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One Year Out From The Vendée Globe 2024

10th November 2023
Last time round - French skipper Thomas Ruyant, sailing on the Imoca LinkedOut, prior for the 2020 Vendee Globe
Last time round - French skipper Thomas Ruyant, sailing on the Imoca LinkedOut, prior for the 2020 Vendee Globe Credit: Pierre Bouras

On 10 November 2024, the Vendée Globe skippers will set off on the 10th edition of the non-stop, non-assisted, single-handed round-the-world race.

They will sail down the legendary Les Sables d'Olonne channel, cheered on enthusiastically by the public in Vendée, before setting off across the seas of the globe and attempting to beat Armel Le Cléac'h's record by completing the 45,000-kilometre course in less than 74 days, 3 hours and 35 minutes.

The toughest sailing race

Nicknamed the Everest of the seas, the Vendée Globe is the most demanding of all sailing races. Kojiro Shiraishi, the Japanese skipper who has already finished the circumnavigation in the 2020 edition, can testify: "There is no safe place on the Vendée Globe course. The southern seas are the most hostile, but from start to finish, there is danger everywhere." But its toughness is also its beauty: "It's the most extreme and the most beautiful race", confides Arnaud Boissières, who is about to participate in his fifth Vendée Globe.

Benjamin Ferré, a young rookie, adds: "It's the greatest race of all, the one that most people dream about, and it has incredible symbolism: it's one man, alone on his boat, sailing around the planet. It's the most poetic thing in the world, and that's why it brings people together so much." He continues: "We come here to find the value of deprivation: we leave what we love most in the world so that we can be even more aware of it when we find it again". While the skippers come to learn about their limits, above all they learn to go beyond them. In the most remote corners of the planet, on the most hostile seas, they seek to apprehend the unknown: "It's this unknown that makes this race so unique", adds Arnaud Boissières.

An eagerly awaited popular event

During a Vendée Globe, the skippers forge very close links with the public, who are always in ever greater numbers in the village of Les Sables d'Olonne and on the sides of the channel for the start and for all the finishes. Paul Meilhat - forced to retire in 2016 and returning in 2024 - remembers: "The descent of the channel in Les Sables d'Olonne, in terms of emotions, is one of the most powerful moments I have ever lived through".

As well as being a sporting competition and an extraordinary adventure, the Vendée Globe is also one of the biggest popular sporting events in France. The event is becoming increasingly international with every edition: in 2024, 1/3 of the candidates are international.

Strong enthusiasm for this 10th edition

Alain Leboeuf, President of the Vendée Globe: "We are extremely enthusiastic about celebrating the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe in 2024. Never before has the event generated such enthusiasm. This anniversary edition promises to leave a lasting impression".

The first record for 2024 is the number of candidates: 44 for 40 places at the start.

Published in Vendee Globe Team

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The 2024 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 44 skippers are aiming for the tenth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 10 2024 and will be expected back in mid-January 2025.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

Vendee Globe 2024 Key Figures

  • 10th edition
  • Six women (vs six in 2020)
  • 16 international skippers (vs 12 in 2020)
  • 11 nationalities represented: France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, China, USA, New Zealand (vs 9 in 2020)
  • 18 rookies (vs 20 in 2020)
  • 30 causes supported
  • 14 new IMOCAs (vs 9 in 2020)
  • Two 'handisport' skippers

At A Glance - Vendee Globe 2024

The 10th edition will leave from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, 2024

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