Winner of the Vendée Globe 2016-17 with Armel Le Cléac’h, Banque Populaire VIII was bought by Louis Burton even before the start of her victorious round the world race and been sold before she finished on the podium in the following edition.
In that particular year, 2015, ‘just’ six IMOCA monohulls were built, all of them VPLP-Verdier designs. The first racing season comprised a year of fine-tuning with Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly, who finished 2nd in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Reinforced and equipped with new foils better suited to upwind sailing, the solo sailor overwhelmed the competition in The Transat, but hit a UFO during the subsequent New York-Vendée race, forcing him to retire from the race. Next, the boat was thoroughly optimised enabling her to dominate in the Défi Azimut and then the Vendée Globe after an epic duel to the finish with Alex Thomson and the event record of 74 days 3 hours 35 minutes…
Louis Burton was the man to take over the old Banque Populaire VIII, embarking Servane Escoffier aboard his new Bureau Vallée 2 for the 2017 season. The couple finished 7th in the Transat Jacques Vabre, but Louis had to retire from the Route du Rhum the following year due to water ingress via the foil casing. In 2019, he finished 10th in the Coffee Route with Davy Beaudart. In 2020, he took the start of the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe and, having sailed a stunning race full of daring despite numerous technical issues, the sailor from Saint Malo crossed the finish line in 2nd position, placing 3rd in the final ranking once the sailors who rescued the shipwrecked Kevin Escoffier were awarded their time bonuses.
At the end of his second solo circumnavigation, Pip Hare, one of the revelations of this edition, took over the reins of this foiler which then became Medallia. Having sold the boat on, Louis Burton not only took care of the ‘After Sales Service’, but also invited the Briton on The Ocean Race Europe on his new Manuard design. On her return, the sailor set about adding a ‘feminine touch’ to Medallia, in her own words, avoiding rushing things and focusing on racking up the miles on this foiler which she was familiarising herself with and whose violence scares her at times. In 2022, with a view to participating in the Route du Rhum, Pip Hare competed in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, then the Vendée Arctique ranking 17th and 13th, before a series of sailing sessions in Cascaïs in Portugal, to amass experience offshore in breezy conditions.