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25 solo skippers set for the start of the Vendée Arctic – Les Sables d’Olonne

Alain Leboeuf, President of SAEM Vendée and the Department of Vendée has just presented the skippers of the second edition of the Vendée Arctic – Les Sables d’Olonne, more than 2 years from the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe.

The sporting as well as the media successes of the phenomenal 2020-2021 edition have really stimulated skippers’ projects and their sponsors, so that this time the transition phase from one race to the next has proven to be particularly short. The Vendée Arctic is the first of the five races* for skippers to qualify to be at the start of the the Vendée Globe 2024. So naturally skippers want to get qualified as quickly as possible.

The start of the Vendée Arctic will be sounded on Sunday June 12 at 1700hrs local time off Les Sables d’Olonne. The 25 skippers will then face 3,500 miles of a challenging and unprecedented course, which will take them on a race of discovery to the northern waters of the Arctic Circle.

The Vendée is a French Department for which tourism is a main economic activity. It is looking to strengthen its position as a premium organizer of offshore ocean races at the same time seeking to lengthen and augment their tourist seasons. In the pure tradition of the Vendée Globe, the race embraces its widespread popular following with a large race village open in Les Sables d’Olonne for three weeks, from June 4 to 26.

The festivities will begin with a Grand Parade of 2020-2021 Vendée Globe skippers on Friday June 3 at 9.30 p.m.

The Vendée Arctic – Les Sables d’Olonne – A high level entry

Seventeen of the 25 skippers who have entered the Vendée Arctic competed in the Vendée Globe; 15 took the start on November 8, 2020. Eight sailors are therefore competing in this race as they head forwards on their course towards their first Vendée Globe.

The “seasoned” Vendée Globe (17 skippers):

These skippers raced the ninth edition in 2020 (15 skippers): Fabrice Amedeo (Nexans – Art & Fenetres), Romain Attanasio (Fortinet – Best Western), Jérémie Beyou (Charal), Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline), Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée), Manuel Cousin (Sétin Group), Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Benjamin Dutreux (Guyot Environnement – Water Family), Pip Hare (Medallia), Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group), Alan Roura (Hublot), Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), Damien Seguin (Apicil Group), Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG Mori Global One).

Among them, two female skippers: Pip Hare (Medallia), Isabelle Joschke (MACSF)

They raced the eighth edition in 2016 (2 skippers): Éric Bellion (Comme un seul Homme powered by Altavia), Conrad Colman (Imagine).

The “Rookies” who dream of their 1st Vendée Globe in 2024 (8 skippers):

Antoine Cornic (Ebac Literie), Louis Duc (Fives – Lantana Environnement), Benjamin Ferré (Benjamin envoie le Pépin), Nicolas Lunven (Banque Populaire), Sébastien Marsset (Cap Agir Ensemble), Guirec Soudée (, Szabolcs Weöres (Hongrois, Szabi Racing), Denis Van Weynbergh (Belge, Laboratoires de Biarritz).

The skippers in figures:

  • 25 participants including 2 female skippers (Pip Hare and Isabelle Joschke)
  • 8 international skippers: Szabolcs Weöres (Hungarian), Denis Van Weynbergh (Belgian), Pip Hare (British), Isabelle Joschke (French-German), Giancarlo Pedote (Italian), Alan Roura (Swiss), Kojiro Shiraishi (Japanese), Conrad Colman (American and New Zealander).
  • 10 nationalities represented including binationals: France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, United States.
  • The fleet is made up of 14 IMOCAs with foils, and 11 IMOCAs with straight daggerboards.

The list of 25 skippers is here

A grand parade and a start village

In line with the Vendée Globe, the Vendée Arctic embraces its popular following. The festivities will begin with the great parade of Vendée Globe skippers, which will take place on Friday June 3, from 9.30 p.m. The SAEM Vendée really wanted to thank and celebrate its skippers for the 2020-2021 edition which could not be done last year due to health restrictions. This festive parade on the embankment of Les Sables d’Olonne will conclude with a pyro-musical show by Jacques Couturier, around 11 p.m., visible from the Grande Plage.

The departure village, accessible to all, will be open from Saturday June 4 at 10 a.m. to Sunday June 12 with the 25 boats moored at the pontoon.

From June 15, it will reopen, transformed into a race village. It will be the anchor point for the public and the place to welcome skippers on their arrival. Entertainment and information throughout the day.

Discover: the spaces of the Department of Vendée, Vendée Tourism and other actors of the village will accompany the discovery of the race, sports projects and territories.

The Arctic theme will be at the heart of the event with a photo exhibition on the Arctic by Florian Ledoux, the presence of Under the Pole and Pure Ocean with their awareness stands.

Have fun: a 200 m2 synthetic ice rink, Virtual Regatta Inshore challenges open to the public, daily quizzes and, from June 15, remote-controlled sailboat races and a waterball challenge will give the village its playful dimension. Concerts, as well as the music festival on June 21, will help to highlight the festive spirit of the village.

Get informed: The Lives will also be in the heart of the village with daily round tables at 3 p.m. and the Live pontoon with the skippers at 7 p.m. which will keep its schedule during the race with daily Lives from the village stage with the skippers at sea.

The complete program of events here

5 dates to note

  • June 3, 9:30 p.m.: the big parade of Vendée Globe 2020-2021 skippers.
  • June 4:
    • 10 a.m.: Opening of the start village to the public.
    • 5:00 p.m.: Runs in the Baie des Sables.
    • 9.30 p.m.: Presentation of the skippers on the village stage.
  • June 12, 5:00 p.m.: Start of the Vendée Arctic – Les Sables d’Olonne.
  • Around June 22: Arrivals are expected
  • June 26, 5:00 p.m.: Award ceremony

*Note: These five qualifying races are the Vendée Arctic on June 12, the Route du Rhum in November 2022, the Return to Base in November 2023, the Transat CIC in May 2024 and the New York Vendée in July 2024.

In addition to the imperative of sporting qualification, there is also that of selection: because to be one of the 40 starters in the Vendée Globe 2024, you will have to have run the most miles in the races of the IMOCA GLOBE SERIES Championship.

Official Website:

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