Alone. Nonstop. Around the World. No Assistance. That is the Vendée Globe. The next race starts from France in November.
But before that happens, there is a “warm-up” or qualifying race this year. Match Racing on the Vendée Arctic -Les Sables d’Olonne Race.
The Vendée Arctic race started in Les Sables d’Olonne in the French Vendée. The course takes them to the edge of the Arctic Circle. It is the only qualifying race this year, and as many as ⅓ of the sailors hoping to compete in the Vendée Globe need to complete the race in order to compete in the November race. It is one of the most grueling sports competitions on the planet.
At 62 degrees north, some five days and 20 hours into this 2800 nautical miles Vendée Globe warm up race, Ruyant rounded the most northerly mark of the course with a margin of just six minutes over second placed Charlie Dalin, turning at the mid-point, virtual mark of the at 1141hrs [Central European Time] this Thursday 9th July. And this afternoon not long after the mark, the top three boats, Ruyant’s LinkedOut, Dalin’s Apivia and Jérémie Beyou on Charal were still separated by less than three miles.
Strange to think a sail of several thousand miles, to the edge of the Arctic and back, is only a small taste of what they will face in November.