Bruno Retailleau, President of the Vendee Council officially launched the seventh Vendee Globe at a press conference organised on Wednesday at the Paris Boat Show. The Vendée Globe 2012/2013 will set sail from les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 11th November 2012 at 1400hrs GMT and already looks like being a vintage edition. With two years to go to the start, twelve sailors have already announced their intention of taking part.
Bruno Retailleau, President of the Vendée Council, Louis Guédon, MP and Mayor of les Sables d’Olonne, Luc Talbourdet, President of the IMOCA class and Patricia Brochard, CEO of Sodebo officially launched the seventh Vendée Globe on Wednesday 8th November at the Nautic, the Paris Boat Show. After reminding everyone of the unique character of the Vendée Globe, an event which is a major sporting event, but also important in terms of the media coverage and the economic consequences (1.7 million people attended the start and the finish generating revenue estimated to be worth more than 39 million euros), Bruno Retailleau announced the official publication of the Notice of Race. He reminded everyone that “the event fits in perfectly with the identity of Vendée, the department so closely linked to the sea” before revealing the new features in the 2012-2013 event.
Start on 11th November 2012 at 14hrs GMT
In order to encourage the public, the date chosen for the start coincides with the middle of the half-term holidays in France and is in fact a bank holiday: the starting gun will go off on Sunday 11th November 2012 at 14hrs GMT. 28 sailors are expected to line up to attempt this adventure, including one previous winner: Vincent Riou (PRB). As for the organisers, they were pleased to learn about the recent project announced by François Gabart (Macif), who will be building his own 60-foot IMOCA boat with the Vendée Globe in mind. The technical details for this project will be taken care of by a certain Michel Desjoyeaux, twice winner of the Vendée Globe.
With two years to go to the start, twelve projects are already complete, or in other words one more than at the same time in the previous edition, and we can already confirm the names of nine of them: Arnaud Boissières (FRA, Akena Verandas), Kito de Pavant (FRA, Groupe Bel), Alex Thomson (GB, Hugo Boss), Vincent Riou (FRA, PRB), Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA, Virbac-Paprec), Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud), Bernard Stamm (SUI, Cheminées Poujoulat), François Gabart (FRA, Macif) and Safran (FRA).
Bruno Retailleau also explained that some projects are due to be finalised in the first half of 2011, and these include Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Mike Golding (GB). Finally, “Around ten other skippers have officially announced that they would like to take part in the race and are in contact with a sponsor.” They are Jérémie Beyou (FRA), Yannick Bestaven (FRA), Samantha Davies (GB), Raphaël Dinelli (FRA), Rich Wilson (USA), Yann Elies (FRA), Boris Herrmann (ALL), Dee Caffari (GB), Marc Emig (FRA), a Polish and a Spanish sailor. So in all there are around thirty sailors seriously committed to signing up to line up for the start on 11th November 2012.
As for the boats, at least six new IMOCA monohulls are due to start the race, including the three VPLP-Verdier designed boats sailed by Vincent Riou, Jean-Pierre Dick and François Gabart as well as Bernard Stamm’s Juan K-designed boat. Two other boats are in the process of being built.
New safety arrangements
We can also see that some new safety measures have been put in place, linked to the modifications to IMOCA class rules aimed at reducing damage to masts and keels: power limited by the new righting moment, an air draught limited to 29 metres, annual checks on all the masts and keels, which have to conform to stricter construction rules. In addition, the emergency hatch will have to be located above the waterline and each skipper will have to wear an individual beacon at all times.
For 2012, the prize money will be increased by 100,000 euros in comparison to the last race, which takes it to a total of 600,000 euros (including 160,000 € for the winner, 100,000 € for the runner-up and 75,000 € for third place). As for the Race Directors, an invitation for tender will go out to recruit the Race Director for the 2012-2013 race, and Mathias Lallemand will be taking on the role of permanent shore-based assistant director. Two other developments were announced: the race will be even more of an international affair and there will be a major change to the race village: a new Race Village will be built in Port Olona, and for the first time a Vendée Globe Village will also be set up in Paris.
With the publication of the Notice of Race, registrations can officially begin and will be open until 1st July 2012. The countdown has begun.
Bruno Retailleau (President of the Vendée Council): "I wish to remind everyone and stress once again how attached we are to the Vendée Globe, which is a sort of marker for us, a real DNA breakdown of what Vendée is. This race is extremely important because of its philosophy, the purity of the sporting spirit of the race and its huge popular success with the general public and the media. The Vendée Globe fits in with Vendée, which is a French department closely linked to the sea and we know its dangers and pleasures. Apart from safety, which is an ongoing concern, we are working on the next race to develop it as an international event, while opening up its educational aspects. In fact, we intend that after the start of the race on the 11th November in les Sables d'Olonne, the Vendée Globe Village will move to Paris so that even more people can enjoy its educational features. I would like to thank the race partners, the town of les Sables, the Vendée Chamber of Commerce, the IMOCA class, but also our headline partner Sodebo, a businesss that is anchored in Vendée and which has never forgotten its basic values in spite of its huge success. Involved in sailing for twelve years Sodebo will be alongside us for the third consecutive race and I would like to thank their President Patricia Brochard".
Louis Guédon (Mayor of les Sables d’Olonne): "A few years back, we wondered whether we weren’t assassins to allow sailors to set off non stop around the world alone and without outside help. Today, even if there is still a risk, the Vendée Globe has become an event where safety remains paramount".
Patricia Brochard (CEO of Sodebo): " Thanks to sailing and the Vendée Globe, the reputation of our company has made giant leaps forward and I invite those companies, who still hesitate to become involved in sailing, which is a remarkable means of communication. The Vendée Globe is a living legend and a race in which, as in our business, a human remains at the heart of the event".
Luc Talbourdet (President of the IMOCA class): "It is both an act of homage and a responsibility for the IMOCA class to work with the Vendée Globe. There is no other sport where those taking part are so well known. We are continuing our work with the SEM Vendée and are able to offer them our opinion. Sailing remains a sport with risks. We know that, but our role is to keep these risks in check as much as we can and we continue our work attempting to improve safety through changes to our rules".