The Vendee Globe round the world yacht race began on November 10, 2012. Twenty boats set off to sail around the globe single-handedly non stop with no assistance. Only thirteen boats remain as the race is quickly approaching the Cape of Good Hope. This is the 7th edition of the race. It was established by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and starting in 1992 the race is now held every 4 years. The race traditionally starts and ends in Les Sables d’Olonne in France’s Vendee region on the Atlantic coast.
It is a gruelling 24,048 mile race and in the past 6 races 49% of the challengers have been forced to retire. Jeantot a french yachtsman who had won the BOC Challenge (now the VELUX 5 Oceans Race) twice, was dissatisfied with the race format and set up the Vendee Globe. A new round-the-world race that would be the ultimate challenge for individual sailors. The first race was run in 89-90, Jeantot raced and placed 4th.
This year because of the economic climate the fleet is smaller than in past races, but the situation has made the caliber of the skippers able to compete top notch. There are three favorites this year for the win: Armel Le Cléac’h sailed a smart, well-modulated race to finish second in the last edition with a boat that was not the quickest in the fleet. He returns with a new generation design Banque Populaire. Vincent Riou (PRB) is the only skipper to have won the race before, triumphing in the 2004-5 race, and lastly Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3), twice winner of the two-handed Barcelona World Race, is slightly more discreet in revealing his ambition, to make the transition to solo success.
As of Thursday November 29 Armel Le Cléac’h is in the lead by approximately 120 nautical miles. So far the race has been an exciting one as 7 boats have already been retired. We are excited to see more action as the boats round the Cape of Good Hope.