2016/2017 Vendée Globe: Around the World Solo nonstop and unassisted

28 October 2016

The Vendée Globe is nowadays the only sailing race around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted. The event is in the spirit of the Golden Globe in 1968 that initiated the first solo circumnavigation, nonstop and the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

The first 7 editions, that the public now called ‘the Everest of the Seas’, allowed 138 sailors to take the start of the Vendée Globe, for which only 71 were able to cut the finish line. This expresses by itself the extreme difficulty of this global event where sailors face the freezing cold, the excessive waves and heavy skies that sweep the deep south! The Vendée Globe is above all a journey into the sea and the depths of oneself. It has awarded very famous sailors: Titouan LAMAZOU, Alain GAUTIER, Christophe AUGUIN and Vincent RIOU among others. Only one sailor has won twice: the Frenchman Michel DESJOYEAUX in 2001 and 2009. The race record is held by another exceptional French sailor, François GABART in 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds, during the 2012/2013 edition.

Raced every 4 years, the eighth Vendée Globe will start in Les Sables d’Olonne (France) Sunday, November 6, 2016, in front of nearly 300,000 spectators and sailing enthusiasts.

40,075 kilometres i.e. 21,638 miles: that is the circumference of the Earth and the reference distance around the world. But this global journey is primarily a climatic voyage strewn with weather pitfalls to descend down the Atlantic, crossing the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, then up the Atlantic again … Starting at Les Sables d’Olonne in the middle of autumn, a trip to the heart of the Southern seas in summer austral and return in Vendée in winter!

In reality, during the previous seven editions of the Vendée Globe, most competitors have travelled sometimes more than 28,000 miles (i.e. almost 52,000 kilometres distance) … Because these intrepid solitary sailors have to deal with wind, waves, swell, ice, and the boats trajectories are thus a succession of broken lines, zigzags and detours and changes of courses. So after 75 to 80 days at sea, the winner of the 2016/2017 Vendée Globe will finally see the finish line, back in Les Sables d’Olonne!

Follows a brief video of the Vendée Globe Ocean Race: the single, most difficult sporting challenge that exists on the planet today:


The line of departure and arrival is located off Les Sables d’Olonne in France. The route is to go around Antarctica leaving to port (left) the three capes as the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn. During the various editions, passing buoys or virtual gates were placed either to create a coastal route to Les Sables d’Olonne, or to force competitors to not go down too far south towards the Antarctica with the risk of hitting icebergs.


The sailboats of the Vendée Globe all measure 18.28 m (60 feet) with a draught of 4.50 m (14.75 feet). Carrying a lot of sail, they are the most powerful monohulls in the world skippered by a solo sailor. They can exceed thirty knots downwind. The class rules are determined by the IMOCA class (International Monohull Open Class Association), founded in 1991 and recognised by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). With a standardised keel, the choice between two masts, a traditional one or a wing mast, and the number of appendages and ballast tanks limited, the novelty of this year is that the latest generation of sailboats will be equipped with foils: these appendages lift the hull of the boat up. This reduces the drag and enhances performance. The 2016-2017 Vendée Globe will be the first round the world race for these new sailboats.


Grail of solo sailors, 29 of the world’s best sailors will take the start for this 8th edition of the 2016/2017 Vendée Globe, including 15 repeat skippers and one former winner (Vincent RIOU) and 14 rookie skippers. 10 nations are represented (FR / UK / IT / ESP / USA / NZ / HU / CH / NL / JP) at the start of the race in Les Sables d’Olonne on November 6, 2016.

Here is the starting list and the names of their sailboats / sponsors:

  • Jean-Pierre DICK – St-Michel – Virbac (4th participation)
  • Vincent RIOU – PRB (4th participation)
  • Jean LE CAM – Finistere Mer Vent (4th participation)
  • Bertrand DE BROC – MACSF (4th participation)
  • Alex Thomson – Hugo Boss (4th participation)
  • Armel LE CLEAC’H – Banque Populaire (3rd participation)
  • Jeremiah BEYOU – Maitre Coq (3rd participation)
  • Kito DE PAVANT – Bastide – Otio (3rd participation)
  • Sébastien JOSSE – Edmond de Rothschild (3rd participation)
  • Arnaud BOISSIERES – La Mie Caline (3rd participation)
  • Nandor FA – Spirit of Hungary (3rd participation)
  • Yann ELIES – Queguiner – Leukemia Hope (2nd participation)
  • Tanguy DE LAMOTTE – Heart Initiatives – Kline (2nd participation)
  • Louis BURTON – Bureau Vallee (2nd participation)
  • Rich WILSON – Great American IV (2nd participation)
  • Morgan LAGRAVIERE – Safran (1st adventure)
  • Paul MEILHAT – SMA (1st adventure)
  • Sébastien DESTREMAU – TechnoFirst – FaceOcean (1st adventure)
  • Eric BELLION – Comme un Seul Homme (1st adventure)
  • Fabrice AMEDEO – Newrest – Matmut (1st adventure)
  • Thomas RUYANT – Le Souffle du Nord (1st adventure)
  • Didac COSTA – One Planet One Ocean (1st adventure)
  • Alan ROURA – La Fabrique (1st adventure)
  • Stéphane LE DIRAISON – Compagnie du Lit – Boulogne Billancourt (1st adventure)
  • Pieter HEEREMA – No Way Back (1st adventure)
  • Romain ATTANASIO – Famille Mary – Etamine du Lys (1st adventure)
  • Kojiro SHIRAISHI – Spirit of Yukoh (1st adventure)
  • Conrad COLMAN – 100% Natural Energy (1st adventure)
  • Enda O’COINEEN – Kilcullen Team Ireland (1st adventure)


Follow this major sporting event live and by GPS on the official website of the Vendée Globe.

Passionate about ocean races and major regattas in the world, Allied Yachting wishes good luck to the 29 brave sailors in the 2016/2017 Vendée Globe, whilst we will support more particularly our French Riviera natives Jean-Pierre DICK on St MICHEL-VIRBAC and Sébastien JOSSE on EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD. See you at the arrival in less than three months!