After the cancellation of many races that would have served as shakedowns and qualifiers for the 2020 Vendée Globe, The Vendée-Arctique les Sables d’Olonne Race was announced to help prospective racers get a few more miles under their keels before the fabled round-the-world race. The Vendée-Arctique les Sables d’Olonne Race, which comprised a north-south lap of the Atlantic, saw its first finishers yesterday with Jérémie Beyou on Charal in the lead, shortly followed by Charlie Dalin on Apivia and Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut. After 10 days at sea, they crossed the line within an hour and 10 minutes of one another. In fact, the top 10 all completed the race within six and a half hours of each other, proving that the Vendée Globe is still anyone’s game. Any tactical error or bit of bad luck will be devastating in a fleet this tight.
Despite the close finishes, this race was as much about the individual as the competition. “I didn’t feel like setting off on the Vendée Globe without at least having done a test race single-handed,” said Dalin. “To do that the Vendée-Arctique fulfilled its role perfectly as we had lots of situations to deal with, transitions and sail changes. It was a perfect training race to prepare for the Vendée Globe and thus validate all the work undertaken on the boats.”
As for the safety of putting on a regatta amidst a global pandemic (to replace other events cancelled over safety concerns, no less), there were plenty of measures taken to ensure the health of all involved, including mandatory onboard quarantines before the start. PRB’s Kévin Escoffier said he was very happy that IMOCA had managed to get this race established and approved. “The class has really worked well to be able to organize this,” he said. “Without this race, qualifying for the Vendée Globe would have been very complicated, for safety reasons too. IMOCA has managed it brilliantly.”
For more updates, and complete standing, visit imoca.org/en