News in brief

Facebook live with Arnaud Boissières

On tuesday, 4th of april at 6:30pm (Western Europe), the french skipper Arnaud Boissières will be live on our Facebook page.
We will talk about his ambition for the next race, his experience from the previous editions of the Vendée Globe and more to come !
Ask your questions here :

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the winner of the Golden Globe Race

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the winner of the Golden Globe Race
© DR

Seventy three year old French sailing legend Jean-Luc Van Den Heede today won the Golden Globe Race, a solo non stop round the world race which was set up to replicate the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race some 50 years after Sir Robin Knox Johnston won the inaugural race and in so doing became the first person to non stop around the world.

This modern version of the original race sought to mirror much of the back to basics sailing technolgoy of the bygone age and so did not permit the solo skippers to use modern day electronic navigation instrumentation.
Veteran Van Den Heede completed his sixth circumnavigation today some 212 days after leaving Les Sables d'Olonne.

As a comparison the Vendée Globe solo record is 74 days set by Armel Le Cléac'h on the 2016-17 race.
Now aged 79 the British knight of the realm 'RKJ' was in Les Sables d'Olonne today to welcome 'VDH'.

The French sailor also takes over from Sir Robin as the oldest solo skipper to complete a solo round the world race, five years older than when the Englishman finished the Velux 5 Oceans Race at the age of 68. VDH took 100 days less than Sir Robin did in the original Sunday Times Race when he raced his Suhaili, a William Atkins designed 32 foot teak ketch.

Van Den Heede sailed Matmut, an English designed and built Rustler 36 of 10.77m.  VDH held on to his lead even after capsizing in the Pacific which required him to repair his rigging.

"It's more important to have morale than physical strength," he said when he finished.

Of the 18 sailors which started from Les Sables d'Olonne only five are still in the race. The closest challenger to Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the Dutch sailor Mark Slats, has chosen to take shelter from a Biscay gale by La Coruna.

Clarisse Crémer to sail around the world

Clarisse Crémer to sail around the world
© Greg Gonzales / Banque Populaire

Clarisse Crémer has been chosen to wear the colours of Banque Populaire for an IMOCA project leading up to the 2020 Vendée Globe. The young skipper will be facing an exciting challenge, as so far she has only spent one night aboard an IMOCA during the Azimut Challenge last September, when she was the media reporter alongside Romain Attanasio in what was a fine start to her professional sailing career. But the HEC Business School graduate had already shone in other events, in particular taking second place in the series category in the 2017 Mini-Transat, on what was her first attempt, marking a brilliant conclusion to her own personal saga – Clarisse in the Atlantic – which showed that she was an excellent communicator, as well as a great sailor.

Clarisse now aims to set out around the world aboard the former SMA, which won the Route du Rhum in the IMOCA category last autumn, when she was in the hands of Paul Meilhat and which won the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, when she was skippered by François Gabart. The boat has been chartered by the Banque Populaire Sailing Team from Mer Agitée. Ronan Lucas, the head of the Banque Populaire team does not intend to fit her with foils, but wants to ensure her reliability, as the boat has certainly clocked up a lot of miles and achieved a lot too. “Getting into the Top Ten would be a good outcome,” added the Team Director.

During the long awaited press conference from the partner to the French Sailing Federation and 2024 Olympics, it was also confirmed that the Ultim 32/23 project is being stepped up: the Banque Populaire team will be having a new flying trimaran built, which is due to be delivered in late 2020. Armel le Cléac’h will be at the helm. Reassured about his career, the winner of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe will also take up the post of coach alongside Clarisse Crémer. “I’m very proud,” she said, “to be able to learn alongside him, although it is a bit intimidating too.” The IMOCA project and the race to qualify will start out in the water in July, once the Solitaire du Figaro has been raced in the colours of Everial for one and Banque Populaire for the other. Then, the pair will race together in the Transat Jacques Vabre in November.

Facebook live with Alan Roura

On monday 21th at 6:30pm (Western Europe), the swiss skipper Alan Roura will be live on our Facebook page.
We will talk about his ambitions for the next races, his experience as the youngest sailor of the 2016-17 Vendée Globe and more to come !
Come ask your questions here :

A new boat for Nicolas Troussel

A new boat for Nicolas Troussel

The french sailor, double winner of the famous Solitaire du Figaro just announced, with his partner Corum, a new boat to be built for the next Vendée Globe.

The plan will be designed by Juan Kuyoumoudjian, as sistership of Sébastien Simon’s monohull. Michel Desjoyeaux and Mer Agitée will be the project manager. Nico Troussel’s boat will be 8th project to be built. With so many new boats, the 2020 race will approach the 2008-2009 edition with more than 15 new boats on the start line.

MACSF will be Isabelle Joschke's title partner for the Vendée Globe

MACSF will be Isabelle Joschke's title partner for the Vendée Globe
© Emmanuelle Delteil/Emma Production

Originally Isabelle Joschke was looking for a  sponsor that would join  Monin to support her though to the Vendée Globe 2020. But actually she has landed a title partner. And so she can look forwards to a much clearer pathway to the solo round the world race. She has a boat, the Verdier - VPLP designed former Safran which was sailed by Marc Guillemot in 2008 and 2012 and then by Yann Eliès in 2016. Now, with a reasonable budget in hand she will begin the optimization work of her IMOCA looking to the seasons ahead. 


The Monin group set Joschke on her way and remain a partner. MACSF were in the last Vendée Globe as sponsors of Bertrand de Broc. Joschke said: "It's clear that this partnership is a game chnager for us. With Alain (Gautier, project manager) we will be able to begin a real boat optimization project to have the most efficient machine possible at the start of the Vendée Globe. This is news that comes at the best possible time after the frustration of the Route du Rhum. We will take our time this winter, strengthen the team to be ready to go in the spring. I could not dream of a better present for the holidays. "

Meilhat, Highlights from Facebook Live.

The recent winner of the Route du Rhum did so with no foils on his IMOCA. He explained that part of the reason was the very tough weather after the start, mainly upwind, and then a lot of downwind sailing. He thinks many of the skippers in the race were still learning the best use of their foils and were not yet at their full potential.

He confirmed that all three top French skippers, Meilhat, Yann Eliès and Vincent Riou were right into their reserves of energy when they finished. 

His main priority now it to find a sponsor for the next Vendée Globe but time is getting increasingly tight. He still has the option to go with the boat he has had but a new boat might be preferable.


[???? LIVE] Après sa victoire sur la Route du Rhum, SMAVoile - Paul Meilhat est en route vers le Vendée Globe 2020. N'hésitez pas à lui poser vos questions en live #LiveVG2020 Ce talentueux skipper cherche des partenaires pour soutenir son projet : partagez autour de vous !

Posted by Vendée Globe on Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Ruyant, a skipper wirth a project and a boat

The rumour that has been doing the rounds on the pontoons was confirmed on Thursday 13th December. Thomas Ruyant has indeed started building a brand new IMOCA60 with the aim of competing in the 2020 Vendée Globe. In 2016, the sailor from the North of France set off as an outsider. It is something of understatement to say that Thomas sailing aboard Le Souffle du Nord pour le projet Imagine, a monohull designed for Kito de Pavant and Groupe Bel, did exceptionally well. Firstly, he managed to keep up with the frontrunners, then he brought his boat back to New Zealand, as she was breaking up, after almost two days of anguish, which showed us what he talented a sailor he is. 


The skipper from Malo-les-Bains, at the age of 35, is now back on track with what he has been attempting to do in order to get to the start line of the 2020 race and this time his goals in terms of the result are that much higher than before. The race team TR Racing has now officially been set up and work has begun on his new monohull with foils designed by Guillaume Verdier and built by the Persico yard in Italy. His close team of associates is also in place with Laurent Bourguès in charge of the technical coordination, while François Pernelle has joined the team as head of the design team. Antoine Koch will be taking care of some of the design phases (appendages, sail plan) with Marcus Hutchinson, who was previously in charge of the SMA project, will be ensuring everything is running smoothly.


There are still funding elements and a sponsor or sponsors to be found to accompany him in this adventure. For the moment, TR Racing is able to rely on a team of investors, but they do not intend to give their name to the project. A skipper with a lot of potential, a boat that is bound to be very promising… There’s no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to see their colours displayed on the hull and on the sails.

Facebook Live with Samantha Davies

This Monday 10th of december at 8pm (Western Europ), we will on Facebook Live with the british skipper Samantha Davies ! Join us to talk about her training program, her sponsor, her point of view about women in offshore sailing... And answer your questions :

A Dramatic Denouement

This Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe goes down in the long history of the solo transatlantic race as a class. After the slow motion match race finish between the Ultimes of François Gabart and Francis Joyon, the Imoca class delivered its own surprises as solo ocean racing so often seems,
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) was heading for a well deserved win, his first ever in the IMOCA class on his first attempt at the Rhum. But an accidental grounding on the north coast of Guadeloupe cost him the win that has eluded him throughout his career.
Forced to use his engine to extricate himself from his predicament he was given a 24 hours time penalty by the international jury, so handig the victory to Paul Meilhat (SMA). Yann Eliès (UCAR Saint-Michel) took second place.

Sir Alex and Battling Paul
Alex Thomson's Guadeloupe accident does not detract from a stellar performance. Leading the race since the north of Brittany he committed early to going west. The British sailor then demonstrated that he is at the top of the game, regularly opening more margin on his  competitors. The quality of the strategy, his instantaneous speeds, the fluidity of his maneuvers, all that stood between him and the win was his oversleeping through his alarms at a critical stage of the race.

Thomson was a gentleman and a sportsman when he accepted his penalty, taking full responsibility for his error. But for sure his disappointment makes him more formidable competitor for the next Vendée Globe.

Paul Meilhat, like Yann Eliès, has had his share of bad luck in recent years. Between the serious injury forcing him to abandon his boat during the Transat BtoB off the Azores in 2015, repeated physical glitches, many would have been tempted to throw in the towel. But Meilhat has clung on day after day to put himself in a positio to win the 2018 Route du Rhum. On his boat with astraight daggerboards, he was able to hold off the pack of foilers and accept a well deserved victory. The Route du Rhum sees the two top placed sailors still looking for partners for the next Vendée Globe. As such it is hard to imagine they might both end up on the dock when the 2020 race starts...

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