Vendée Globe Yacht Racing

Vendée Globe: Race around the world in 78 days

words: Alexander Macheck, Arkadiusz Piatek and justin hynes
Photo: B.Stichelbaut

The Vendée Globe is the Mount Everest of high seas yacht racing. Those taking part do a full circuit of the globe: alone, non-stop and without outside help

Anyone hoping to get through the 2016 Vendée Globe will have to put up with storms, waves the size of mountains, icy cold, solitude and a lack of sleep.

Of the 138 skippers who have set themselves the challenge since the first race back in 1989 just 71 have made it to the end. Everyone else has retired, been disqualified or died in the attempt.

No assistance

Pictured: Mike Golding (UK) in the 2012 race


On November 6, 30 of the world’s best yachtsmen will set off on this, the eighth edition of the ultimate solo sailing race. 

The race starts at Les Sables d’Olonne in France and then it’s once round the globe, always heading east. It’s 40,000km in all. 

The sailors get no assistance. They can consult a doctor by phone to seek advice, but no more than that. If they need treatment, they have to do it themselves.

Learn more about the most dangerous parts of the course … 

Vendée Globe: Most Dangerous Parts Of The Yacht Race

The Vendée Globe Yacht race is 40,000km in all. These are the 6 most dangerous parts of the course. The Red Bulletin - The international men's active lifestyle magazine

Vendee Globe


“doing it on your own means immense discipline. if you’re not disciplined, you make mistakes”
Alex thomson (UK)

One of the sailors, Bangor-born Alex Thomson, became the youngest winner of the Clipper Round The World Race at the age of 25 in 1999. He came third in the Vendée of 2012/13 and hopes his new boat will help him triumph this time. 

Click here if you want to read more about Alex’s story …

Alex Thomson on why he compares the Vendée Globe to a war

Brit Alex Thomson is banking on a new, faster yacht to take him to victory at the fourth attempt - but first he has to finish. The Red Bulletin - The international men's active lifestyle magazine

Vendée Globe Yacht Racing

The Vendée Globe rules are simple and brutal: non-stop means that the competitors cannot go ashore for the length of the race 


The Vendée Globe yacht is an Open 60. The number in its name being its length in feet, equivalent to 18.28m. This year is a first outing for foils, which help the boats go faster. So sailing around the world in under 78 days (the course record) isn’t unthinkable in 2016.

To learn more about the boat, click here …

Vendée Globe Yacht Race: A Look A The Boat That Defies The Elements

The construction Achilles' heel For all their tech, the yachts remain vulnerable. The most frequent causes of boats not finishing are mast damage, hull breaches and hitting unknown objects. No tricks A seal blocks the connection between the engine and the ship's propeller. If you break the seal, you're out of the race.

Vendee Globe: The Boat

In 2012, a roller capsized Spaniard Javier Sanso within days of the start. He was fished out of the water by helicopter – alive


“you need a strategy but also experience – that’s why this race tends to be won by old hands”
andreas hanakamp (aut)

Offshore specialist Andreas Hanakamp is one of Austria’s finest sailors, having sailed 150,000 miles, and has taken part in a number of Olympic Games.

Here, he speaks about the immense discipline required by the sailors … 

Vendée Globe: How to circumnavigate the globe in 3 months

Offshore specialist Andreas Hanakamp on the immense discipline required by the Vendée Globe. The Red Bulletin - The international men's active lifestyle magazine

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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