Vendée Globe  
93 days 22 hours 52 minutes


WEDNESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2016 /  artical by VG2016 official

The press conference to present the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe took place on Wednesday 14th September in the magnificent splendour of the French Stock Exchange (Palais Brongniart) in Paris, in the presence of the 29 skippers. The line-up for the race, the internationalisation, media coverage, the race course, the official villages…

In front of a large number of journalists, Yves Auvinet, President of the SAEM Vendée, presented the main features for the eighth edition of the non-stop solo round the world race, which will begin from Les Sables d’Olonne at 1302hrs CET (1202hrs UTC) on 6th November with the start being given by HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco. The next big date on the calendar is Saturday 15th October, when the official Vendée Globe Village opens in Les Sables d’Olonne.
The 8th Vendée Globe sees the biggest…
View all the photos of the press conference…

“The Vendée Globe remains faithful to its DNA and basic values. These are the secret of its success and the reason why it has lasted. The concept is extremely simple and applied by exceptional sailors. Looking beyond the concept of a non-stop solo round the world race without assistance, which everyone understands, it is also a truly popular event, which is open and free to allow everyone to share in the dreams of these sailors.”It was with these words that Mr. Yves Auvinet, President of the SAEM Vendée, opened the press conference for the eighth Vendée Globe organised on Wednesday 14th September in Paris.

Bruno Retailleau (President of the Pays de la Loire Region), Patricia Brochard (Co-president of Sodebo), Lionel Pariset (in charge of sea sports for the Town of Les Sables d’Olonne) and Jean Kerhoas (President of the IMOCA class) each then made speeches. Afterwards, all the skippers competing in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe were presented one by one and answered a few questions on the stage at the Palais Brongniart.

With 53 days to go to the start and one month away from the opening of the official Village in Les Sables d’Olonne, this press conference was an opportunity to remind everyone of the basic principles of the Vendée Globe, but also to present some of the new features for what looks like being a promising edition.

The course: an exclusion zone to enhance safety

The course for the Vendée Globe remains unchanged of course. The principle still involves setting sail from Les Sables d’Olonne and returning there after sailing around the world from West to East leaving the three major capes to port (Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn). There is however one new element we should mention with the Race Directors setting up an “Ice exclusion zone” in the Southern Ocean. This limit was presented to the skippers last week at a special meeting in Les Sables d’Olonne. The precise location of this zone may be changed before the start or during the race depending on satellite observations showing how the ice is evolving. “We remain focused on the safety of those taking part, as they face hellish conditions hundreds of miles from the nearest coast, which is why we work in close collaboration with the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Center) in the countries closest to the race course and we will call upon the services of Alain Gautier as our safety consultant,” added Yves Auvinet.

Website, mobile app, social media: a completely digital Vendée Globe
To add to the content available to the media and general public, the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe is well and truly digital. What this means is that for example, the race version of the website will appear in a month from now. During the race, a tracker will allow everyone to see the boats in 2D or immersive 3D. A new mobile app is already available on the App Store and Google Play platforms.

Finally, the Vendée Globe will be present on all the leading social media: Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Dailymotion (More information in the Media Guide).

The Vendée Globe and its Villages in Les Sables d’Olonne and Paris
As with each edition, The 25,000 square metre official Village in Port Olona will welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors and more than a thousand  journalists. This Village will open its doors to the general public from 15th October to 6thNovember from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. It will also be open in the evenings on Saturdays until 10 p.m. The public will be able to admire the IMOCA 60s moored up at the Vendée Globe pontoon. A lot of special events and exhibitions will be organised during the three weeks leading up to the start of the race on 6th November.

From 7th November, Vendée Globe Race HQ will be based in Paris, on the mail Branly, on the banks of the Seine, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The real nerve centre of the race, this 1700 square metre area will be open to the public 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. These headquarters in Paris will be home to all the Vendée Globe teams (Race Directors, the editorial staff, video production and press service) who will enable the race to be followed live every day. The general public will be able to attend the daily and weekly programmes filmed in the Vendée Globe TV studio. A press room will be home to all the French and international journalists following the event in their respective media.

Bruno Retailleau (President of the Pays de la Loire Region): “The Vendée Globe belongs to the people of Vendée. It belongs to the public and is part of their heritage. The event is extraordinarily well known in Frence and around the world. The Vendée Globe offers a snapshot of our life with joy, pain, hope and disappointment. This race proves that man can face anything and push back his limits. That is a strong message.”

Patricia Brochard (Co-president of Sodebo): “Sodebo is proud to be a partner to the Vendée Globe for the fourth time in a row. Talented skippers will once again be sharing their dream and showing their generosity. I’d like to thank the sponsors, who support these sailors to allow them to take part in this fantastic adventure.”

Lionel Pariset (in charge of marine activities for the Town of Les Sables d’Olonne): “Everyone is preparing to welcome the skippers and the public in Les Sables d’Olonne. We are extremely proud and can hardly wait for these three weeks together. The official Village is taking shape and the events are being prepared. It should be a magnificent atmosphere.”

Jean Kerhoas (President of the IMOCA class): “A magnificent edition of the Vendée Globe is being prepared. The quality of the line-up shows that the IMOCA class is particularly dynamic. We will be able to see close up the new generation boats experimenting with foils, as they sail around the world. It’s going to be wide open, as IMOCAs from the previous generation remain highly competitive.”


Key dates

. 14th October: The skippers and their boats must be present in Les Sables d’Olonne
. 15th October: The Vendée Globe official village opens in Les Sables d’Olonne
. 6th November: Start of the Vendée Globe (1302hrs CET / 1202hrs UTC)
. 7th November: Race HQ opens in Paris