A five part series on the 2008/09 Vendée Globe will start this weekend on Channel 4

A week after three British solo skippers made headlines for completing their solo lap of the world by sail, the first in a five-part series on the Vendée Globe will be shown on Channel 4 this Saturday 28 February at 07:30, and then weekly on Channel 4 on Sunday mornings at 07:30.

In solo ocean racing the Vendée Globe is the greatest challenge. In the most recent edition of the race, 19 of the 30 skippers who started the race failed to finish.

Seven British skippers entered the race, Mike Golding (ECOVER) was back for his third time, whilst Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS), who started the last race but suffered structural damage, was forced to retire as his boat was holed in the Southern Ocean. These were the only two British skippers to have crossed the Vendée start line and had come back for more.

For the other British skippers the Vendée Globe was a new game: Dee Caffari (AVIVA) looking to become the first women to sail alone non-stop around the world in both directions, and Sam Davies (pictured, ROXY), were the only women in the fleet. And three British men on their first Vendée: Brian Thomson (Bahrain Team Pindar) former watch leader for the late Steve Fossett; Jonny Malbon (Artemis Ocean Racing) heading for his first ever solo ocean race; and Steve White (Toe in the Water) who had re-mortgaged his house to get to the start and line up against the best in the world.

The Channel 4 series features behind the scenes stories from the British entries, on board footage filmed by the sailors themselves, 3D animations showing their progress around the globe and highlights from the other competitors in this extraordinary race that as ever, has lived up to its billing.