Skip to main content

Vendée Globe 2020-21: And They’re Off!

The Vendée Globe kicked off its 2020-2021 edition yesterday and the first 24 hours have led to excitement and disappointment in equal measure. The beloved French race got underway with little fanfare as the millions of people who typically come out for the start of the race were forced to stay home due to France’s Covid outbreak. In conjunction with skippers having to quarantine before the start (no final hugs on the docks from families or loved ones) it was a somewhat bleak and lonely start, though perhaps fitting for a race that reliably is both bleak and lonely.  

Through the first night, Jeremie Beyou aboard Charal led the pack west across the Bay of Biscay. As the fleet turns south, the original frontrunners have sunk back slightly in the scoring but will benefit from better wind angles and are likely to make up any lost ground.

“We had nice conditions, the sailing was fast and there was a nice group of boats to line up with,” says Sam Davies of Innitiatives-Coeur, who hopes to be the first woman on this race's podium since Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2000-2001. Of the six women in the fleet, she's one of the strongest contenders, having placed fourth in 2008-2009. “Then a maneuver right in the middle of the night, change sails and get through a little light patch and then some more breeze hit. It was pretty active, not much time to rest, but that’s probably good because I think on the first night it’s quite difficult to get proper rest.”

English Vendée veteran Alex Thompson on Hugo Boss was near the front of the pack until that middle of the night maneuver led to a struggle with his J3. “That cost me about seven miles,” He also snagged some fishing tackle and had engine trouble, “but apart from that, uneventful” he cheerfully recounted. Of course, in these early days of the race when the pack is so close, a few miles can make a big difference on the leaderboard.

The Vendée is a non-stop solo around the world race, but it does make one exception. You may return to the start to make repairs. Fabrice Amedeo is taking advantage of this to repair a headsail hook aboard his boat, Newrest–Art & Fenêtres, and at press time has fallen 200 miles behind the rest of the fleet. With a whole circumnavigation ahead, anything could still happen, but Vendée sources report that he’s “bitterly disappointed.” No word yet on how long it will be before he’s back on the water, other than that it’s anticipated to be a “fast pitstop.”

Click here for the race tracker and here for the latest updates. 

November 2020

Related

00-LEAD-JB13-RT1169

What's it Like to Sail a Legend?

In 1851, the New York pilot schooner America sailed to England, beat the Brits at their own prestigious yacht race (which came to be known as the America’s Cup), and launched an evolution of the East Coast’s pilot craft into vessels that were the envy of the world. Their ...read more

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more