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In two months, the predecessor of the Vendée Globe will set off from Les Sables d'Olonne

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson 6 Jul 05:52 BST 4 September 2022
Golden Globe Race 2018 © GGR 2018

Inspired by the first single-handed round the world race in 1968, the Golden Globe Race, a single-handed race with no assistance, no GPS or electronics on board, will set off from Les Sables d'Olonne on the 4th September.

A village fete and two weeks of festivities will precede the Grand Departure.

A legendary adventure: the longest sporting event in the world!

In 1969, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first sailor to sail around the world, non-stop and without assistance. It took him 312 days, alone against the elements.

In 2019, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, a well-known sailor on our pontoons in Sablais, Les Sables d'Olonnes, will repeat the feat by winning the first Golden Globe Race in 211 days.

Who will succeed these two legends of the seas?

Competitors come from all over the world take up the challenge

18 sailors across 11 nationalities are taking part in this series.

Among them is Frenchman Damien Guillou, who worked as part of the Vendée Globe team of Jean Le Cam in 2016 and Kevin Escoffier in 2020. He will be sailing on the PRB Sailing Team, the two-time Vendée Globe winning sponsor.

There is also the Indian skipper Abhilash Tomy. Originally from Mumbai, he is one of the most prominent sailors in India. During the 2018 Golden Globe Race, after 83 days at sea, Abhilash Tomy was injured and had to be rescued thousands of kilometres from Australia. He is taking his revenge on this 2nd edition.

Only sextants, compasses and charts allowed

All the boats are 32-36-foot monohulls, built before 1988, whose technical characteristics are in line with the Suhaili, on which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the event in 1969. The only concession is the presence on board of new safety equipment, including a secure survival bag containing geo-localised communication equipment, which can be activated in case of absolute necessity, as well as a makeshift rigging in case the skippers dismast.

Two weeks of celebrations from 20 August

The skippers are expected on the Vendée Globe pontoon from 17th August.

A festive village will open on 20th August in the Vendée Globe square, and on that day a big firework display will be fired over the bay to celebrate the adventurers.

For a fortnight, the people of Sablais and visitors from all over France will be living to the rhythm of the Golden Globe Race and will be able to meet the skippers before their big departure.

Concerts, boat parades, aperitifs, initiations to old-fashioned sailing... from 20th August to 4th September, the Golden Globe Race Village will be the heart of the sailing world.

The Grand Departure

On the 4th of September, all lovers of sailing and great adventures will meet at 1.30pm on the quays of the legendary channel of Les Sables d'Olonne to encourage the skippers.

Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables d'Olonne and President of the Agglomeration, said: "Les Sables d'Olonne, port of the legendary Vendée Globe, is proud to welcome this new series of the Golden Globe Race.

This adventure carries with it our soul and our history: the courage to take to the open sea, and set off into the unknown.

We are going to experience a great adventure that has many surprises in store for us and promises to keep us on our toes as the competitors are so motivated to become legends.

Friends of the sea and of maritime adventure, welcome to Les Sables d'Olonne, one of the most beautiful bays in the world."

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