There is a fight of epic proportions going down in early November, and an entire nation will be watching. The fighters are currently entering the ring and taking their places, each presenting their own challenge. With just a precious handful of weeks remaining until the throw down, it’s go time. Put up or shut up. At the end of a long and grueling campaign, only one candidate can emerge as the victor.
If you thought that I was talking about the upcoming Presidential Election, I forgive you. I’m talking about the Vendee Globe. In stark contrast to the massive shit slinging contest that is currently being broadcast into our living rooms, we at Sailing Anarchy offer you an alternative. How does 19 sailors sending it around the world, solo, non stop and via the Southern Ocean sound? I thought you’d like that. To sweeten the deal we’ll add in a sexy fleet of tantalizingly high-tech and high-performance 60-footers built with but one objective: to absolutely haul ass around the world. The rules are simple, leave the rocks to port and the ice to starboard. First one around wins. No lobbyists, no interest groups, no PACs. Just good clean Southern Ocean fun, sans errant fecal matter.
And we’re going to bring you all of the action, live from France. With ten full days of coverage leading up to the November 10 start, we’ll have a full media team of boots on the ground committed to bringing the race to your web browser in a way that English speakers have never known before. With written reports and photos of each boat, skipper interviews, “Cocktail Hour” with select skippers, written news articles and video coverage of the start, you’ll see what we see, which should be quite a lot! With a bit of luck, we’ll even be sourcing a live feed of English-translated press conferences. Now how’s that for “working for the people”!
The October 19 deadline to be in Les Sables d’Olonne is fast approaching. Several skippers are already in Les Sables, while others are either en route or frantically preparing for their pre-start delivery.
Here’s some highlights:
Mike Golding showed up Monday on Gamesa, ready to sail in his fourth Vendee Globe. Gamesa, having been thoroughly refit over the winter suffered a dismasting in May due to a broken furling gear and has since been fitted with a new mast. After a mostly “mellow” delivery with everything from light winds to 25 knots, Golding states that he and crew have “beaten the tides and made it into Les Sables d’Olonne by the skin of their teeth before the tide turns”.
Crowd favorite Zbigniew Gutkowski or “Gutek” is finishing up a last minute re-fit of his yacht Energa. Energa was still in Gosport, UK on Monday but should be on the water sailing by the time you read this. “Gutek” is expected to face 35 knot headwinds on the journey to Les Sables. Nothing like a full-on, gnarly delivery sail to the start of a round the world race!
Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud was sail testing Tuesday in La Rochelle. The boat is scheduled to be hauled out and continue preparations through the end of the week, arriving in Les Sables d’Olonne on Friday night. It sounds like Mirabaud has a very busy week and will be working frantically up to the deadline!
Media favorite Alex Thomson is in Les Sables d’Olonne on Hugo Boss. Sporting a blinged out chrome paint job and having just smashed the solo trans-atlantic record, Hugo Boss left Gosport a day earlier than anticipated to avoid a strong storm system that was predicted to slam the English Channel over the coming days. Ducking into Lorient for to briefly wait out some weather, Alex completed the delivery on Tuesday.
Other sailors and boats currently in Vendee include:
Bernard Stamm on Cheminées Poujoulat
Vincent Riou on PRB
Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ
Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives-Cœur
Javier Sansó on Acciona 100% Ecopowered
Kito de Pavant on Groupe Bel was the first non-Les Sables based boat into port.
Stay tuned for more updates leading up to our ten day coverage of the Vendee Globe start!