2020-21 Vendée Timeline

Author:
Publish date:

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which included 33 solo sailors racing IMOCA 60s, truly brought Hollywood-levels of drama. Here’s a recap of the race’s highs and lows.

VendeePromo

11/7 Due to pandemic restrictions, the skippers undergo strict quarantining and testing before the race starts. The race village is closed early and sendoff festivities are limited.

11/8 The fleet leaves Les Sables d’Olonne. Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest—Art & Fenêtres) returns to port immediately after the start to make repairs to a headsail hook.

11/11 800 miles in, Jérémie Beyou (Charal), a race favorite who’d already had a taste of leading the fleet, returns to Les Sables d’Olonne to make repairs. Though the rules allow for returning and restarting, he will be six days and 2,500 miles behind the fleet by the time his boat is ready to go.

11/16 Nicolas Troussel (CORUM L’Epargne) is dismasted near Cape Verde after which he is the first to retire. He is in 12th place at the time.

11/18 Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss)—one of the strongest sailors in the fleet and back for his fifth Vendée Globe—is the first to cross the Equator with a healthy lead of 70 miles.

11/22 Thomson discovers structural damage aboard his brand-new boat. While making repairs, he drops from first to 14th in a matter of days.

11/30 Charlie Dalin (APIVA) leads the fleet around The Cape of Good Hope. Kevin Escoffier’s boat (PRB) sinks hundreds of miles southeast of Cape Town after slamming into a wave. Another one of the ill-fated race favorites, he’d been in third place. His four closest competitors divert from their races to search for his liferaft.

12/1 Jean Le Cam (Yes we Cam!) locates Escoffier in the early hours of the morning and in an outstanding feat of seamanship is able to take him aboard.

12/2 During a video call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Le Cam and Escoffier apologize for violating France’s social-distancing rules. Macron seems OK with it.

12/4 Thomson arrives in Cape Town to survey damage to his starboard rudder and retires from the race, his third time abandoning a Vendée Globe.

12/5 Sam Davies (Initiatives-Coeur) and Sebastien Simon (Arkea Paprec) arrive in Cape Town and also abandon their races due to damage. They’d been in 10th and fourth place respectively.

12/11 Fabrice Amedeo returns to Cape Town and retires after his backup computing system fails. He’d been in 21st.

12/14 Davies leaves Cape Town to complete her circumnavigation after having made the necessary repairs. She is no longer officially competing as a result of having received outside help with her repairs.

12/25 After 15,800 miles, Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club De Monaco) and Jean Le Cam spend Christmas together with less than a mile separating their boats.

1/2 Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) rounds Cape Horn in first place with a 160-mile lead.

1/10 Isabelle Joschke’s canting keel on MACSF, which had been jury-rigged to stay on centerline after a previous failure, breaks and cannot be secured in place. She is in 11th place when forced to retire in the home stretch of the Atlantic.

1/16 In an incredibly close Atlantic sprint, Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) makes it to the Equator first. Sébastien Destremau (Merci) retires in New Zealand after a series of problems including a cracked bow. He was in 26th.

1/27 Charlie Dalin arrives in Les Sables d’Olonne after 80 days, 6 hours and 15 minutes, taking line honors, but...

1/28 Yannick Bestaven wins the Vendée Globe with a corrected time of 80 days, 3 hours and 44 minutes, having been credited 10 hours and 15 minutes for his role in the search for Escoffier. The top eight boats finish within 24 hours of one another, an incredibly close finish. 

All images courtesy of 2020-21 Vendee Globe

April 2021

Related

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more

Dreramcatcher -Cate Brown

Marblehead to Halifax Canceled; Alternative Races Planned

The Marblehead to Halifax race that was scheduled for this summer has been canceled due to continuing Covid concerns. Organizers at the Boston Yacht Club and Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron who co-sponsor the event have made the decision because of uncertainty about when the ...read more

SailGP-Team

SailGP Announces Roster and Coach Additions

Athletes Daniela Moroz, CJ Perez and Paul Campbell-James have been added to The United States’ SailGP lineup. Also joining the team will be head coach Philippe Presti. Moroz is a four-time Formula Kite World Champion and two-time U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman-of-the-Year. ...read more

NEW-westcoastmultihullsmob

Chartering the West Coast

Although two-thirds of the U.S. boating population lives along the Eastern Seaboard, there are many hardy and enthusiastic cruising sailors on the “left coast” as well. Better still, if you’re looking to charter on the Pacific side, there’s plenty of great sailing and many clubs ...read more