Vendée Globe: “We couldn’t imagine a start without an audience”

Roland Garros ? Postponed. The tour of France ? Postponed. If the two main annual meetings of the French sports calendar had to change their dates to be able to be held normally in the context of the Covid-19 health crisis, another tricolor juggernaut quickly returned to the discussions as soon as the confinement pronounced in March .

The Vendée Globe, the most prestigious single-handed sailing race in the world, the ultimate adventure contested non-stop and without assistance via three legendary capes (Bonne-Espérance, Leeuwin and Horn) and three oceans (Atlantic, Indian, Pacific), he said. be able to set off from Les Sables d’Olonne in early November?

→ LAST MAY… A Vendée Globe with or without an audience

Have you asked yourself the question? “Asks, teasing, Yves Auvinet when we want to know if a postponement to 2021 of the“ Vendée ”, which takes place every four years, has been considered in recent months. ” When the pandemic arrived, obviously the question was addressed but we never wanted to sink into pessimism », Continues the president of the general council of Vendée and president of the SAEM Vendée which organizes the race. ” We have always been optimistic despite the situation. This Vendée Globe, we’ve been preparing for it for two years and I’ve never been afraid it won’t leave. At worst, only the race would start.

At worst », The expression is released by the conductor of the round the world. Because, any major sporting event and any “Everest of the seas” that it is, the Vendée Globe is also worth the crowd it drains in Les Sables d’Olonne. Hundreds of thousands of people follow one another for three weeks in the heart of the Sablais departure village, on the day of departure and the successive days of arrival of the lone sailors. During the last edition in 2016-2017, the organizer thus put forward the figure of two million spectators in total (including 350,000 at the start). An impressive crowd that is part of the race’s DNA and that should be pampered.

A starting village of 30,000 m²

A public that the SAEM Vendée did not plan to leave stranded this fall near Les Sables. ” We couldn’t imagine a departure without an audience », Confirms Yves Auvinet,« contact case »stayed at home on Thursday, September 17, while the Vendée Globe made its great Parisian presentation in the prestigious setting of the Palais Brongniart. ” The Vendée Globe is a human adventure inseparable from its audience.

→ READ. In sailing races, the wind is money

However, the new coronavirus is still there. And, from next October 17, the opening date of a departure village whose area of ​​30,000 m² has not been reduced despite the context, the organizers obviously plan to adapt their reception to the health recommendations required by authorities. A necessary step to maintain the event and maintain a link with the public.

We had to work well and be responsible, insists Yves Auvinet while the protocol is still in the discussion phase and could still evolve by the beginning of November if the situation requires it. Everyone will understand the health protocol, even if there are constraints. For this departure, we do not exclude the party. Caution should not turn into stagnation.

“Thank you to the organizers”

While the professionals of Sablais and Vendée tourism are also impatiently awaiting the “Vendée”, the town of Sables d’Olonne wants to perpetuate the tradition as best as possible. ” We must remain attractive to the loved one, gets carried away Yannick Moreau, the mayor of Sablé. The city has become beautiful for you, with an enlarged Vendée Globe square to better accommodate the public. We put on our finery.

A commendable effort that even the skippers salute. ” There is pressure because we note the efforts of the organizers who managed to keep the race going, said Louis Burton, skipper of Bureau Vallée, during the presentation of the event. It makes you want to do the best possible … ” On the pontoons, a saying goes that being at the start of the Vendée Globe is already a first victory. This is certainly even more true this year.


Opening of the village starting October 17 in Les Sables d’Olonne

Reception capacity limited to 5,000 people at the same time, with real-time flow management and an imposed direction of movement

Free access, on reservation

Mandatory mask wearing and respect for barrier gestures

For the skippers, strict containment seven days before departure

Obligation to present a negative PCR test dated less than 72 hours for the organization, teams and media


33 skippers at the start, including 6 women

Alexia Barrier (TSE – 4MyPlanet, rookie)
Manuel Cousin (Sétin Group, rookie)
Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X, rookie)
Charlie Dalin (Apivia, rookie)
Benjamin Dutreux (Omia – Water Family, rookie)
Kevin Escoffier (PRB, rookie)
Clément Giraud (Bed company – Jiliti, rookie)
Damien Seguin (Apicil Group, rookie)
Sébastien Simon (Arkea – Paprec, rookie)
Maxime Sorel (V and B – Mayenne, rookie)
Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence, rookie)
Nicolas Troussel (Corum L’Epargne, rookie)
Pip Hare (GBR / Medallia, rookie)
Boris Herrmann (ALL / Sea Explorer – Yacht Club Monaco, rookie)
Ari Huusela (FIN / Stark, rookie)
Isabelle Joschke (FRA-ALL / MACSF, rookie)
Miranda Merron (GBR / Campagne de France, rookie)
Giancarlo Pedote (ITA / Prysmian Group, rookie)
Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest – Art & Fenêtres, 2e participation)
Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best Western, 2e participation)
Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV, 2e participation)
Didac Costa (ESP / One Planet One Ocean, 2e participation)
Sébastien Destremau (Thank you, 2e participation)
Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans, 2e participation)
Alan Roura (SUI / La Fabrique, 2e participation)
Thomas Rouillard (LinkedOut, 2e participation)
Kojiro Shiraishi (JAP / DMG Mori Global One, 2e participation)
Jérémie Beyou (Charal, 4e participation)
Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline – Artsians Artipole, 4e participation)
Louis Burton (Office Vallée 2, 3e participation)
Sam Davies (GBR / Core Initiatives, 3e participation)
Alex Thomson (GBR / Hugo Boss, 5e participation)
Jean Le Cam (Yes we Cam !, 5e participation)


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