Winner of the Vendée Globe 2016-17, Banque Populaire VIII was bought up by Louis Burton before she’d even completed her victorious round the world!
It’s interesting to note that in 2015, just six IMOCA monohulls were built, all of them VPLP-Verdier designs. The first racing season involved a year of fine-tuning with Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly, who finished second in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015.
Reinforced and equipped with new foils better suited to upwind sailing, her skipper singlehandedly overwhelmed the competition in The Transat, but hit a UFO during the New York-Vendée, forcing him to retire from the race. In the autumn of 2016, the boat was thoroughly optimised so that she was able to dominate in the Défi Azimut and then again in the Vendée Globe, after an epic duel to the finish with Alex Thomson. As such, the ex-Banque Populaire VIII holds the reference time for the event with a time of 74 days 03 hours 35 minutes…
Louis Burton embarks Servane Escoffier for the 2017 season with the Transat Jacques Vabre (7th), but has to abandon the Route du Rhum the following year due to a water ingress by a foil well. 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 crossed the finish line in 2nd position (finished 3rd in the ranking).
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.