Can Alex Thompson lift the Vendee Globe laurels from the French in this toughest of ocean races?
Runner up last time to Armel Le Cleac’h, and third in 2012/13 he is well placed to become the first non French winner of this famous non stop round the world yacht race.
Starting on Sunday 8th November at 12.02 GMT (13.02 local time) from Les Stables-d’Olonne harbour on France’s western coast between St Nazaire to the north and La Rochelle to the south.
Thirty-three entrants are contesting this, the 9th Vendee Globe which has been held every four years since 1992.
This challenging non stop, solo around the world race covers 24,296 nautical miles and was last won in 2017 by Armel Le Cleac’h taking 74 days to complete.
However, the UK’s Alex Thompson sailing brand new IMOCA Hugo Boss is confident of doing better suggesting race times of between 59 and 70 days this time.
Also representing the UK is Pip Hare sailing Medallia, based in Poole harbour she has raised most of her sponsorship money herself.
“It’s been a long road to get to the start of this race – and one I’ve been dreaming of since I was 16.
“So I am having to pinch myself that I’m actually here and about to set off around the world, non-stop, on my own. And to do that in a fleet that includes such incredible sailors – including five other women – is amazing.
“I have to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped get me to this point – I couldn’t have done it without them. So now it’s up to me and Medallia to do the very best we can in this iconic race and make everyone proud- and I can’t wait to do just that.”
In the run up to the race all the skippers have had extensive medical checks and First Aid training so let’s hope everyone stays safe.
The organisers have decided that boats over the line at the start must serve a time penalty rather than attempt to turn back as an extra safety measure.