In five days from now at 1202hrs UTC on Sunday 6th November, 29 skippers will be setting sail from Les Sables d’Olonne for the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe.
With more than 680,000 people visiting the VendéeGlobe Village since it opened, and with exceptional media arrangements around the world for the start, the Vendée Globe is truly an exceptional global event. The numbers tell the story.
Huge increase in visitor numbers for the Official Village: 380,000 visitors already during the second week
With 300,000 visitors to the site in the first week after it opened, visitor numbers for the Official Village for the eighth Vendée Globe were already very impressive. Then the sun came out and since then, numbers grew to reach 380,000 in the second week. The President of the Vendée Globe, Yves Auvinet had a beaming smile on his face, when he announced these figures, which say a lot about the event.
“We had prepared ourselves for crowds at the OfficialVillage, but I must admit that the figures for the first two weeks surprised us, particularly with crowds strolling up and down the pontoons and in the aisles in the Village. The Indian Summer in Vendée since the opening, the high standard of the line-up for this eighth edition and the quality of the events and exhibitions in the Village have clearly attracted a lot of visitors. Once again, the magic of the Vendée Globe is working, as it has done with each edition.”
The Vendée Globe Village
300,000: the number of visitors during the first week after the opening of the village
380,000: the number of visitors during the second week…
The media attending the start
22: nationalities represented
31: Stations taking up the live coverage (compared with 18 in 2012-2013) broadcast on the website, Dailymotion, Youtube, and the Vendée Globe facebook page from 0745hrs UTC to 1000hrs UTC and from 1130hrs UTC to 1230hrs UTC.
45: televisions stations attending
80: TV channels involved (compared with 65 channels in 2012-2013), from France, around Europe, North America, Britain, and Asia. Global coverage with teams from CNN, NHK Japan, Swiss national TV and radio, the Belgian station, RTBF… among others.
150: foreign media attending the start
190: number of countries covered
1100: number of accredited journalists
The 2016 Vendée Globe
1: Previous winner lining up: Vincent Riou (in 2004-2005)
2: Number of birthdays to be celebrated at sea before mid-February (Conrad Colman 2nd December, Didac Costa 22nd December)
4: Official sponsors:
– Vendée the French department: Vendée Council
– The town of Les Sables d’Olonne
– The Pays de la Loire Region
5: Sailors lining up for the fourth time: Bertrand de Broc, Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam, Vincent Riou and Alex Thomson
7: Boats fitted with foils, including 1 older generation boat: Maitre Coq
8: Editions. Launched in 1989, this is the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe, which takes place every four years.
10: Nationalities represented with for the first time a Japanese skipper, a Dutchman, a New Zealander and an Irishman.
14: the number of rookies lining up for their first Vendée Globe: Didac Costa, Thomas Ruyant, Alan Roura, Morgan Lagravière, Sébastien Destremau, Conrad Colman, Kojiro Shiraishi, Pieter Heerema, Romain Attanasio, Eric Bellion, Fabrice Amedeo, Enda O’Coineen, Paul Meilhat, Stéphane Le Diraison.
18.28: The length in metres of the 60-foot IMOCA
23: The age of the youngest entrant, the Swiss sailor Alan Roura
43: Difference in age in years between Alan Roura (23) and Rich Wilson (66), the youngest and eldest competitor in the Vendée Globe.
50: The percentage increase in the number of boats in comparison to 2012
78: days, 2 hours and 16 minutes: At the finish of the last race in 2013, François Gabart shattered the Vendée Globe record. The Frenchman improved on the previous reference time set by Michel Desjoyeaux in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe by six days.
80: Days. Only two sailors have completed the Vendée Globe in less than 80 days, the legendary time it took Philéas Fogg: François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h in 2013.
1998: the year the oldest IMOCAs in the 2016 fleet was built (Romain Attanasio’s Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys) and TechnoFirst-faceOcean (Sébastien Destremau).
24,020: miles, or 40,075 kilometres – the theoretical distance. Remembering that most of the competitors will sail more, sometimes even more than 52,000km to avoid icebergs and areas of high pressure (where there are light winds).
Sébastien Josse is just one of the favourites to win this edition of the Vendée Globe for whom the race represents unfinished business. He was always among the leading posse in the epic 2008-9 race and spent a time in the lead before he had to retire into Auckland with rudder problems. The skipper of Edmond de Rothschild is starting for the third time and has only one finish on his record so far, fifth in 2005 when he was just 30.
“The level is more like 2008-9,” Josse opens, “That was the big year. We had the dream team then Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean Le Cam, Roland Jourdain, Loick Peyron, Mike Golding. So we miss some of these guys for this edition but the level is quite high because we have some good young guys with good boats. It should be a good race.”
His programme is one of the most technically advanced. He returns to the Vendée Globe after multihull success in the Multi 70, Gitana 11, including winning the Transat Jacques Vabre. As a consequence he has become more adept at sailing close to the, just shy of the ‘red zone’ for long periods. But he considers this race will require careful, precise modulation with the foiling boats.
“First we need to sail properly with these boats. We see that with these foiling boats they win the last three races across the Atlantic but we have to finish. We have to manage the boat and not to push too hard. I am sure among the foiling ‘membership’ if we are in the lead the top four, then we start to manage with each other, to make sure we get to Cape Horn and from there we see how it goes. But it is a long race, three months. Being in first position passing Cape Town is not so important. It is more important to be climbing the Atlantic with the ‘full set’ two foils, two rudders. Then and only then the ‘turbo’ effect.”
“In the 2008-9 race I learned that you have to finish. And so sometimes you have to slow down. That is for you and for the boat.” And he points out that foil technology for IMOCAs is in its infancy: “For the rig and keels the development is done, we are all one design. The pilots are done, we go straight. But the foils, we are just at the start. We have developed these foils in less than one year. And so if you look at how long we had to develop wing masts or canting keels, then we are just beginning. We have to keep this revolution going.”
An all round sportsman his strength and conditioning programme focuses on balance and a strong core. “Mentally it is the same. I have not changed. My opinion is that if you have to work with a psychologist then you are not ready to do the Vendée Globe. If you need someone to tell you you have to do this or that, you have to be motivated. After that prepare well with a coach, not to make you very strong with big muscles lifting heavy weights, but to make sure you do not get injured or hurt. So we work a lot on your core and to have good balance, to be stable.”
by Vendée Globe