With a little over three months to go until the start of the ninth Vendée Globe and following the preparatory Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne event run earlier this month, the championship ranking that groups together the IMOCA skippers has been turned on its head.
Indeed, after the sixth event since June 2018, it is the German skipper Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) who has taken the lead, with 236 points, ahead of Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest – Art & Fenêtres), 217 points, and Jérémie Beyou (Charal), 212 points. Of note, at the foot of the podium, Briton Sam Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) is just four points shy of third place!
The new IMOCA Globe Series Championship, initiated by the Class in 2018 with the racers and race organisers, will complete its first cycle at the end of the Vendée Globe. The final event, which scores a coefficient of 10, will see the crowning of the IMOCA Champion in early 2021. A second cycle will then commence, taking the fleet through to the Vendée Globe 2024.
This championship has several objectives, starting with that of reinforcing the link between the different events and increasing the challenges between each of them. This series of races gives the sailors the opportunity to rack up miles that ultimately count towards qualification for the Vendée Globe. The density of the sports line-up also enables a high level of competitivity to be maintained among the fleet over four seasons, whilst supporting technological development with the possibility of making the boats reliable in real conditions. Finally, and most importantly, the championship enables several years of exposure and activation to be guaranteed for the partners supporting the racers in the Class IMOCA.
From the Monaco Globe Series 2018 (coef. 2) to the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2018 (coef. 4), Bermudes 1000 Race 2019 (coef. 2), Rolex Fastnet Race 2019 (coef. 1), Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 (coef. 4) and Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne 2020 (coef. 4), six events have already been run enabling a provisional ranking to be drawn up a few weeks before the start on 8 November 2020 of the longest and toughest singlehanded race. Which sailor will be crowned in 2021? Response after the Vendée Globe (coefficient 10)…
75 skippers, 14 nationalities and 15,000 miles covered
“More challenges, more sport, more sailors, more stories to tell, culminating with a reward for the most high-performing and most consistent skippers,” is how Antoine Mermod, president of the Class IMOCA, sums up the Championship, whose programme for the next cycle in 2021-24 is already in the process of being finalised and will be unveiled in late August-early September.
The system has enjoyed great success with a growing number of participants in each of the events and excellent feedback from the sailors themselves. “It’s a necessary Championship,” explains Boris Herrmann, who replaces Paul Meilhat at the top of the ranking, “it is enabling the young group at Team Malizia to grow, to rack up the miles and make the boat reliable so we are ready to go on the start line of the Vendée Globe. This top spot in the provisional ranking perfectly reflects our objective of continuity and regularity.”
This viewpoint is shared by Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Art & Fenêtres) and Manuel Cousin (Groupe SÉTIN) who have participated in and finished all the races on the programme since 2018. “It’s fantastic to have this IMOCA Globe Series Championship. It is an illustration of the increase in both power and value of the Class for the skippers and partners,” stresses Fabrice Amedeo. Manuel Cousin, loyal competitor based in Les Sables d’Olonne and a rookie in the next Vendée Globe echoes this sentiment: “In order that this fine Class IMOCA continues to shine, it must be respected. I’m not going for the win, but my goal is to finish everything. It’s a form of reward and I’m very happy and pleased to have managed to achieve that up to now!”
The key dates for the start of the autumn season in 2020
27 August: The Class IMOCA’s general meeting
9-13 September: Défi Azimut (Lorient)
16 September: prize-giving for the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne
17 September: press conference for the Vendée Globe (Palais Brogniart, Paris 2nd district)
17 October: opening of the Vendée Globe village in Les Sables d’Olonne
8 November: start of the 9th Vendée Globe
Boris Herrmann – Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, first in the provisional ranking
“I am proud of this first place, even though it’s the Vendée Globe that will decide the final ranking for the IMOCA Globe Series Championship. I’ve taken part in all the races and for our young Team Malizia, it was crucial to be present and to finish. This top spot in the provisional ranking is a reflection of the continuity of our project and as a result we have been able to progress with the boat and make her reliable. This Championship is necessary for sailing alongside the top skippers along fantastic courses between Vendée Globes.”
Fabrice Amedeo – Newrest-Art and Fenêtres, second in the provisional ranking
“I feel a sense of satisfaction to be in second position in the provisional ranking, but above all it’s important because it validates my project and my desire to post a consistent performance in all the IMOCA events. I like pushing the envelope, I am faithful to this principle, though it’s not that easy to pull off as there are difficult events like the Route du Rhum, which I finished without a bowsprit (piece at the front end of the boat). Finishing is already a massive challenge in itself! This Championship is an illustration of the increase in both power and value of the Class for the skippers and partners. The programme is no longer solely geared around the Vendée Globe. The Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne served as proof of that: there is space for a strong race with an ambitious course.”
Manuel Cousin – Groupe SÉTIN, 21st in the provisional ranking
“The IMOCA Globe Series Championship is very important for my little team, the partners and myself. We make it a point of honour to be on the start line of all the races on the programme and above all finish the event, which is no mean feat. In order that this fine Class IMOCA continues to shine, it must be respected. I’m not going for the win, but my goal is to finish everything. It’s a form of reward and I’m very happy and pleased to have managed to achieve that up to now!”
Antoine Mermod, president of the Class IMOCA
“The idea was to create a link between all the events and to tell the true story of the projects and the progression of the teams up till the grand finale of the championship, the Vendée Globe. To have this selective and qualificative championship for the solo round the world race creates more challenges. The skippers and their boat have had the chance to up their game and enjoy more substantial media coverage. Since 2016, the average number of participants has more than doubled! For the organisers, it’s an added bonus as they know they can rely on a significant fleet. There were 11 participants in the Monaco Globe Series, 30 in the Transat Jacques Vabre and 20 in the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne. With this championship, we’ve managed to have more sport, more sailors, more stories to tell, culminating with a reward for the most high-performing and most consistent skippers.”
by IMOCA Globe Series