Vendee Globe 2012 form guide

We take a more mathematical look at who might do well in the solo non-stop round the world race
This article is best viewed in Firefox or IE In these cash strapped times, it is rare to come across a yacht race where the size of the fleet ends up exceeding even the most optimistic predictions. But such is the nature of the Vendee Globe that here in Les Sables d’Olonne, prior to Saturday's start, there are an impressive 20 entries. Of these, six are new generation (ie built since the last race) while 11 were new for 2008. This year there are six nations represented, the bulk of course being French, or 12 of the 20. Beyond this there are two (Stamm and Wavre) from Switzerland, three (Thomson, Golding and Davies) from the UK, and one apiece from Spain (Sanso) Italy (di Benedetto) and, for the first time, Poland (Gutkowski). While in every Vendee Globe since 1996 there have been two female competitors, this year Sam Davies is the only one. While there are only five ‘rookies’ setting out tomorrow on their first ever Vendee Globe, interestingly 11 of the 20 have yet to complete a Vendee Globe. In other word, six have set out before, but have yet to complete the singlehanded non-stop around the world race. The worst track record in this respect is Bernard Stamm, who may have won two Around Alones/Velux 5 Oceans, but had to retire from the 2000 and 2008 Vendee Globes and after all but destroying his boat in the 2004 Transat, was unable to compete in that year’s race. In comparison Alex Thomson has had to pull out twice, as has Bertrand de Broc. Of the 11 that have yet to complete a Vendee Globe, four have successfully sailed around the world before. Among these the most capped is Bernard Stamm, who in addition to his two Around Alone/Velux 5 Oceans wins counts a