Vendée Globe

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Vendée Globe
The route of the Vendée Globe race.
Founded 1989
Classes IMOCA 60
Start Les Sables-d'Olonne
Finish Les Sables-d'Olonne
Type single-handed non-stop round-the-world race
Most recent champion(s) Macif
François Gabart
Most titles Michel Desjoyeaux (2)
Official website

The Vendée Globe is a round-the-world single-handed yacht race, sailed non-stop and without assistance.[1] The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989,[2] and since 1992 has taken place every four years. The 2016–2017 edition is planned to start on Sunday, 6 November 2016.[3]

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 1982–83 and 1986–87, 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.[4]

The first edition of the race was run in 1989–90, and was won by Titouan Lamazou; Jeantot himself took part, and placed fourth.[5] The next edition of the race was in 1992–93; and it has since then been run every four years.


Hommage au Vendée Globe by Raphaël Toussaint, 1999

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[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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, weather, 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 1996–97 race Canadian Gerry Roufs was lost at sea.[8]

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,[9] any entrant to the Vendée Globe will have amassed substantial sailing experience.

Previous results[edit]


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.[5]

Sailor Yacht Time
France Titouan Lamazou Ecureuil d'Aquitaine II 109d 08h 48' 50"
France Loïck Peyron Lada Poch 110d 01h 18' 06"
France Jean-Luc Van Den Heede 36.15 MET 112d 01h 14' 00"
France Philippe Jeantot Crédit Agricole IV 113d 23h 47' 47"
France Pierre Follenfant TBS-Charente Maritime 114d 21h 09' 06"
France Alain Gautier Generali Concorde 132d 13h 01' 48"
France Jean-François Coste Cacharel 163d 01h 19' 20"
Did not finish
France Patrice Carpentier Le Nouvel Observateur damaged auto-pilot (Falklands)
United States Mike Plant Duracell received help (New Zealand)
South Africa Bertie Reed Grinaker damaged rudder
France Jean-Yves Terlain UAP dismasted
France Philippe Poupon Fleury Michon X capsized
United States Guy Bernardin O-Kay toothache


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.[10]

Sailor Yacht Time
France Alain Gautier Bagages Superior 110d 02h 22' 35"
France Jean-Luc Van Den Heede Groupe Sofap-Helvim 116d 15h 01' 11"
France Philippe Poupon Fleury-Michon X 117d 03h 34' 24"
France Yves Parlier Cacolac d'Aquitaine 125d 02h 42' 24"
Hungary Nándor Fa K&H Banque Matav 128d 16h 05' 04"
Spain José Luis de Ugarte Euskadi Europ 93 BBK 134d 05h 04' 00"
France Jean-Yves Hasselin PRB / Solo Nantes 153d 05h 14' 00"
Did not finish
France Switzerland Bernard Gallay Vuarnet Watches rigging problems
Italy Vittorio Malingri Everlast / Neil Pryde Sails lost rudder
France Bertrand de Broc Groupe LG keel problems
United Kingdom Alan Wynne-Thomas Cardiff Discovery medical reasons
France Loïck Peyron Fujicolor III sail failure
France Thierry Arnaud Maître Coq / Le Monde unprepared
United Kingdom Nigel Burgess Nigel Burgess Yachts lost at sea
United States 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.

The race was won by Christophe Auguin; and Catherine Chabaud, sixth and last, was the first woman to finish the race.[11]

Pete Goss was later awarded the Légion d'honneur for his rescue of Dinelli.[12] The capsize of several boats in this race prompted tightening up of the safety rules for entrants, particularly regarding boat safety and stability.[13]

The book Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters by Derek Lundy profiles this edition of the race.[14]

Sailor Yacht Time
France Christophe Auguin Geodis 105d 20h 31'
France Marc Thiercelin Crédit Immobilier 113d 08h 26'
France Hervé Laurent Groupe LG-Traitmat 114d 16h 43'
France Éric Dumont Café Legal-Le Goût 116d 16h 43'
United Kingdom Pete Goss Aqua Quorum 126d 21h 25'
France Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool-Europe 2 140d 04h 38'
Did not finish
France Isabelle Autissier PRB broken rudder
France Yves Parlier Aquitaine Innovations broken rudder
France Bertrand de Broc Pommes Rhône Alpes capsized
United Kingdom Tony Bullimore Exide Challenger capsized
France Thierry Dubois Amnesty International capsized
Hungary Nándor Fa Budapest collision
France Didier Munduteguy Club 60è Sud dismasted
France Raphaël Dinelli Algimouss capsized
Belgium Patrick de Radiguès Afibel beached
Canada 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.[15][16]

Sailor Yacht Time
France Michel Desjoyeaux PRB 93d 3h 57'
United Kingdom Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher 94d 4h 25'
France Roland Jourdain Sill Matines La potagère 96d 1h 2'
France Marc Thiercelin Active Wear 102d 20h 37'
Switzerland Dominic Wavre Union bancaire Privée 105d 2h 45'
France Thomas Coville Sodébo 105d 7h 24'
United Kingdom Mike Golding Team Group 4 110d 16h 22'
France Switzerland Bernard Gallay Voilà.fr 111d 16h 7'
United Kingdom Josh Hall Gartmore 111d 19h 48'
France Joé Seeten Chocolats du Monde 115d 16h 46'
France Patrice Carpentier VM Matériaux 116d 0h 32'
Italy Simone Bianchetti 121d 1h 28'
France Yves Parlier Aquitaine Innovations 126d 23h 36
France Didier Munduteguy DDP / 60e Sud 135d 15h 17'
Italy Pasquale de Gregorio Wind Telecommunicazioni 158d 2h 37'
Did not finish
France Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool dismasted
France Thierry Dubois Solidaires electronic problems
France Raphaël Dinelli Sogal Extenso damaged rudder
Russia Fyodor Konyukhov Modern Univ./Humanities retired
Spain Javier Sanso Old Spice retired
France Éric Dumont Euroka Services damaged rudder
United Kingdom Richard Tolkien This Time – Argos – Help For Autistic Children rig damage
Switzerland Bernard Stamm Armor-Lux/foies Gras steering problem
Belgium 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.

As the fleet re-entered the Atlantic, the lead changed several times; the race remained close right to the finish, which saw three boats finish within 29 hours.[17][18]

Sailor Yacht Time
France Vincent Riou PRB 87d 10h 47' 55"
France Jean Le Cam Bonduelle 87d 17h 20' 8"
United Kingdom Mike Golding Ecover 88d 15h 15 '13"
Switzerland Dominique Wavre Temenos 92d 17h 13' 20"
France Sébastien Josse VMI 93 d0h 2' 10"
France Jean-Pierre Dick Virbac-Paprec 98 d3h 49' 38"
United Kingdom Conrad Humphreys Hellomoto 104d 14h 32' 24"
France Joé Seeten Arcelor Dunkerque 104d 23h 2' 45"
United States Bruce Schwab Ocean Planet 109d 19h 58' 57"
France Canada Benoît Parnaudeau Max Havelaar / Best Western 116d 1h 6' 54"
France Anne Liardet ROXY 119d 5h 28' 40"
France Raphaël Dinelli AKENA Vérandas 125d 4h 7' 14"
France Karen Leibovici Benefic 126d 8h 2' 20"
Did not finish
France Marc Thiercelin Pro-Form technical problems
France Roland Jourdain Sill Véolia keel problems
United Kingdom Alex Thomson Hugo Boss hole in the deck
France Patrice Carpentier VM Matériaux broken boom
Australia Nick Moloney Skandia lost the keel
France Hervé Laurent UUDS rudder problem
Austria Norbert Sedlacek Brother keel problems


The 2008 edition of the Vendée Globe began on 9 November 2008 and was won by Michel Desjoyaux, setting a new Vendée Globe record at 84d 3h 9'8".

Jean Le Cam lost his keel bulb and capsized in the southern ocean. Vincent Riou diverted and found his boat. Le Cam climbed out through the security hatch and hung on to the rudder while Riou circled around trying to toss him a rope. After three failed attempts, Riou went in closer, managing to throw the rope to Le Cam and rescue him, but damaged his mast and later had to retire. As he was third when diverting to assisting another boat in distress, Riou was awarded third place on redress.

Sailor Yacht Time
France Michel Desjoyeaux Foncia 84d 3h 9' 8"
France Armel Le Cléac’h Brit Air 89d 9h 39' 35"
France Marc Guillemot Safran 95d 3h 19' 36"
United Kingdom Samantha Davies Roxy 95d 4h 39' 1"
United Kingdom Brian Thompson Bahrain Team Pindar 98d 20h 29' 55"
United Kingdom Dee Caffari Aviva 99d 1h 10' 57"
France Arnaud Boissières Akena Verandas 105d 2h 33' 50"
United Kingdom Steve White Toe In The Water 109d 0h 36' 55"
United States Rich Wilson Great American III 121d 0h 41' 19"
France Raphaël Dinelli Fondation Ocean Vital 125d 2h 32' 24"
Austria Norbert Sedlacek Nauticsport-Kapsch 126d 5h 31' 56"
Did not finish
France Vincent Riou PRB day 59: dismasted. Redress Given: 3rd place
France Roland Jourdain Veolia Environnement day 85: lost keel
France Jean Le Cam VM Matériaux day 58: lost keel bulb, capsized
United Kingdom Jonny Malbon Artemis day 56: delaminated mainsail
France Jean-Pierre Dick Paprec-Virbac 2 day 53: lost port rudder
Canada Derek Hatfield Algimouss Spirit of Canada day 50: broken spreaders
France Sébastien Josse BT day 50: broken rudder system
France Yann Eliès Generali day 40: fractured femur
United Kingdom Mike Golding Ecover 3 day 38: dismasted
France Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty Groupe Maisonneuve day 37: faulty halyards, broken auto-pilot
France Loïck Peyron Gitana Eighty day 36: dismasted
Switzerland Bernard Stamm Cheminées Poujoulat day 36: ran aground
Switzerland Dominique Wavre Temenos day 35: damaged keel box
Spain Unai Basurko Pakea Bizkaia day 28: faulty starboard rudder box
France Jérémie Beyou Delta Dore day 17: damaged rig
United Kingdom Alex Thomson Hugo Boss day 6: cracked hull
France Yannick Bestaven Energies Autour du Monde day 4: dismasted
France Marc Thiercelin DCNS day 4: dismasted
France Kito de Pavant Groupe Bel day 4: dismasted


The 2012 edition of the Vendée Globe started on 10 November 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,[19] and François Gabart (Macif) set new race records for shortest time to the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in Australia and to Cape Horn. On 27 January 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.[20] Also the interval of 26d0h17'50" between the winner and last finisher is the shortest in the race's history.

Sailor Yacht Time
France François Gabart Macif 78d 2h 16' 40" (new record)
France Armel Le Cléac’h Banque Populaire 78d 5h 33' 52"
United Kingdom Alex Thomson Hugo Boss 80d 19h 23' 43"
France Jean-Pierre Dick Virbac-Paprec 3 86d 3h 3' 40"
France Jean Le Cam SynerCiel 88d 0h 12’ 58"
United Kingdom Mike Golding Gamesa 88d 6h 36' 26"
Switzerland Dominique Wavre Mirabaud 90d 3h 14' 42"
France Arnaud Boissières Akena Vérandas 91d 2h 09' 02"
France 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)
France Tanguy De Lamotte initiatives cœur 98d 21h 56' 10"
France Italy Alessandro Di Benedetto Team Plastique 104d 02h 34' 30"
Did not finish
Spain Javier Sanso Acciona 100% EcoPowered day 84: capsized
Switzerland Bernard Stamm Cheminées Poujoulat day 51: disqualified after receiving assistance, however he completed the course in 88d 10h 27' 50"
France Vincent Riou PRB day 14: broken outrigger stay resulting from collision
Poland Zbigniew Gutkowski Energa day 11: electrical issues resulting in autopilot not being able to work
France Jérémie Beyou Maître CoQ day 9: broken keel ram
United Kingdom Samantha Davies Savéol day 5: dismasted
France Louis Burton Bureau Vallée day 3: collision
France Kito De Pavant Groupe Bel day 2: collision
France Marc Guillemot Safran day 1: damaged keel

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Vendée Globe, the official web site (English version)
  2. ^ "Vendee Globe 2012–13: François Gabart breaks solo record". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "30 skippers for the next Vendee Globe?". The Daily Sail. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Introduction, from the official web site
  5. ^ a b 1989/1990 Edition: A great race is born, from the official web site
  6. ^ Partners, from the official web site
  7. ^ Route, from the official web site
  8. ^ 1996/1997 Edition : The Globe spinning out of control, from the official web site
  9. ^ Qualifying for the Route du Rhum, Conrad Humphreys Racing
  10. ^ 1992/1993 Edition: The edition with the first real dramas, from the official web site
  11. ^ 1996/1997 Edition : The Globe spinning out of control, from the official web site
  12. ^ Pete Goss MBE, from Now You're Talking
  13. ^ Vendée Globe — Entering a New Era, from
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Vendee Globe: The full story, from the BBC
  16. ^ 2000/2001 Edition : The Express Globe, from the official web site
  17. ^ Rankings and Positions, from the official web site
  18. ^ Vendée Globe 2004–05 Final Results, from
  19. ^ "Le Cleac'h crossed the Cape of Good Hope". 
  20. ^ Le plus petit écart de l’histoire, Jan 27 2013

Coordinates: 46°29′42″N 1°47′19″W / 46.4951°N 1.7886°W / 46.4951; -1.7886