Les Sables d'Olonne is getting ready to welcome 30 skippers to the Vendée Globe village

Les Sables d’Olonne is getting ready to welcome 30 skippers whilst the Vendée Globe village is taking shape on the quayside nearby. Six monohulls are already moored on the pontoon.

Next month the yachtsmen will have to cover almost 25,000 miles during a voyage that will last around three months. With little media spotlight on the six teams already in port, the stream of competitors due to arrive in Port Olona in the next few days is likely to change all that.

Already at Les Sables d’Olonne are Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital), Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) – who has been based in Les Sables for some time – the American Rich Wilson (Great American III) the elder statesman of the event, Canadian Derek Hatfield (Algimouss-Spirit of Canada), and Austrian Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport-Kapsch), who is preparing one of the oldest monohulls in this sixth edition.

The current line-up was completed by the arrival last Friday of Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel): “We set out in fine weather from the Mediterranean, but when we stopped over in Spain to pick up a crewman, we missed the good weather and we had to do almost the whole stretch upwind.”

Currently on their way to the Vendée Globe harbour are four British entrants: Dee Caffari (Aviva); Mike Golding (Ecover); and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) – who set sail a few days ago but are taking advantage of the trip to go for one final sail before the start. As for Jonny Malbon (Artemis), he left Britain yesterday.

Most of the other skippers are expected on Thursday or Friday, as they make their way down from the coast of Brittany from La Trinité sur Mer, Lorient, Port la Forêt or Brest.