With five months to go to the start of the Vendée Globe, almost all of the competitors have relaunched their boats and restarted their preparation for the ninth edition. Now is the time to look at some of the details concerning the key steps that lie ahead as the skippers prepare for 8th November.
Since the closing of the registration nominations on November 1st, 35 candidates have set themselves up to be on the starting line. As it stands today 18 skippers are already officially registered.
The SAEM Vendée also took the decision to set up a Start Village, which will open on Saturday 17th October. It will turn into the Race Village on 8th November then the Finish Village to welcome the skippers home from their round the world race. The arrangements for the general public will be adapted to public health requirements which may affect sporting events and they will have to be approved by the relevant authorities.
Five dates for your diary before 8th November
At 1202hrs UTC on 8th November, the ninth Vendée Globe will begin with its entrants setting off in this non-stop solo race around the world without assistance… but with a lot of excitement. Even if the lockdown period led to an interruption in the calendar of events that was initially in place, the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe could still become a record-breaker, starting with the number of competitors on the start line on 8th November*.
As it stands 18 skippers have completed their registration. 17 still have to sail a 2,000-mile solo course or compete in and finish the equivalent of a transatlantic race, or complete their registration paperwork for the Vendée Globe.
Saturday 4th July: Vendée – Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne
The lockdown led to the cancellation of The Transat CIC and the New York – Vendée Les Sables d’Olonne, and the IMOCA class has set up a brand new race, supported by its headline partner, the Vendée department and the town of Les Sables d’Olonne: the Vendée – Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne. A 3600-mile race with the start and finish line in place off Les Sables d’Olonne, with waypoints to the West of Iceland and the North of the Azores. The planned start date is 4th July.
Tuesday 1st September: registrations close and date by which they have to complete any additional qualifiers
Seven skippers and their boats have to complete an additional 2,000-mile solo qualifier approved by the Race Directors. Initially planned for 1st July, the period during which they have to complete this additional qualifying distance has been pushed back to 1st September. This is also the date on which registrations close.
Thursday 17th September: press conference
The Vendée Globe press conference will take place at the Palais Brongniart in Paris. This is a useful and symbolic date coming exactly one month before the start village opens.
Friday 16th October: arrival at the measurement pontoon
All of the boats registered for the ninth Vendée Globe have to be present to be measured on the Vendée Globe pontoon in Port-Olona on by 1900hrs local time on Friday 16th October.
Saturday 17th October: official opening of the Start Village
Sunday 8th November: 1202hrs UTC: start of the ninth Vendée Globe
While the start will be from the South Nouch buoy off Les Sables d’Olonne, the event will already be in full swing from the early hours that day with the boats leaving the pontoons and making their way out of the legendary harbour entrance in Les Sables d’Olonne.