Les Sables d’Olonne – The field sees a notable return of women skippers as a record six female solo racers are set to take the line, while there is an almost equal balance between first time ‘bizuths’ or rookies and skippers returning for another crack at the ultimate solo ocean racing challenge. Clearly the Vendée Globe has matured to be an event which sailors do not only do once in a lifetime.
September 1st was the deadline nominated, by which time contenders had to have completed their application files, that is to say having fulfilled the administrative and medical formalities, to have completed validated a qualification course, but also being able to have produced a valid, up to date IMOCA class measurement certificate before October 15th. The additional time allowed for the presentation of the certificate is designed to allow teams to work on their late modifications before finally setting up the configuration of the boat for the race.
A few competitors validated their qualification by finishing the Vendée – Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne race, so completing their required solo course. Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG Mori) did this when they crossed the finish line near the legendary Nouch Sud buoy.
They were joined by Clément Giraud who, following his participation in the Vendée Arctic Les Sables d’Olonne will be able to participate in the Vendée Globe on Erik Nigon’s boat as he was unable to raise the necessary funds to be at the start.
Nicolas Troussel (Corum L’Épargne) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), two sailors who already have the Transat Jacques Vabre to their credit qualified with their own Race Direction approved 2000 miles solo course, as did Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean) recently from his native Catalonia. Penalized by the breakage of one of his foils in the early hours of the Vendée – Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne race, Sébastien Simon (Arkéa-Paprec) was able to rely on a replacement route (2,000 miles) to complete his required qualifying miles as a debuting skipper with a new build boat. Likewise, Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence), who suffered a damage in July, completed his registration file by making a clean passage also on a substitution course.
Sébastien Destremau, Last In But Sorted
Given the fact that he had completed the 2016 Vendée Globe Sébastien Destremau (Merci) had to complete a solo course of 2,000 miles. He had done most of a required passage when a broken spreader base forced him to retire. As a common sense dispensation, the race director suggested that he complete an additional 1,000-mile course before September 15. Sébastien who holds dual French and Australian nationalities and who completed the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 fulfilled his deal with the race direction on Thursday this week, and so he is 33rd and last registered in this Vendée Globe 2020!
Two major dates
The skippers have already entered two major dates on their calendar.
– On September 17, at the Palais Brongniart in Paris, there will be the press conference to present the event with all the sailors (subject to the rules imposed by sanitary conditions).
– On Friday October 16, the entire fleet must have reached Port Olona for the inauguration of the Vendée Globe village and the start of the gauge checks. There will be three weeks left before the big departure.