Vendée Globe  
93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Breaking News: NY – Vendée race cancelled, new main sail has not arrived.

A change of the program: Nándor Fa cancelled his entry to the New York – VENDÉE transatlantic race. This year’s IMOCA project of the SOH 60′ needs to be redesigned due to the lack of the new sails. He will complete the NY – Vendée distance outside of the race only a few weeks later than planned, as a qualification to the Vendée Globe, accepted by the IMOCA committee.

Nándor Fa has been preparing for this season’s first “warm-up” race with huge enthusiasm, from which he was forced to resign as the new sails has still not arrived from New Zealand. The Spirit of Hungary would have had to sail across the Atlantic for the start of the race (starts on 31st May), which would have meant a rather tight schedule even if the sails had arrived in time.

Many of the NY – Vendée’s fleet, e.g. Alex Thomson, started towards America this week, just like Nándor had planned himself. According to the original plan, the SOH would have sailed out of Les Sables d’Olonne for Newport at the end of this week. As Nándor was informed about his new sails not being finished, he had to make the tough decision of withdrawing from the race as soon as he could, and inform the race organizers almost immediately.

After the dismast in the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre race, almost all of the Spirit of Hungary’s sails were lost at sea. Thanks to the knowhow and the fast response of the two skippers – Nándor Fa and Péter Perényi – they were able to save the boat from further damages and could find shelter on Madeira island within one day. In December they sailed back to Les Sables d’Olonne under a much smaller jury rig, with the sails of Nándor’s 8m lake racing boat back in Hungary. At the end of December 2015, Nándor had already started organizing all the details of the renewal of the SOH 60’, including ordering the new sails from his long-time partner: the Doyle-Raudaschl company in Austria. The standing rig was made by Future Fibers, just like last time, the keel-hydraulics was repaired and completed by the famous Cariboni in Milan, Italy.

Nándor and his team has been working in an incredible pace in the Port Olona, in order to get ready for the NY – Vendée race, and did manage to finish almost the whole preparation process by now. After all the hard work, the new mast – which was purchased from the Hugo Boss team – is now standing in its place too. Nándor was planning to start sailing on 1st May, but as his new sails are nowhere near, he had to realize the time is not going to be enough to sail to Newport if the sails arrive in the middle of May – as the producer company forecasted so.

Although this race had to be cancelled officially, preparations of the Spirit of Hungary continue, furthermore Nándor Fa plans to complete the exact same journey of the transatlantic race, only a little bit later than the race itself. Nándor has negotiated with the organizers of the IMOCA series and the organizers of the Vendée Globe, that he is going to complete the NY – Vendée distance, single-handed by himself, just as if he was racing, which is going to be accepted as qualification sailing for the Vendée Globe 2016.

Audio interview with Nándor here: