The Notice of Race for the Vendée Globe 2020 has now been published. This is a major and important step in the organisation of the famous solo race, non-stop around the world without assistance.
Delivered at two and a half years from the start of the ninth edition, this first official document sets out the fundamental rules of the race and the essential qualification process for solo skippers who wish to enter.
The Notice of Race is the first in the series of regulatory documents to be published in the governance of all national and international sailing competitions.In this case it is written by the organisers along with race management and it is validated by the Fédération Française de Voile (French Sailing Federation (FFV)).
The document sets out the rules for participation and is a reminder of the fundamental principles of the event. It was a stated objective of the SAEM Vendée, the organizer of the Vendée Globe, to publish the Notice of Race as soon as possible so that solo skippers around the world can prepare their programmes in optimal conditions.
The 30-page document is a reminder of the original concept along with the original, fundamental values of the Vendée Globe: as a single-handed, nonstop and unsupported round the world race, leaving all three great capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn to port and the Antarctic continent to starboard.
"The main principles are unchanged over the years", says Yves Auvinet, President of SAEM Vendée, "But we wanted to make the text more explicit, to clarify or modify some points early in the time period and to make the framework of the event understandable and transparent."
Among the clarifications and changes are:
- The notion of "no outside-assistance" has been more comprehensively detailed. In particular there is a prohibition to take control of the boat's computer from land.
- A time limit to finish the race is set at 163 days (time done by Jean-François Coste, the last competitor of the first edition)
- In case of damage after the start and returning back to the port of Les Sables d'Olonne (the only authorized technical stop where assistance is allowed), the team will be able to board the boat within 3 miles before the Nouch Sud buoy.
- The substitution rule in case of incapacity of the skipper has been relaxed with a possibility after the start of the race under certain particular conditions.
- The 72-point principle of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone is endorsed.
- Registration fees have been established (10 000 euros).
- The amount of prize money is increased (800,000 euros instead of 600,000 in total)
Qualification: A New Formula Prioritises Those Who Sail the Most
What interests the skippers first and foremost is the presentation of the rules for qualification. Only thirty solo racers will only be able to dock out of the the port of Les Sables d'Olonne and to take the farewells of the crowds in the famous channel on November 8, 2020. But, even now, declarations of intent already exceed this 30 skipper quota.
Three principles govern the selection system:
1 / Some projects will have priority. Sailors who finished the previous Vendée Globe and those with a new boat under construction (launched from 1 January 2017) will be shortlisted.
But they cannot miss a qualifying phase. They will have to perform at least 2000 miles solo on a course determined with the Race Direction, aboard their new boat. And the latter must compete in at least one of the transatlantic races on the Imoca Class programme, The Globe Series.
2 / For others, in the case of the 30 pre-registered limit being exceeded the priority will be given to those having accumulated the greatest number of miles on the Globe Series which necessarily should include a transatlantic race.
3 / The organization gives itself the opportunity to grant four "wild cards".
The programm of the Globe Series :
- 2018 : Monaco Globe Series & Route du Rhum
- 2019 : A Transat to be created & Transat Jacques Vabre
- 2020 The Transat & Tansat New York - Vendée
More than 35 active projects on file
"Previously the quickest to file their registration application were the first to be " processed "" says Race Director Jacques Caraës. "For this edition we have applied the same principle as the Mini Transat, that is to say the more you sail in the Globe Series events, the more likely you are to become qualified. The fact that the Notice of Race is published a lot earlier than the past editions allows to us to set the outline framework early enough for sailors to prepare. "
As at today at least 35 projects are actively known to the organisers. The organizers, the Race Direction and the Imoca Class are regularly contacted by racers whose dream it is to be at the start. Even so the contenders for this ultimate solo racing challenge could still arrive by November 1, 2019, the deadline for submitting entries ...
The Vendée Globe has perhaps never been so popular.
They said :
Yves Auvinet, Chairman of the Président du Conseil départemental de Vendée et de la SAEM Vendée:
"The publication of the Notice of Race is an important milestone in our organization. Of course the main principles of the Vendée Globe remain unchanged. In eight editions the Vendée Globe has lost none of its magic thanks to a simple concept: a man, a boat, around the world. The event meets a challenge which is always strong among the sailors but also among the public. We have seen the latest figures in terms of economic benefits for our department after the last edition, and they are up 15%, with 35.5 million euros in turnover generated by the event. 2020 promises to be an even bigger success. "