The 30 solo skippers who will be setting out from Les Sables d'Olonne on 9 November to race around the world in the 2008-09 Vendée Globe were present at the launch of for the sixth edition of the race.
Philippe DE VILLIERS, President of the Vendée public-private partnership, the event organizer, presented the main features characterising this edition of the race.
This year's Vendée Globe is outstanding because of the record number of entrants taking part and the quality of the line-up. Seven nationalities are represented: 17 French yachtsmen, seven from Britain, one American, two Swiss sailors, one Canadian, one Spaniard and one Austrian.
Thirteen lined up at the start of the first edition of the Vendée Globe in 1989, while there were 20 in 2004. There will be 30 in 2008. Looking beyond the simple number, it is the quality of the contenders that impresses most. Two former winners (Vincent RIOU and Michel DESJOYEAUX), five skippers, who have already been on the podium in previous editions (Jean LE CAM, Mike GOLDING, Roland JOURDAIN, Loïck PEYRON, Marc THIERCELIN) and two round the world champions from other races (Jean-Pierre DICK in the Barcelona World Race and Bernard STAMM). Add to that the ambitious young guns from the Figaro circuit, such as Yann ELIÈS, Jérémie BEYOU and Armel LE CLÉAC'H. Mix in a few, who are back again to add to their list of achievements, like Sébastien JOSSE, Dominique WAVRE and Alex THOMSON. Mix in a handful of highly experienced skippers, like Marc GUILLEMOT, Brian THOMPSON, Jonny MALBON and Kito DE PAVANT. Stir them together and you get what has to be one of the most fascinating line us in ocean racing.
To finish, season the mix with a pinch of sailors, who are in it just as much for the adventure as for the technical challenge. Jean-Baptiste DEJEANTY, Arnaud BOISSIÈRES, Yannick BESTAVEN and Raphaël DINELLI are setting out to sail cleanly and to complete the circumnavigation with their own weapons and iron-willed determination. Do not forget that touch of exoticism thanks to the strong Basque identity asserted by Unai BASURKO, the participation for the second consecutive time of the Austrian yachtsman, Norbert SEDLACEK, Steve WHITE, who is taking part thanks to his own untiring efforts, the presence of the North America with Rich WILSON and Derek HATFIELD. And finally that vital feminine touch with the two British yachtswomen, Dee CAFFARI and Sam DAVIES.
In total, the 30 skippers taking part in this sixth Vendée Globe have sailed no fewer than 32 round the world voyages and 21 Vendée Globes. More than ever before in the history of the Vendée Globe, it will be the quality of the sailor, his experience, talent, and no doubt a bit of luck that will make all the difference.
An Unprecedented Technological Challenge
Twenty monohulls from the latest generation have been specially designed and built for the 2008 Vendée Globe by architects from around the world. Two opposing design options: on the one hand, a large beam and power, on the other, the lightweight minimalist approach.
All of the races in the 2008 season and the qualifying passages that the Vendée Globe organizers make compulsory for the skippers, have enabled the boats to be developed and improved. In the end, the fleet is fairly homogenous, made up of boats, which are very similar in terms of performance and which could well improve on the record set by RIOU (87 days, 10 hours and 47 minutes) by five days of sailing. We shall start to get some ideas about that in just a few weeks!
The Next Dates On The Calendar
12 October 2008: the first competitors are expected in Port Olona
18 October 2008: Opening of the Race Village
- Briefing to welcome the skippers
- Official evening to present the skippers
9 November 2008:
- 09:00 (local time): the boats leave Port Olona and start of the presentation of the boats and skippers to the general public
- 13:02: Start of the race
BASURKO Unai (ESP), Pakea Bizkaia
BESTAVEN Yannick (FRA), Energies Autour du Monde
BEYOU Jérémie (FRA), Delta Dore
BOISSIERES Arnaud (FRA), Akena Verandas
CAFFARI Dee (GBR), Aviva
DAVIES Samantha (GBR), Roxy
DEJEANTY Jean-Baptiste (FRA), Maisonneuve
DE PAVANT Kito (FRA), Groupe Bel
DESJOYEAUX Michel (FRA), Foncia
DICK Jean-Pierre (FRA), Paprec-Virbac
DINELLI Raphaël (FRA), Fondation Ocean Vital
ELIES Yann (FRA), Generali
GOLDING Mike (GBR), Ecover
GUILLEMOT Marc (FRA), Safran
HATFIELD Derek (Can), Spirit of Canada
JOSSE Sébastien (FRA), BT
JOURDAIN Roland (FRA), Veolia Environnement
LE CAM Jean (FRA), VM Matériaux
LE CLEAC'H Armel (FRA), Brit Air
MALBON Jonny (FRA), Artemis
PEYRON Loïck (FRA), Gitana Eighty
RIOU Vincent (FRA), PRB
SEDLACEK Norbert (AUT), Nauticsport-Kapsch
STAMM Bernard (SUI), Cheminées Poujoulat
THIERCELIN Marc (FRA), DCNS
THOMPSON Brian (GBR), Pindar
THOMSON Alex (GBR), Hugo Boss
WAVRE Dominique (SUI), Temenos II
WHITE Steve (GBR), Spirit of Weymouth
WILSON Rich (USA), Great American III