The world's most notorious circumnavigation, this non-stop,
single-handed and unaided sailing race departs
every four years from the Vendée port of Les Sables-d'Olonne







The 2016 race starts from Les Sables-d'Olonne
on Sunday 6 November 2016




Called "the Everest of the sea", the Vendée-Globe Challenge is
a yacht race open to 60ft monohulls – this time 29 yachts

will set off, including one British contender (Alex Thomson),

but – unusually – no women in the line-up.


The origins of the race lie in the voyage made by the Canadian Joshua Slocum,
first of the great single-handed circumnavigators, who sailed the
42,000 kilometres in three years, finishing in 1895. A hundred years later,
today's non-stop sailors accomplish this feat in an incredible
three months, with the finishers returning to a heroes' welcome at Les Sables-d’Olonne from late January 2017.
The winner stands to pocket 150,000 euros (about £100,000).


Safety is the organisers' watchword each time, and the contestants -
who each pay entrance fees of more than £6,000 - must complete certain
qualifying races, and sail 2,500 miles in their Vendée Globe yacht.
For two or three weeks before the race (this year from 20 October),
they have to be present in Les Sables for trials, safety checks
and to attend medical and survival courses. Yachts must be self-righting,
unsinkable, and have watertight bulkheads, survival doors, radar
transponders, and fluorescent keels.  Contestants receive identical digital weather maps, showing the position of large areas of low pressure (indicating storms).


For weeks before the start visitors throng the “Vendée Globe village,” which gives access to pontoons in Port Olona (the Les Sables marina) and gives
them a chance to admire the sleek lines of these craft, and to give encouragement
 to the courageous yachtsmen. Seen against those of more conventional yachts,
the 25-metre-high masts of the Vendée-Globe boats make an impressive
sight - especially when you think that skippers often have to scale the mast to
carry out running repairs while under way in hostile weather conditions.

Access to the “village” and pontoons this year will be from
20 October to 5 November 2016, from 10am to 8pm.



Click here for the list of 2016/2017 skippers



If you need a little help with the languages, you can copy-and-paste French text into
 the Google translation software. It may come out in slightly dislocated English,
but you should be able to get the gist of the information