There are three days to go before the start of the Vendée Globe, the nonstop solo round-the-world voyage via the Cape of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn starting from Les Sables d’Olonne. The little town of Vendée is in turmoil, the skippers are all ready and it is time to present them to you with a big table. We have included, in alphabetical order, all 29 participants (so many, one less than the 2008-09 edition, the busiest since 1989): for each one, we have indicated the age, the name of the boat, whether or not it is a traditional IMOCA 60 or equipped with state-of-the-art foils, the year of launching, the previous names of the boat, and whether the skipper is making his or her World Tour debut or has previous experience. Take a look below and then let us know with a comment, in your opinion, who will win
THE FAVORITES (MAYBE)
It is clear that, if they can be reliable, hulls with foils (which at the Transat Jacques Vabre, were an absolute flop, but now it is assumed that VPLP/Verdier designers have taken the appropriate countermeasures and that skippers have learned how to handle this type of boat) will have an edge, in terms of speed. So in the spotlight is Armel Le Cleac’h with his Banque Populaire VIII, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, Sébastien Josse on Edmond de Rothschild, Morgan Lagravière on Safran, and Jean-Pierre Dick on St. Michel-Virbac. They are joined by the very strong Jérémie Beyou with Maître CoQ, a 2010 hull but equipped with retrofitted foils. Let’s not put Pieter Heerema, the Dutch business man who bought Andrea Mura‘s brand new boat, among the favorites. The boat is a bomb, but the skipper is on his first ocean experience and by his own admission “the important thing will be to arrive.”
It will be a Vendée without Italians, unfortunately: Alessandro Di Benedetto, who participated in the 2012-13 edition, was unable to find the funds to participate and so was Andrea Mura, who was forced to sell the boat to the aforementioned Heerema. Giancarlo Pedote also didn’t make it, but the Vendée remains his dream, and in Les Sables d’Olonne he was seen at the day dedicated to sailors who would like to take part in the 2019-20 edition. Let’s hope well! We conclude by mentioning that, in Les Sables, there will be for us the legendary Matteo Miceli who will tell us about his “lightning strikes,” i.e., characters, design solutions, curiosities that caught his attention as an ocean sailor! Stay Tuned!