A non-stop, unassisted, singlehanded round the world race via the three capes, the Vendée Globe is the Holy Grail for solo sailors. Setting sail from Les Sables d’Olonne every four years, the ninth chapter of this reference race will start on 8 November 2020 at 12:02 GMT.
Created some 20 years ago by Philippe Jeantot, the Vendée Globe is the seminal event of French offshore racing and entered sporting legend from its very first edition in 1989, which was won by Titouan Lamazou after 109 days at sea. Some thirty or so years later, the skippers have shaved a third off the race time over an unchanged course.
The current record dates back to 2016-17 and is held by the Breton Armel Le Céac'h, who completed the 24,000 nautical miles (over 44,400 kilometres) in 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds, after an interminable battle with the Briton Alex Thomson, who secured the second spot.
The ninth edition of the race has left its mark on many levels: an exceptional field of 33 IMOCA boats at the start, a breathtaking battle throughout the race crowned by a memorable finish with eight arrivals in 24 hours, the rescue of Kevin Escoffier, a symbol of the values held by the sailors, and so many other things that make this Vendée Globe 2020 a historic race.