The Vendée Globe is a round-the-world single-handed yacht race, sailed non-stop and without assistance. The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and since 1992 has taken place every four years. The 2016–2017 edition is planned to start on Sunday, November 6, 2016.
As the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world race (in contrast to the VELUX 5 Oceans Race, which is sailed in stages), the race is a serious test of individual endurance, and is regarded by many as the ultimate in ocean racing.
The race was founded in 1989 by French yachtsman Philippe Jeantot. Jeantot had competed in the BOC Challenge (now the VELUX 5 Oceans Race) in 1982–1983 and 1986–1987, winning both times. Dissatisfied with the race's format, he decided to set up a new round-the-world non-stop race, which he felt would be the ultimate challenge for single-handed sailors.
The first edition of the race was run in 1989–1990, and was won by Titouan Lamazou; Jeantot himself took part, and placed fourth. The next edition of the race was in 1992–1993; and it has since then been run every four years.
The race is open to monohull yachts conforming to the Open 60 class criteria. Prior to 2004, the race was also open to Open 50 boats. The Open classes are unrestricted in certain aspects, but a box rule governs parameters such as overall length, draught, appendages and stability, as well as numerous other safety features.
The race starts and finishes in Les Sables-d'Olonne, in the Vendée département of France; both Les Sables d’Olonne and the Vendée Conseil Général are official race sponsors. The course is essentially a circumnavigation along the clipper route: from Les Sables d’Olonne, down the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope; then clockwise around Antarctica, keeping Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn to port; then back to Les Sables d’Olonne. The race generally runs from November to February; and is timed to place the competitors in the Southern Ocean during the austral summer.
Additional waypoints may be set in the sailing instructions for a particular race, in order to ensure safety relative to ice conditions, etc. For example, in 2004, the racers had to pass north of the following flexible waypoints:
- a gate south of South Africa, situated at 44° South, between 005° East and 014° East
- Heard Island
- a gate to the South west of Australia, situated at 47° South, between 103° East and 113° East
- a gate to the south east of Australia, situated at 52° South, between 136° East and 147° East
- a gate in the Pacific Ocean, situated at 55° South, between 160° West and 149° West
- a gate in the Pacific Ocean, situated at 55° South, between 126° West and 115° West
The competitors may stop at anchor, but may not draw alongside a quay or another vessel; they may receive no outside assistance, including customised weather or routing information. The only exception is that a competitor who has an early problem may return to the start for repairs and then restart the race, as long the restart is within 10 days of the official start.
The race presents significant challenges; most notably the severe wind and wave conditions in the Southern Ocean, the long unassisted duration of the race, and the fact that the course takes competitors far from the reach of any normal emergency response. A significant proportion of the entrants usually retire, and in the 1996–1997 race Canadian Gerry Roufs was lost at sea.
To mitigate the risks, competitors are required to undergo medical and survival courses. They must also be able to demonstrate prior racing experience; either a completed single-handed trans-oceanic race or the completion of a previous Vendée Globe. The qualifying race must have been completed on the same boat as the one the sailor will race in the Vendée Globe; or the competitor must complete an additional trans-oceanic observation passage, of not less than 2,500 miles (4,000 km), at an average speed of at least 7 knots (13 km/h), with his new boat. Since trans-ocean races typically have significant qualifying criteria of their own, any entrant to the Vendée Globe will have amassed substantial sailing experience.
The inaugural edition of the race was led from early on by the eventual winner, Titouan Lamazou, on Ecureuil d'Aquitaine II. Philippe Jeantot, the race's founder, had problems with breakdowns, and then unfavourable winds, which held him back from the race lead. Philippe Poupon's ketch Fleury Michon X capsized in the Southern Ocean; and Poupon was rescued by Loïck Peyron, who finally finished second, in what was generally a successful first run of the race.
|Titouan Lamazou||Ecureuil d'Aquitaine II||109d 08h 48' 50"|
|Loïck Peyron||Lada Poch||110d 01h 18' 06"|
|Jean-Luc Van Den Heede||36.15 MET||112d 01h 14' 00"|
|Philippe Jeantot||Crédit Agricole IV||113d 23h 47' 47"|
|Pierre Follenfant||TBS-Charente Maritime||114d 21h 09' 06"|
|Alain Gautier||Generali Concorde||132d 13h 01' 48"|
|Jean-François Coste||Cacharel||163d 01h 19' 20"|
|Did not finish|
|Patrice Carpentier||Le Nouvel Observateur||damaged auto-pilot (Falklands)|
|Mike Plant||Duracell||received help (New Zealand)|
|Bertie Reed||Grinaker||damaged rudder|
|Philippe Poupon||Fleury Michon X||capsized|
The second edition of the race attracted a great deal of media coverage. American Mike Plant, one of the entrants in the first Vendée race, failed to make the start. He was lost at sea on the way to the race, and his boat was found capsized near the Azores.
The race set off into extremely bad weather in the Bay of Biscay, and several racers returned to the start to make repairs before setting off again (the only stopover allowed by the rules). Four days after the start, British sailor Nigel Burgess was found drowned off Cape Finisterre, having presumably fallen overboard. Alain Gautier and Bertrand de Broc led the race down the Atlantic; however, keel problems forced de Broc to abandon in New Zealand. Gautier continued with Philippe Poupon close behind, but a dismasting close to the finish held Poupon back and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede took the second place.
|Alain Gautier||Bagages Superior||110d 02h 22' 35"|
|Jean-Luc Van Den Heede||Groupe Sofap-Helvim||116d 15h 01' 11"|
|Philippe Poupon||Fleury-Michon X||117d 03h 34' 24"|
|Yves Parlier||Cacolac d'Aquitaine||125d 02h 42' 24"|
|Nándor Fa||K&H Banque Matav||128d 16h 05' 04"|
|José Luis de Ugarte||Euskadi Europ 93 BBK||134d 05h 04' 00"|
|Jean-Yves Hasselin||PRB / Solo Nantes||153d 05h 14' 00"|
|Did not finish|
|Bernard Gallay||Vuarnet Watches||rigging problems|
|Vittorio Malingri||Everlast / Neil Pryde Sails||lost rudder|
|Bertrand de Broc||Groupe LG||keel problems|
|Alan Wynne-Thomas||Cardiff Discovery||medical reasons|
|Loïck Peyron||Fujicolor III||sail failure|
|Thierry Arnaud||Maître Coq / Le Monde||unprepared|
|Nigel Burgess||Nigel Burgess Yachts||lost at sea|
|Mike Plant||Coyote||lost at sea prior to departure|
Another heavy-weather start in the Bay of Biscay knocked Nandor Fa and Didier Munduteguy out of the race early; and several others once again returned to the start for repairs before continuing. The rest of the fleet raced to the Southern Ocean, where a second attrition began. Yves Parlier as well as Isabelle Autissier broke their rudders, leaving Christophe Auguin to lead the way into the south.
Heavy weather took a more serious toll on the sailors in the far Southern Ocean. Raphaël Dinelli's boat capsized and he was rescued by Pete Goss; then, within a few hours of each other, two other boats capsized, and their occupants were rescued by Australian rescue teams. Finally, contact was lost with Canadian sailor Gerry Roufs. While his body was never found, his boat reappeared five months later off the Chilean Coast.
Pete Goss was later awarded the Légion d'honneur for his rescue of Dinelli. The capsize of several boats in this race prompted tightening up of the safety rules for entrants, particularly regarding boat safety and stability.
|Christophe Auguin||Geodis||105d 20h 31'|
|Marc Thiercelin||Crédit Immobilier||113d 08h 26'|
|Hervé Laurent||Groupe LG-Traitmat||114d 16h 43'|
|Éric Dumont||Café Legal-Le Goût||116d 16h 43'|
|Pete Goss||Aqua Quorum||126d 21h 25'|
|Catherine Chabaud||Whirlpool-Europe 2||140d 04h 38'|
|Did not finish|
|Isabelle Autissier||PRB||broken rudder|
|Yves Parlier||Aquitaine Innovations||broken rudder|
|Bertrand de Broc||Pommes Rhône Alpes||capsized|
|Tony Bullimore||Exide Challenger||capsized|
|Thierry Dubois||Amnesty International||capsized|
|Didier Munduteguy||Club 60è Sud||dismasted|
|Patrick de Radiguès||Afibel||beached|
|Gerry Roufs||Groupe LG2||lost at sea|
This race was the first major test of the new safety rules, introduced following the tragedy in the previous race. Overall, it was a success; although some boats were again forced to retire from the race, none were lost. This race also featured the youngest entrant ever; Ellen MacArthur, who at 24 years old had managed to put together a serious campaign with her custom-built boat Kingfisher.
Yves Parlier was the first to establish a lead; however, he was soon under attack by Michel Desjoyeaux, who moved into the lead. Pushing hard to catch up, Parlier dismasted and lost contact with race organisers. MacArthur diverted to give him assistance, but was then told to resume racing when contact with Parlier was restored, and managed to maintain fourth place.
Desjoyeaux extended his lead to 600 miles (970 km) by Cape Horn; however, MacArthur was closing steadily, having moved up to second place. By the mid-Atlantic she had caught up, and while negotiating the calms and variable winds of the Doldrums, the two traded the lead position several times.
MacArthur's chances of a win were ruined when she struck a semi-submerged container and was forced to make repairs. Desjoyeaux won the race; but MacArthur pulled in just over a day later, to a rapturous reception, as the fastest single-handed woman around the planet. Parlier, meanwhile, had anchored off New Zealand, and managed to fabricate by himself a new carbon-fibre mast from the remains of his broken mast. He continued racing, and gained an official place.
|Michel Desjoyeaux||PRB||93d 3h 57'|
|Ellen MacArthur||Kingfisher||94d 4h 25'|
|Roland Jourdain||Sill Matines La potagère||96d 1h 2'|
|Marc Thiercelin||Active Wear||102d 20h 37'|
|Dominic Wavre||Union bancaire Privée||105d 2h 45'|
|Thomas Coville||Sodébo||105d 7h 24'|
|Mike Golding||Team Group 4||110d 16h 22'|
|Bernard Gallay||Voilà.fr||111d 16h 7'|
|Josh Hall||Gartmore||111d 19h 48'|
|Joé Seeten||Chocolats du Monde||115d 16h 46'|
|Patrice Carpentier||VM Matériaux||116d 0h 32'|
|Simone Bianchetti||Aquarelle.com||121d 1h 28'|
|Yves Parlier||Aquitaine Innovations||126d 23h 36|
|Didier Munduteguy||DDP / 60e Sud||135d 15h 17'|
|Pasquale de Gregorio||Wind Telecommunicazioni||158d 2h 37'|
|Did not finish|
|Thierry Dubois||Solidaires||electronic problems|
|Raphaël Dinelli||Sogal Extenso||damaged rudder|
|Fedor Konioukhov||Modern Univ./Humanities||retired|
|Javier Sanso||Old Spice||retired|
|Éric Dumont||Euroka Services||damaged rudder|
|Richard Tolkien||This Time – Argos – Help For Autistic Children||rig damage|
|Bernard Stamm||Armor-Lux/foies Gras||steering problem|
|Patrick de Radiguès||Libre Belgique||beached|
300,000 people watched the start of the 2004 race, which for once took place in mild weather. A fast start was followed by a few minor equipment problems; still, the first racers crossed the equator after just 10 days, three days faster than the previous race, and all of the starters were still sailing.
Attrition began on entry into the roaring forties: Alex Thomson diverted to Cape Town to make unassisted repairs and continue racing, and a number of other problems hit the fleet.Hervé Laurent retired with serious rudder problems, Thomson abandoned, and Conrad Humphreys anchored to make unassisted rudder repairs. Gear problems and abandonments continued; then the fleet ran into an area of ice, with Sébastien Josse hitting a berg head-on.
|Vincent Riou||PRB||87d 10h 47' 55"|
|Jean Le Cam||Bonduelle||87d 17h 20' 8"|
|Mike Golding||Ecover||88d 15h 15 '13"|
|Dominique Wavre||Temenos||92d 17h 13' 20"|
|Sébastien Josse||VMI||93 d0h 2' 10"|
|Jean-Pierre Dick||Virbac-Paprec||98 d3h 49' 38"|
|Conrad Humphreys||Hellomoto||104d 14h 32' 24"|
|Joé Seeten||Arcelor Dunkerque||104d 23h 2' 45"|
|Bruce Schwab||Ocean Planet||109d 19h 58' 57"|
|Benoît Parnaudeau||Max Havelaar / Best Western||116d 1h 6' 54"|
|Anne Liardet||ROXY||119d 5h 28' 40"|
|Raphaël Dinelli||AKENA Vérandas||125d 4h 7' 14"|
|Karen Leibovici||Benefic||126d 8h 2' 20"|
|Did not finish|
|Marc Thiercelin||Pro-Form||technical problems|
|Roland Jourdain||Sill Véolia||keel problems|
|Alex Thomson||Hugo Boss||hole in the deck|
|Patrice Carpentier||VM Matériaux||broken boom|
|Nick Moloney||Skandia||lost the keel|
|Hervé Laurent||UUDS||rudder problem|
|Norbert Sedlacek||Brother||keel problems|
The 2008 edition of the Vendée Globe began on November 9, 2008 and was won by Michel Desjoyaux, setting a new Vendée Globe record at 84d 3h 9'8".
|Michel Desjoyeaux||Foncia||84d 3h 9' 8"|
|Armel Le Cléac’h||Brit Air||89d 9h 39' 35"|
|Marc Guillemot||Safran||95d 3h 19' 36"|
|Samantha Davies||Roxy||95d 4h 39' 1"|
|Brian Thompson||Bahrain Team Pindar||98d 20h 29' 55"|
|Dee Caffari||Aviva||99d 1h 10' 57"|
|Arnaud Boissières||Akena Verandas||105d 2h 33' 50"|
|Steve White||Toe In The Water||109d 0h 36' 55"|
|Rich Wilson||Great American III||121d 0h 41' 19"|
|Raphaël Dinelli||Fondation Ocean Vital||125d 2h 32' 24"|
|Norbert Sedlacek||Nauticsport-Kapsch||126d 5h 31' 56"|
|Did not finish|
|Vincent Riou||PRB||day 59: dismasted. Redress Given: 3rd place|
|Roland Jourdain||Veolia Environnement||day 85: lost keel|
|Jean Le Cam||VM Matériaux||day 58: lost keel bulb, capsized|
|Jonny Malbon||Artemis||day 56: delaminated mainsail|
|Jean-Pierre Dick||Paprec-Virbac 2||day 53: lost port rudder|
|Derek Hatfield||Algimouss Spirit of Canada||day 50: broken spreaders|
|Sébastien Josse||BT||day 50: broken rudder system|
|Yann Eliès||Generali||day 40: fractured femur|
|Mike Golding||Ecover 3||day 38: dismasted|
|Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty||Groupe Maisonneuve||day 37: faulty halyards, broken auto-pilot|
|Loïck Peyron||Gitana Eighty||day 36: dismasted|
|Bernard Stamm||Cheminées Poujoulat||day 36: ran aground|
|Dominique Wavre||Temenos||day 35: damaged keel box|
|Unai Basurko||Pakea Bizkaia||day 28: faulty starboard rudder box|
|Jérémie Beyou||Delta Dore||day 17: damaged rig|
|Alex Thomson||Hugo Boss||day 6: cracked hull|
|Yannick Bestaven||Energies Autour du Monde||day 4: dismasted|
|Marc Thiercelin||DCNS||day 4: dismasted|
|Kito de Pavant||Groupe Bel||day 4: dismasted|
The 2012 edition of the Vendée Globe started on November 10, 2012. The race saw the 24-hour singlehanded distance record repeatedly reset by several competitors. Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) set a new race record for shortest time to the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, and François Gabart (Macif) set new race records for shortest time to the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in Australia and to Cape Horn. On January 27, 2013, Gabart set a new Vendée Globe record with just over 78 days to complete the circumnavigation. The interval of 3h17’ between the arrivals of the first and second contenders is also the shortest in the race's history. Also the interval of 26d0h17'50" between the winner and last finisher is the shortest in the race's history.
|François Gabart||Macif||78d 2h 16' 40" (new record)|
|Armel Le Cleac'h||Banque Populaire||78d 5h 33' 52"|
|Alex Thomson||Hugo Boss||80d 19h 23' 43"|
|Jean-Pierre Dick||Virbac-Paprec 3||86d 3h 3' 40"|
|Jean Le Cam||SynerCiel||88d 0h 12’ 58"|
|Mike Golding||Gamesa||88d 6h 36' 26"|
|Dominique Wavre||Mirabaud||90d 3h 14' 42"|
|Arnaud Boissières||Akena Vérandas||91d 2h 09' 02"|
|Bertrand De Broc||Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM Projets||92d 17h 10' 14" (incl. 12h time penalty for unsealing and using emergency water supply)|
|Tanguy De Lamotte||initiatives cœur||98d 21h 56' 10"|
|Alessandro Di Benedetto||Team Plastique||104d 02h 34' 30"|
|Did not finish|
|Javier Sanso||Acciona 100% EcoPowered||day 84: capsized|
|Bernard Stamm||Cheminées Poujoulat||day 51: disqualified after receiving assistance, however he completed the course in 88d 10h 27' 50"|
|Vincent Riou||PRB||day 14: broken outrigger stay resulting from collision|
|Zbigniew Gutkowski||Energa||day 11: electrical issues resulting in autopilot not being able to work|
|Jérémie Beyou||Maître CoQ||day 9: broken keel ram|
|Samantha Davies||Savéol||day 5: dismasted|
|Louis Burton||Bureau Vallée||day 3: collision|
|Kito De Pavant||Groupe Bel||day 2: collision|
|Marc Guillemot||Safran||day 1: damaged keel|
- Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
- Global Challenge
- Route du Rhum
- VELUX 5 Oceans Race
- Volvo Ocean Race
- Vendée Globe, the official web site (English version)
- "Vendee Globe 2012–13: Francois Gabart breaks solo record". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "30 skippers for the next Vendee Globe?". The Daily Sail. Retrieved 10 Dec 2014.
- Introduction, from the official web site
- 1989/1990 Edition: A great race is born, from the official web site
- Partners, from the official web site
- Route, from the official web site
- 1996/1997 Edition : The Globe spinning out of control, from the official web site
- Qualifying for the Route du Rhum, Conrad Humphreys Racing
- 1992/1993 Edition: The edition with the first real dramas, from the official web site
- 1996/1997 Edition : The Globe spinning out of control, from the official web site
- Pete Goss MBE, from Now You're Talking
- Vendée Globe — Entering a New Era, from Sailnet.com
- Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters, by Derek Lundy. Anchor, 2000. ISBN 0-385-72000-9
- Vendee Globe: The full story, from the BBC
- 2000/2001 Edition : The Express Globe, from the official web site
- Rankings and Positions, from the official web site
- Vendée Globe 2004–05 Final Results, from about.com
- "Le Cleac'h crossed the Cape of Good Hope".
- Le plus petit écart de l’histoire, Jan 27 2013