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, NONSTOP 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 (U.K.) in the 2012 race.

© VINCENT CURUTCHET​/Dark Frame

On November 6, 30 of the world’s best yachtsmen will embark 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 … 

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Alex Thomson sailing under extreme conditions

Pictured: U.K. skipper Alex Thomson practices in the rough waters of the English Channel.

© CHRISTOPHE LAUNAY

“You have to MacGyver your way around”
Conrad Colman (US)

One of the sailors, Conrad Colman, brings an entrepreneur’s approach and triathlete’s training to his toughest challenge yet. The native of New Zealand found his entrepreneurial zeal in Colorado building bike frames. He won overall honors in the Class 40 Global Ocean Race and competed in the Barcelona World Race.


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

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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.

© VINCENT CURUTCHET​/Dark Frame

The Vendée Globe yacht is an Open 60. The number in its name being its length in feet. 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 …

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Vendee Globe: The Boat

In 2012, a roller capsized Spaniard Javier Sanso’s boat, Acciona, within days of the start. He was fished out of the water by helicopter.

© VINCENT CURUTCHET​/Dark Frame

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

Andreas Hanakamp is one of Europe’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 … 

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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