2020? For sure...
Of the 13 duos which started Sunday from Le Havre only two already really have ticked all the boxes which are required to race in the Vendée Globe 2020, desire, boat, sponsor, programme.
La Mie Câline - Artipôle. It seems like what would a Vendée Globe be without the Les Sables d'Olonne based "Cali" ? The 2020 race will be his fourth participation. His definitive USP is that he has finished all three successive Vendée Globe races since his first start in 2008-2009 when he memorably raced closely with Dee Caffari. Arnaud Boissières left sunday on what will soon be his "old" boat. This race is his last on the boat which took him to tenth in the 2016-2017 race. After this it will be his co-skipper, Manuel Cousin, who will be the owner of the VPLP Verdier design which was first launched as Paprec-Virbac 2. Arnaud Boissières plans to campaign the Owen Clarke design which was previously Mike Golding's Gamesa and did the last race as Kilcullen Voyager. He has entrusted the refit to Michel Desjoyeaux's Mer Agitée and it is understood that will include the fitting of foils. Cousin already has a sponsor: the Setin Group, which have agreed to support him for the next three years. He has some additional partners to find, but when they finish in Salvador de Bahia, Manuel Cousin will have the jigsaw pieces in place: a sponsor, a program and a boat.
2020? Yes and No
On four boats in the IMOCA fleet that is racing between Le Havre and Salvador da Bahia, one of the two skippers is en route for the Vendée Globe 2020, and the other will, as it stands now, not be starting in Les Sables d'Olonne.
Initiatives Coeur. The arrival in Salvador de Bahia will be a time to say goodbye to the legendary Vendée Globe for Tanguy de Lamotte. He will entrust the Initiatives-Coeur to Samantha Davies, again his TJV co-skipper - as he goes to settle in the United States. For the heroine of the Vendée Globe 2008-2009, finishing fourth, and disappointed to dismast in 2012, this will be her third start. The boat was third in the the last Vendée Globe in the colours of Maître-CoQ and was second as Banque-Populaire four years ago in the hands of Armel Le Cléac'h. With three years to acclimatize to the foils, and supported by a new sponsor- Vinci Energies - Davies is a competitor who is worthy of the boat, the programme and the race will be the richer for her return.
St Michel - Virbac. Because the race is a suitable farewell to the boat, Jean-Pierre Dick races the Transat Jacques-Vabre with Yann Eliès before passing the baton over to his co-skipper. Dick is an integral part of the recent history of the Vendée Globe but will move away from the Vendée Globe. The record of the big blond guy is still remarkable: three finishes (6th, 4th, 4th) and only one abandonment when he broke a rudder in 2008. Yann Eliès will head for his third Vendée Globe start line with the support of Absolute Dreamer, the sail racing and development company of Jean-Pierre Dick. Eliès will need to find a title sponsor as Virbac has chosen to withdraw after 17 years of sponsorship. But otherwise the pool of partners accompanying Jean-Pierre Dick has agreed to follow his successor, the highly talented Eliès who finished fith in the last race.
Bureau Vallée 2. Maybe one of the smartest moves of the year: Louis Burton, seventh in the Vendée Globe 2016, bought the race winner, Armel Le Cléac'h's Banque-Populaire. Might this be a master stroke which elevates the Saint-Malo based skipper directly into the the small group of serious contenders for victory in 2020. Servane Escoffier, his TJV co-skipper and life companion, will be in Les Sables d'Olonne in 2020, but again as team manager.
La Fabrique. Alan Roura was the darling of the 2016 race, ebullient, chipper and sailing smartly. With a group of partners seduced by his adventure during last winter, Alan Roura will again represent Switzerland on the starting line. He has three years to definitively complete his budget. His co-skipper on this Transat Jacques-Vabre, Frédéric Denis, is aiming for the 2024 edition.
2020? Yes and Maybe
These three skippers seem set for the next Vendée Globe and have a co-skipper who wants to...
Newrest - Pasquier Brioches. Fabrice Amedeo, 11th in 2016, is already on the train for 2020. He has a new boat, another very smart purchase in the VPLP-Verdier former No Way Back, a potent foiler built in Italy that Peter Heerema sailed successfully round the planet in the last Vendée Globe. Giancarlo Pedote, his Italian co-skipper harbours dreams of 2020. The racer from Florence raced the Mini 6.50 circuit, then shone in Class40 and the Multi50. Right now he is racing his first transat in IMOCA, a preliminary step on a round the world race? His partners for the last ten years Prysmian are in and will be supporting him but he needs some additional sponsorship.
Famille Mary – Etamine du Lys. By completing his first world tour on a 1996 boat, Romain Attanasio really increased his reputation and his profile. He is in the running for 2020, with a pool of partners to yet be fully define. In Salvador de Bahia, he will hand over his current IMOCA to an Italian buyer for its future as yet undefined. Meantime Attanasio will take on the 60 footer on which Fabrice Amedeo completed the 2016 Vendée Globe. It's pretty certain Attanasio will keep an an eye on that boat in this Jacques-Vabre. And, looking set to take the next logical step up after Mini 6.50, Class40 and Tour de France Sailing, free ski champion turned sailboat racer Aurélien Ducroz wants to be on the starting line in 2020. The double world freeride ski champion is racing with Attanasio as he prepares for the Route du Rhum and aims to go further if he can make it happen.
Malizia II. Boris Herrmann became the skipper of Malizia II, the 60-foot Yacht Club of Monaco flagged IMOCA, last June. A nearly four-year program has been set up to help the German double round the world racer realise the full potential of the VPLP-Verdier foiler that Sébastien Josse sailed in the Vendée Globe before abandoning in the south of Australia. Herrmann's co-skipper is Thomas Ruyant the unhappy but magnificent hero of the 2016 edition who retired into New Zealand after his boat very nearly fractured into two. Ruyant is very firmly determined to take his revenge on the race in 2020.
2020? Maybe and ... Maybe
On three boats, the two crew members both hope to be at the start in 2020.
SMA. Though he is aiming to race the next Route du Rhum, Paul Meilhat is still waiting for his sponsor's long term decisions. His co-skipper on the TJV Gwénolé Gahinet does not hide his desire to compete on the Vendée Globe. The two friends get along well, both on land and on the water, and have mooted the plan to move forward together .
« Des voiles et vous ! ». Here there are two tough competitors on a great boat: the former Safran, which is today owned by Kairos, the race company of Roland Jourdain. Morgan Lagravière is in pole position to carry on, but he still has to find sponsors. Eric Peron has desires, too, to race the Vendée Globe and is supported by a club of partners, Be One Team, the Figarist continues his quest.
Bastide Otio. Tenacious K? Well, Kito de Pavant certainly is tenacious. He is between two ideas now, heart and head. He wants to finally finish the Vendée Globe having thre times failed to finish. But will he start or bring a skipper into the project? The coming months will maybe see a decision. Meantime De Pavant is currently sailing under the colors of his sponsors ... but on the boat Yannick Bestaven has for the next Vendée Globe, the former Initiatives-Coeur. But he, too, needs sponsors.
2020? Maybe ... and No
On two boats, only the skipper aims to go around the world in an IMOCA.
Generali. On the boat bought by the winner of the 1992-93 Vendée Globe, Alain Gautier, Isabelle Joschke has set her track towards 2020. It will be without the sponsor Generali, who withdrew from racing so she has new sponsors to find. Her teammate, Pierre Brasseur, admits to wanting to go towards trimaran racing.
Vivo a Beira. Owner of the boat and amateur offshore racer, Pierre Lacaze has set himself the ambition to cross the Atlantic alone on the Route du Rhum 2018. Personally he does not aspire to compete on the Vendée Globe, but his co-skipper and coach Yoann Richomme does.
And so, in summary.
They are on the Transat Jacques-Vabre and will be in Port-Olona at the end of October 2020: Arnaud Boissières, Manuel Cousin, Samantha Davies, Louis Burton, Fabrice Amedeo, Romain Attanasio, Boris Herrmann, Alan Roura.
They have a boat but still have to find partners if they are to be in Les Sables d'Olonne in 2020: Yann Elies, Isabelle Joschke, Yannick Bestaven, Morgan Lagraviere.
They would like to be, but nothing is certain: Yoann Richomme, Thomas Ruyant, Giancarlo Pedote, Eric Péron.