Vendee Globe looks to the future

Potential skippers walk the docks in Les Sables d'Olonne

Monday October 29th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Following on their press meeting in London last year promoting potential skippers in their race, so skippers looking participate in the 2016-17 Vendee Globe has been visiting Les Sables d'Olonne to help get their campaigns off the ground. 

On 'skippers day' 14 skippers from nine different nations, some which haven't previously competed in the singlehanded round the world race were surveying the present Vendee Globe fleet currently assembled in Les Sables d'Olonne prior to the 10 November start. They were hosted by Bruno Retailleau, President of the General Council of the Vendée region and the tour led by the eminent Denis Horeau, the Vendee Globe's Race Director. 

"This is the first time that we have welcomed skippers attempting to compete in the next edition of the Vendée Globe," said Retailleau. "We realised organising this unique race just was not enough, but we also had to assist skippers way before the race to give them a better chance to eventually be at the start. Many of the potential participants are not French, which matches our plans to give the Vendée Globe the international dimension it deserves."

Attending skippers were:

Thomas Ruyant (FRA)
Raphaël Dinelli (FRA)
Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
Guillaume Lebrec (FRA)
Cecilia Carreri (ITA)
Steve White (ENG)
Christophe Bullens (BEL)
John Mac Kay (SCO)

Other skippers expected to be in the Race Village before the start include:

Norbert Sedlacek (AUT)
Jeff Lebesch (USA)
Yannick Bestaven (FRA)
Ross Hobson (ENG)
Boris Hermann (GER)
Alex Pella (ESP)

Steve White (GBR) said: "I’m sure being here today will help my project become even more real and my vision clearer. The Vendée Globe means the world to me, it makes anything else irrelevant, except my family of course. In the world of offshore sailing, nothing can compare, it is also the ultimate individual test, which is great for me. For some reason, I love pushing my limits and I also love being at sea."

Cecilia Carreri (ITA) commented: "The Vendée Globe is the ultimate dream, it’s the dream of my life. Being in such close contact with the organisation team throughout the day is going to make my project more solid and more attractive to sponsors. It’s really amazing!"

Mini Transat winner Thomas Ruyant (FRA) said: "I think this is a very good initiative. I had never been in Les Sables d’Olonne for a Vendée Globe start and I’m impressed. This has become a huge event with a huge organisation team."

Lionel Pariset (FRA) representing 2008-9 Vendee Globe competitor Norbert Sedlacek (AUT): "Norbert has already competed in the Vendée Globe twice and he wants to be back in the race in 2016, after designing and building a new Open 60’ yacht made of a new balsa wood and basalt composite, which is as resistant and efficient as carbon."

Christophe Bullens (BEL): "I wasn’t really lucky in the last Velux 5 Oceans so I really want to compete in the Vendée Globe. I’ll do my
very best to be here in 2016."

Long term Vendee Globe competitor Raphaël Dinelli (FRA) said: "I’m currently working on the development of my foundation and I can’t be at the start this year. Days like this make me realise how much I’m going to miss this race… I’ll do everything I can to participate in the 2016 edition on a yacht designed to use only renewable sources of energy."

Leading Figaro sailor Morgan Lagravière (FRA) said: "The Vendée Globe is the next logical step in my career. I’d really love to be at the start of this epic race. I know I can count on the Vendée General Council to help me in my search for sponsors."

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