the scale between an all-out attack and the desire to preserve the equipment in order to complete the adventure. Indeed, the rules have not changed: the Vendée Globe remains the non-stop single-handed round the world voyage without assistance, making it quite simply the toughest of sailing races.
growing popular support, new and improved promotional features for the race, but with the same tested and approved basic ingredients, the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe is destined to be the top event on the sailing calendar at the end of the year.
List of entrants:
JOURDAIN Roland, France, VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT
BEYOU Jérémie, France, DELTA DORE
DICK Jean-Pierre, France, PAPREC-VIRBAC
Le CAM Jean, France, VM MATERIAUX
DAVIES Samantha, Great Britain, ROXY
ELIES Yann, France, GENERALI
DE PAVANT Kito, France, GROUPE BEL
BOISSIERES Arnaud, France, AKENA
GUILLEMOT Marc, France, SAFRAN
DESJOYEAUX Michel, France, FONCIA
PEYRON Loïc, France, GITANA EIGHTY
WILSON Rich, USA, TO BE ANNOUNCED
STAMM Bernard, Switzerland, CHEMINEES POUJOULAT
WAVRE Dominique, Switzerland, TEMENOS
HATFIELD Derek, Canada, SPIRIT OF CANADA
GOLDING Mike, Great Britain, ECOVER
DEJEANTY Jean Baptiste, France, MAISONNEUVE
BESTAVEN Yannick, France, CERVIN EnR
DINELLI Raphaël, France, FONDATION OCEAN VITAL
BASURKO Unai, Spain, PAKEA BIZKAIA
LE CLEAC’H Armel, France, BRIT AIR
THOMSON Alex, Great Britain, HUGO BOSS
JOSSE Sébastien, France, BT
CAFFARI Dee, Great Britain, AVIVA
THIERCELIN Marc, France, DCNS
THOMPSON Brian, Great Britain, PINDAR
MALBON Jonny, Great Britain, ARTEMIS
RIOU Vincent, France, PRB
SEDLACEK Norbert, Austria, NAUTICSPORT KAPSCH
WHITE Steve, Great Britain, TO BE ANNOUNCED