2016 2017

Armel Le Cléac'h : Victory at last

Once again, it’s after a sumptuous duel that victory chose its side. Armel Le Cléac’h, runner-up behind François Gabart in 2013, overtook British Alex Thomson by a few hours. On that occasion, he set a new record for the race in just over 74 days.

This time round the Vendée Globe was almost full : twenty nine sailors took the start, with nearly half of them recidivists. For the start, the solo racers benefitted from ideal conditions which enabled them to rush through the Gulf of Biscay, always dreaded by sailors going round the world. Only Spanish Didac Costa came back to Les Sables d’Olonne to repair a faulty ballast tube.

The descent to the Ecuador was actually quite mild :downwinds and manageable sea, the race seemed a tackle of jibing in which leaders very quickly got their bearings.

Only Tanguy de Lamotte had to give up just before the Cap Verde Islands : his masthead broke apart and he didn’t have the means to repairit on site. He returned to Les Sables d’Olonne on November 28th.

The leaders widen the gap

Following an audacious option, Alex Thomson got the best deal of the day. By opting to cross the Doldrums on a more easterly route than the others, he benefitted from a better angle in the trade winds of the South hemisphere and started to widen the gap. In his wake, a few solo racersclung to him :Armel Le Cléac’h lead the peloton comprised of confirmed values such as Vincent Riou, JérémieBeyou or SébastienJosse and ambitious rookies such as Paul Meilhat or Morgan Lagravière.

Behind them, the gap stretched. The low-pressure system of Saint Helen sorted sorted them out. When the first ones rushed at over twenty knots, the second part of the fleet dragged itself in light airs. At the front, the job was tough; behind, some began to resign themselves to the situation .

The South Atlantic also had itsshare of victims. First of all, Bertrand de Broc who gave up after having hit a UFO. Then, Vincent Riou and Morgan Lagravière successively decided to head for Capetown –damaged bearing of keel for the first, rudder torn off for the second. At the Cape of Good Hope, Alex Thomson and Armel le Cléac’h followed one another by less than 5 hours. Behind, the gaps wereenormous :SébastienJosse, in third, was more than a day away, Paul Meilhat and JérémieBeyou at two days, Thomas Ruyant, in eighth position, and Jean Le Cam, ninth, were relegated to over fivesailing days from the forefront.

Strange place for an encounter

On November 28th Armel Le Cléac’hregained the race lead and didn’t let go until the finish. On the 30th, the two leaders reached the level of the Kerguelen islands where the frigate Nivôsewas patrolling .The ship sent a helicopter which brought back sumptuous footage of the two IMOCAs dashing into the water. Behind them, retirements occurred in a cascade.KojiroShiraishi broke his mast before rounding the cape of Good Hope, SébastienJosse tore one of his foils and seriously damaged the daggerboard case. More dangerously, Kito de Pavant hit an immersed object and threatened to sink. Fortunately the Marion Dufresne, which was supplying the French Southern territories was nearby and able to save the skipper. Nevertheless, he had to follow the rotation of the boat toward Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam before disembarking in La Réunion.

The Pacific wasn’t gentler with retirements of Thomas Ruyant, Stéphane Le Diraison, Paul Meilhat and finally the Irish Enda O’Coineen. Throughout his competitors’ difficulties, Jean-Pierre Dick reached fourth position in the Vendée Globe but,at Cape Horn, he was still one week away from the leader, Armel Le Cléac’h. Le Cléac’h finally managed to push back Alex Thomson two navigation days away. The navigator from Finistère was in a far more comfortable position reaching Cape Horn than his predecessors during the last editions. Banque Populaire’s skipper could begin to consider victory. With the exception of the 2004-2005 edition, the one who had reached the Horn first had always been crowned on arriving in les Sables d’Olonne.

Diabolical accordeon

But nothing happened as expected. Stuck in calm leeward winds near Tierra del Fuego, Armel Le Cléac’h saw his advance melt away. On December 29th, six days after having rounded Cape Horn, only 30 small miles separated the two contenders. But it was now up to Alex Thomson to experience the light airs which had slowed down the leader. Progressively, the gap widened again but Armel Le Cléac’h stayed under pressure until the finish line.

Behind them, JérémieBeyou seemed in a comfortable position before the trio of pursuers including Yann Eliès, Jean-Pierre Dick and Jean Le Cam – who sailed up the Atlantic at the rythm of a Solitaire du Figaro.

Twenty-four hours to the finish, Armel Le Cléac’h could finally admit to himself that, excepting an accident, this 2016-2017 edition would be his. Alex Thomson was not in position to catch up. As the leaders were about to finish, Louis Burton, seventh, crossed the Ecuador and Nandor Fa, eighth, had just rounded Cape Horn.

For some solo racers, going up the Atlantic felt like a cross to bear : on February 11th, Eric Bellion suffered damage on his mainsail rail which forced him to finish the race with only his foresail. On the same day, Conrad Colman dismasted off the coast of Portugal. The New Zealander refused to abdicate and was able to cobble together a rigging of fortune to reach Les Sables d’Olonne and cross the finish line.

On January 19th, Armel le Cléac’h crossed the finish line in front of the South Nouch buoy at 16h38 (local time) setting a new record of 74d 03h 36mn. 50 days went by before seeing SébastienDestremau, last qualified competitor, finally reaching the finish line.

Ranking of the edition

  1. Armel Le Cléac’h (Fra, Banque Populaire) – 74d 03h 35mn
  2. Alex Thomson (GB, Hugo Boss) 74d 19h 35mn
  3. Jérémie Beyou (Fra, Maître CoQ) 78d 06h 39mn
  4. Jean-Pierre Dick (Fra, St Michel – Virbac) 80d 01h 46mn
  5. Yann Eliès (Fra, Quéguiner – Leucémie Espoir) 80d 03h 11mn
  6. Jean Le Cam (Frza, Finistère Mer Vent) 80D 04h 42mn
  7. Louis Burton (FRA, Bureau Vallée), 87D 19h 46mn
  8. Nandor Fa (HUN, Spirit of Hungary), 93D 22h 52mn
  9. ÉricBellion (FRA, Comme un seul Homme), 99D 04h 56mn
  10. Arnaud Boissières (FRA, La Mie Câline) 102D 20h 24mn
  11. Fabrice Amedeo (FRA, Newrest – Matmut) 103D 21h 01mn
  12. Alan Roura (SUI, La Fabrique) 105D 20h 11mn
  13. Rich Wilson (USA, Great American IV) 107D 00h 48mn
  14. Didac Costa (ESP, One Planet One Ocean) 108D 19h 51mn
  15. Romain Attanasio (FRA - Famille Mary – Étamine du Lys) 109D 22h 04mn
  16. Conrad Colman (NZL, Foresight Natural Energy) 110D 01h 59mn
  17. Pieter Heerema (NED, No Way Back) 116D 09h 24mn
  18. Sébastien Destremau (FRA, Technofirst – Faceocean) 124D 12h 38mn

Les abandons

  • Enda O’Coineen (IRL – Kilcullen Voyager – Team Ireland), dismasting, January 1st
  • Paul Meilhat (FRA – SMA), damage on keel actuator, December 24th
  • Stéphane Le Diraison (FRA – La compagnie du Lit – Boulogne Billancourt), dismasting,December 23rd
  • Thomas Ruyant (FRA – Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine), collisionwith UFO, December 20th
  • SébastienJosse (FRA – Edmond de Rothschild), damage on foil, December 7th
  • Kito de Pavant (FRA – BastideOtio), collision with spermwhale, December 6th
  • KojiroShiraishi (JPA – Spirit of Yukoh), dismasting, December 4th
  • Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA – Initiatives Cœur), damage on mast , November 28th
  • Morgan Lagravière (FRA – Safran), damage on rudder, November 24th
  • Vincent Riou (FRA – PRB), damage on keel, November 22nd
  • Bertrand de Broc (FRA – MACSF), damage on keel, November 20th

Best of

Affiche Vendee Globe 2016
Résumé édition 2016-2017
Skippers durant le lancement officiel du Vendée Globe 2016 au Palais Brongniart à Paris, le 14 septembre 2016
La flotte au départ du Vendée Globe, les Sables d'Olonne, le 6 novembre 2016
Kojiro Shiraishi (JAP), skipper Spirit of Yukoh, Les Sables d'Olonne le 6 novembre 2016
Siège du Vendée Globe 2016, proche de la Tour Eiffel, Paris le 24 novembre 2016
Ambiance skippers et feux d'artifices durant la cérémonie de remise des prix Vendée Globe, Les Sables d'Olonne, le 13 mai 2017 - Photo Olivier Blanchet / DPPI / Vendee Globe Ambiance skippers et feux d'artifices durant la cérémonie de remise des prix Vendée Globe, Les Sables d'Olonne, le 13 mai 2017
Départ du Vendée Globe, les Sables d'Olonne, le 6 novembre 2016
Photo envoyée depuis le bateau Newrest - Matmut le 24 Décembre 2016
Vue aérienne de l'IMOCA Boat Finistere Mer Vent, skipper Jean Le Cam (FRA), durant l'entrainement au large de Belle-Ile, 13 octobre 2016
Arrivée de Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA), skipper Banque Populaire VIII, vainqueur du Vendee Globe en 74j 3h 35min 46sec, aux Sables d'Olonne, France, le 19 Janvier 2017
Podium à l'Arrivée de Alex Thomson (GBR), skipper Hugo Boss, deuxième du Vendee Globe, aux Sables d'Olonne, France, le 20 Janvier 2017
Arrivée de Jeremie Beyou (FRA), skipper Maitre Coq, 3ème du Vendee Globe, aux Sables d'Olonne, France, le 23 Janvier 2017
Arrivée de Sébastien Destremau (FRA), Technofirst Face Ocean, 18ème du Vendee Globe, aux Sables d'Olonne, le 10 Mars 2017
Arrivée de Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA), skipper Banque Populaire VIII, vainqueur du Vendee Globe en 74j 3h 35min 46sec, aux Sables d'Olonne, France, le 19 Janvier 2017
Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA), skipper Banque Populaire VIII, vainqueur et Alex Thomson (GBR), skipper Hugo Boss, 2nd, durant la cérémonie de remise des prix, Les Sables d'Olonne, le 13 mai 2017
14 Galerie 2016


The decisions taken by the IMOCA class

The IMOCA AGM took place last Wednesday in Paris at the French Sailing Federation Headquarters. This was a very important meeting, as it was an opportunity to look back at the results of the season, which finished with the Vendée Globe. It was arranged to determine the rules for the next four years…

Channel ambiance with Morgan Lagraviere (FRA), skipper Safran, start of the Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6th, 2016 - Photo Olivier Blanchet / DPPI / Vendee Globe

Ambiance chenal avec Morgan Lagraviere (FRA), skipper Safran, d

Morgan Lagravière aiming to buy Safran to take part in the 2020 Vendée Globe

No one will have forgotten his emotional departure from the Vendée Globe pontoon or the great start to his race down the Atlantic. Morgan Lagravière was then unfortunately forced to retire shortly after passing the Cape of Good Hope, when in fourth place. A huge blow for the 29-year old Frenchman,…

The Vendée Globe skippers hosted at the Elysée Palace

The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. Twenty-three of the twenty-nine Vendée Globe skippers attended the event, gathering around winner Armel Le Cléac’h, appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Charal Becomes Jeremie Beyou’s New Partner !

During a press conference organised this Wednesday 19 April in Paris, the Charal company announced its partnership with Jérémie Beyou and his team through until 2022. A busy sports programme lies ahead, the culmination of which will be a participation in the Vendée Globe 2020 with just one focus:…

Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven together for the Transat

Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven will be lining up for the start of the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre aboard the IMOCA Bastide Otio, ex Initiatives Cœur that Yannick has just acquired for his 2020 Vendée Globe programme. The boat is currently in the yard in Lorient.

Kito de Pavant (FRA), skipper Bastide Otio, after hitting a UFO (Unknown Floating Object) or OFNI in the Indian Ocean, off Crozet Islands, is rescued by the Marion Dufresne II (TAAF supplying boat) on December 7th, 2016 - Photo Julien Leprince / TAAF Ki

Relive Kito de Pavant’s amazing adventure

At around two in the morning on 7th December, Kito de Pavant was picked up by the supply vessel, the Marion Dufresne II, after suffering damage after colliding with a sea mammal. Forced to abandon his boat, the skipper of Bastide-Otio was taken care of by the ship’s doctor. Extremely disappointed…

Yann Eliès on the podium of the Solo Concarneau

This weekend, French skipper, Charlie Dalin (Macif) won the Solo Concarneau for the second time finishing ahead of a determined Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) with Yann Eliès (Groupe Queguiner – Leucémie Espoir) taking third place and marking his return to form in the Figaro Bénéteau circuit. Among the…

Alan Roura looks back at his Vendée Globe

It was just over a month ago that Alan Roura and La Fabrique crossed the finish line of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe. The young Swiss skipper became the youngest skipper to complete the non-stop solo round the world race, finishing in twelfth place and third rookie, and the first on a vintage boat. A…

Armel Le Cléac’h: “I’m gradually returning to Earth"

On 19th January, Armel Le Cléac’h won the eighth Vendée Globe after 74 days 3 hours and 35 minutes. Still very busy and not getting much time to rest, Armel answered some of our questions. He tells us about his return to normal life and looks back at his Vendée Globe and ahead to his future…

Paul Meilhat taking Gwénolé Gahinet aboard and testing a new foil system

For the Transat Jacques Vabre later this year, Paul Meilhat has chosen to take Gwénolé Gahinet with him. Together, they won the Transat AG2R three years ago. Before the start on 5th November, there is a busy schedule for the SMA team with two periods in the yard, a lot of trials, races, training…

Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany

The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée. The first trials and trips to get used to the boat are planned for next week off Lorient to…

Arrivée Tanguy de Lamotte - Initiatives Coeur

Tanguy de Lamotte to compete in the 2020 Vendée Globe on the former Maître CoQ

At an evening organised yesterday at the Eiffel Tower, Tanguy de Lamotte announced some excellent news: the foiling IMOCA, Jérémie Beyou’s Maître CoQ has become Initiatives-Coeur. The programme will continue over the next four years and Tanguy will be competing in the 2020 Vendée Globe aboard this…

Yann Eliès with Jean-Pierre Dick for the Transat Jacques Vabre

After their fight for fourth place in the Vendée Globe, Jean-Pierre Dick has invited Yann Eliès to join him on StMichel-Virbac for the forthcoming Transat Jacques Vabre. The goal for the duo is clear. Dick wants a fourth win in the race that starts on 5th November from Le Havre and finishes in…

Stéphane Le Diraison’s boat back in France

After sailing 12,000 miles at high speed, Stéphane Le Diraison went through a real adventure to get to Australia under jury rig. But that was not the end of the challenge. It was not that easy to bring the boat to Caen from Melbourne. Le Diraison tells us about getting his boat back to France and…

Channel ambiance Start of the Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6th, 2016 - Photo Mark Lloyd / DPPI / Vendee GlobeAmbiance public dans le chenal au départ du Vendée Globe, aux Sables d'Olonne le 6 Novembre 2016 - Photo Mark Lloyd

The 2016-2017 Vendée Globe, a hugely popular event and media success

This afternoon, Yves Auvinet, President of the SAEM Vendée, presented his appraisal of the eighth edition of the non-stop solo round the world race at the Vendée Department HQ. The results of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event,…

Aerial illustration of start of the Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6th, 2016 - Photo Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée GlobeVue aérienne du départ du Vendée Globe, aux Sables d'Olonne, le 6 Novembre 2016 - Photo Vincent Curutc

A look back at the highlights of the 8th Vendée Globe

From the start on 6th November to the arrival of the final competitor last week, so much happened in the 8th editiion of the Vendée Globe. 29 skippers set sail. 18 made it to the finish, with 11 unfortunately missing out on the triumphant finish in the harbour in Les Sables. Time to look back at…

Eric Bellion to continue with CommeUnSeulHomme

It was an emotional moment for Eric Bellion, who saw his monohull CommeUnSeulHomme  enter the Mer Agitée yard. An opportunity for him to pay homage to his boat, which took him around the world, and to announce that the adventure will continue with CommeUnSeulHomme. The programme will be announced…

Images de l'avarie de Kito de Pavant

Footage of Kito de Pavant’s collision

Just a month after the start of the Vendée Globe, on 6th December in the middle of the Indian Ocean to the north of the Crozet Islands, Kito de Pavant and his Bastide Otio hit an unidentified floating object. The damage was fatal for the boat and the skipper was forced to abandon the race and his…