Saturday, October 31, 2020


In these pandemic sad times, it is very satisfying to see that nothing will stop the Vendée Globe, that contrary to other recent yacht races, will have the biggest number of racers ever. There will be 33 IMOCA and 33 sailors at the starting line and among them six women a vast improvement over the last edition that did not count any.

Sadly and for understandable reasons the crowd that used to salute the sailors when they leave Sables-d'Ollone will not be there and the Vendée Globe Village was closed and the crowds cannot visit the race boats and talk with the skippers but I bet that this edition will be, by far, the one most audience.

Never so many competitive boats were racing on a Vendée: 13 were built in the last 5 years and 16 boats are between 9 and 13 years old, among them 10 redesigned with foils and only 3 boats with 20 years or more. The victory should come from one of the new boats all sailed by very experienced sailors with the exception of Kojiro Shiraishi who sails a 2019 VPLP.

Also designed by VPLP, Charal (2018) sailed by Jérémie Beyou, Hugo Boss (2019) sailed by Alex Thomson. Verdier designed two, Apivia (2019) sailed by Charlie Dalin and Linkedout (2019) sailed by Thomas Ruyant. JK designed also two, Arkea-Paprec (2019) sailed by Sébastien Simon and Corum (2020) sailed by Nicolas Troussel and finally, Sam Manuard designed the last of the new boats, L'Occitane (2020), sailed by Armel Tripon.

On the last race ( Vendée-Arctique) Samantha Davis showed that she and Initiatives Coeur (2010-VPLP-Verdier), one of the boats that were redesigned with foils could be almost as fast as the new boats, in fact, she was way faster than  Kojiro Shiraishi on a new boat as well as Kevin Escoffier PRB (2009 -VPLP-Verdier) that arrived close to Samantha showing that they can fight, probably not for the victory but for a podium place.

L'Ocittane designed by Sam Manuard and sailed by Armel Tripon, the last to be launched and the most radical of all Imocas, did not prove well, not being very fast at the beginning and soon damaged and forced to retire. The boat was repaired and we will see if it goes faster on the Vendée, even if I have some doubts.

It is said that the two best solo offshore sailors, Armel Le Cléac'h and Francois Gabart will not be racing, having chosen to race multihulls instead of monohulls. In this race the new generation will try to beat the "old-timers", the most experienced and legendary ones, Alex Thompson, Jérémie Beyou and Samantha Davies and the best between the young guns seem to be Thomas Ruyant and Charlie Dalin.

Charlie comes from the Figaro where he was a champion and learned the ropes on the IMOCA class with Yann Eliès one of the best ever on the Figaro, but not very lucky on the bigger boats. Thomas Ruyant has a different formation, first a top mini-racer sailor, then a top 40 class racer and then making the last Vendée on an old boat, sailing fast and refusing to abandon his boat even when it was almost broken in two, managing to bring it to NZ. You can recall that incredible story here:

Now, the public attention he got allowed him to have more sponsorship and a new boat. On this Vendée, he is there not only to show what he is capable to do, but to try to win the race.

The Vendée will start at 1.02PM, November 8th and as usual, will be transmitted live on many television channels, on Facebook and Twiter. There's also an App that you can download to follow the race. Here:

As usual, I will follow the race here. After the Ocean Race unexpected postponement, this will be the biggest offshore sailing event of 2020/2021 and I say unexpected because these races are mostly followed on the internet, the crews spend most of the time at sea and in the case of the Ocean Race only minor adaptations and precautions would be needed for the race to take place.

I hope many of you choose to follow it with me enriching the blog with your comments, making it better and more fun.


  1. Hello Paulo, very goog article. The surname of Alex is without "p".
    Best regards.

  2. No app for Android? 😒 Was hoping to put flat earth friends in place once and for all.

    1. Yes there is. I just added it to the post:

  3. Notable mention for Clarisse, she is not a favorite of course think that just three years ago she was a nobody showing up on the scene of the ocean racing with her incredible second place in the mini transat and now she is at the start of the Vendee Globe...

  4. Yes, without doubt she is a great sailor and I believe she will sail fast on the Vendée and I say this based on her performance on the Vendée-Artique.

    I have to say that I was not expecting such a good performance.

    I find a bit unfair she got an IMOCA faster than other women, not only due to her sailing skills, but also due to her media skills and her image: a pretty girl, a bit silly, that created a very popular image and a good bet for sponsors, due to her popularity.

    Probably Justine Mettraux deserved more to be here, also 2nd on the Minis but, on the following years, also with good results on the intermediate solo classes, on the Figaro and class 40 and being part of the crew that won the last VOR.

    She tried to have a boat for this Vendée but could not find sponsors that allowed her to have a minimum competitive boat, like the one Clarisse has. Being Swiss (and not French) did not help too, neither being a discreet kind of woman without the pop appeal Clarisse has.