pingouin sur la banquise

The Vendée Globe aims to build a positive legacy, going beyond the temporary character of the event - which takes place every four years - and by taking long-term action.

Commitment n°7 
Going further : supporting ocean protection through the Vendée Globe Foundation

The Vendée Globe aims to make a long-term commitment. The SAEM Vendée and the Département de la Vendée therefore decided to jointly create the "Vendée Globe Foundation" endowment fund with the support of three founding members: the Caisse Régionale du Crédit Agricole Mutuel Atlantique Vendée, the Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Océan and the Banque Populaire Grand Ouest.

Photographie d'une vague au soleil levant

Commitment n°8
Protecting biodiversity along the race route

The first project the endowment fund will support is the initiative led by Share the Ocean. In order to minimise the risk of collisions between the boats and marine megafauna, several Biodiversity Protection Zones identified as important breeding and feeding grounds for cetaceans will be set up along the round the world race route from 2024. These zones will be determined by the Share the Ocean scientific consortium, in conjunction with the Vendée Globe Organisation.


Share The Ocean works with :

  • The PELAGIS Observatory, UAR3462 La Rochelle University /CNRS.
  • The PLATON team, INRIA, Centre de Mathématiques appliquées de Polytechnique
    (CMAP UMR7641) École Polytechnique/CNRS, Palaiseau.
  • The naval architecture and maritime engineering firm, bañulsdesign.

And in concrete terms ?

This project defines Biodiversity Protection Zones (BPZs) on the race course, which skippers are not allowed to enter. The funding from the endowment fund will help to improve research and the collision model in order to refine these zones from race to race.


  • The IMOCA EXOS project

In addition to the race course, which is the organiser’s responsibility, avoidance systems are also being studied on the boats. The IMOCA Class, together with PIXEL sur MER, SEA.AI and ENSTA Bretagne, is working on the development of a solution that will automatically detect, identify and avoid obstacles in order to reduce the risk of collisions. The development of this innovation will be based on the latest technological advances in fields as varied as Machine Vision, multi-sensor fusion and automatic piloting. The EXOS 2024 project complements the avoidance zones set up by the race organisers.

  • MMAG Hazard Button

In the same context, the MMAG (Marine Mammals Advisory Group) recently introduced the Hazard Button, an on-board warning system that allows skippers to alert the race directors in the event of a collision with or avoidance of a marine mammal on their course. The information is then relayed to the other skippers in the race, who can then avoid the area and the collision. In addition, the Hazard Button allows us to expand our knowledge and databases on the location, nature and timing of collisions during races, which is essential in order to work together to find solutions to this issue.


Requin baleine (le plus grand poisson du monde)

Commitment n°9
Comprendre la mégafaune marine pour mieux la protéger

The Vendée Globe Foundation will be supporting the William Mission, with the aim of improving understanding of the migratory routes of the whale shark in the south-east Atlantic - the largest fish in the world 
on the brink of extinction. The William Mission is supported by the Over the Swell Association, which aims to protect the ocean in three ways: through wonder (sport), education (with children) and oceanographic missions (to better understand what is happening in the ocean).

The Williams Mission intends to create the world’s first protected offshore corridor to protect, among other things, the whale shark, a species threatened by illegal fishing practices and collisions with ships. The corridor will stretch from the Gulf of Guinea to St Helena Island. To achieve this, 15 European and American scientists are diving, tagging sharks to track their movements and documenting this little-known species with scientific photos and videos. This is a study that has never been carried out in this part of the world before. Lastly, the mission has an educational dimension, particularly for younger children, by bringing together schools in France and Africa, including Sao Tome and Principe.


The results of the mission will be published in open source, with specific transmission to the Shark Database.

See Over the Swell's website

Commitment n°10 
Joining forces with UNESCO to bring skippers and scientists together for a better understanding of the ocean

The third project supported by the Vendée Globe Foundation is led by UNESCO, in partnership with the Vendée Globe.

As part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), the Vendée Globe and UNESCO are joining forces to mark a new milestone after ten years of joint efforts between UNESCO and the IMOCA Class.

The Vendée Globe, through its endowment fund, will be providing financial support to UNESCO to coordinate, on a global and international scale, the embarkation of oceanographic measurement instruments on the race.

  • From the Vendée Globe 2024, skippers will be trained and strongly encouraged to take on board the oceanographic measuring instruments selected by UNESCO and the Vendée Globe.
  • From the Vendée Globe 2028 onwards, it will be compulsory for skippers to take these instruments on board and this requirement will be included in the notice of race. 
  • The systems and sensors will evolve with each edition of the race, so that marine data can be collected to feed weather forecasting models and scientific analyses.

This approach will make a significant contribution to enriching the scientific databases in the little-frequented areas of the Southern Ocean along the Vendée Globe route.

Boris Herrmann - Vendée Globe 2020
Boris Herrmann - Vendée Globe 2020

Science and sail

From 2024, skippers will be equipped with automatic on-board weather stations.
The weather observations collected, such as atmospheric pressure, are used to provide accurate forecasts to ensure the safety of navigation at sea and to improve the forecasting of extreme events. These weather observations can also be used to feed climate forecasting models.

The onboard sensors will evolve over the editions.

This collaboration is being developed under the coordination of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), supported by UNESCO through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). GOOS is a collaborative system of observations - at sea and by satellite - providing key data for studying the climate, warning of disasters and monitoring the health of marine ecosystems. This global network, implemented by 86 countries, is coordinated by Ocean OPS: an operational centre based in Brest (France) jointly supported by UNESCO's IOC and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which aims to centralise and coordinate meteoro-oceanographic observation systems.

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

UNESCO is leading the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development from 2021 to 2030. The Decade provides a common framework through which countries can make full use of ocean science to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. More than 460 actions of the Decade have been formally endorsed, urging ocean stakeholders to take strong action to develop and improve ocean sciences and convert this knowledge into transformative solutions for sustainable development.

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