#vendeeglobe – The countdown has begun for the 2016 Vendee Globe with the aim of displaying the best of what ocean racing has to offer. The projects currently underway were presented to the media in Les Sables d'Olonne on Monday.
Thirty six sailors are currently working to be at the start of the race in less than 1000 days time. Twenty-two of them presented their projects in Les Sables-d'Olonne at a media briefing organised by the SAEM Vendee, the company behind the Vendee Globe. Among them, Alex Thomson, third in the last race, and who will be lining up on Hugo Boss with his usual sense of humour declared, "Maybe not with the most competitive budget, at least we're the best looking team." Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq) and Morgan Lagraviere (Safran) will also be out there. Tanguy de Lamotte will be competing agin in the colours of Initiatives-Cœur, with his new boat (built for the 2008 race and returning after the last Vendee Globe). Armel Tripon, who has just got his hands on Kito de Pavant's former Groupe Bel is about to see his dream come true. The same goes for the German, Jorg Riechers, sponsored by Mare, who are the current owners of Jeremie Beyou's former Maitre Coq.
Among those hoping to line up for the next race, Alessandro di Benedetto, Arnaud Boissieres, Pascal Bidegorry, Corentin Douguet, Marc Guillemot, Alex Pella and Christopher Pratt took advantage of the opportunity to announce their intention of being at the start in 2016. The presence of Guo Chuan, the first Chinese racer to have sailed solo around the world (in 2013 on a Class40) confirmed how attractive the Vendee Globe is internationally. The aeronautical engineer travelled all the way to les Sables to present his IMOCA construction project.
SAEM Vendee has once again entrusted Denis Horeau with the role of race director. This will be the fifth time that he has taken up this post after the 1989, 2004, 2008 and 2012 races. The team was officially presented on Monday 17th March and Jacques Caraës who has just joined the team will be an important figure.