The Vendee Globe represents the pinnacle of offshore yachting- one sailor, totally alone, circumnavigating the world is a competitive concept anyone can grasp very quickly and equally quickly understand this is no ordinary pursuit.
The individuals who line up for such a challenge are uniquely tenacious and by start day have already been successful in a task some would say rivals what they seek on the high seas- the monumental operation of drawing together all of the funds and technical knowledge required to put one of the fastest monohull boats in the world onto the water and then have it ready to sail 27,000Nm without outside assistance. Simple Right? No. Unbelievably difficult. That’s not even the worst of it- normal attrition rates for the Vendee Globe are between 33 and 66% meaning that even if you get to the start line, getting to the finish line is not a forgone conclusion. Safe enough to say that there are only going to be a few individuals who ever enter the Vendee Globe and take the start line and fewer still who will make the finish.
If then we then as mere mortals want to experience some element of this incredible spectacle how do we get involved? Well we can join one of the estimated 400 million people worldwide who will follow the event online or work towards being one of the 1 million people who visit the race village before start day. If we take it a step further maybe you have a local friend with a boat or a corporate hospitality fund that needs using up so you get yourself actually out onto the water to witness the start first hand. However, once the fleet is gone maybe 10 or 15 minutes- the thrill is over and its just another day on the water.
So, its a closed shop- no doubts but what if there was another option? What if you could go that little bit further- really get under the skin of the event and be out there with them, watch the rounding of Finisterre from a position only a few hours behind as you calculate your own approach? Make your own assessment of the winds off the Canaries and plot your own course into the ‘Canary Cage’- wouldn’t that be awesome? Well, we thought so too and now for the first time it’s possible.
We love sailing- no surprise there- so we decided what the hell; as we own three 60ft Round the World Race boats ourselves why don’t we take our interest in the Vendee Globe to the next level and put on an event of our own that not only creates a spectator opportunity for the start but then sail South in the fleet’s wake across Biscay and all the way down to the Canary Islands? Would anyone want to join us? From the response so far- the answer is an emphatic ‘YES’.
True our boats are not as quick as the Vendee boats but with top speeds of 20-25 knots possible we can stay within an useful distance of most of the pack for the first few days and with satellite communications onboard we can keep abreast of all the early news coming back from the fleet and in our own way try to do our best to beat the stragglers.
Just think about it for a second, the pre-race build up, meet some of the skippers, see the boats, watch the start and then go through the line after them and then keep going and ‘race’ them all them for a week down to the Canaries.
Come on, that’s cool you know it is.
We think its going to be a thrilling opportunity and a unique view into the world of a select group of next level athletes – for companies or individuals this is a great opportunity to really be part of a world class event. The boat we will be using for this event is our Volvo 60 ‘Challenger’ and I will be skippering her. Having raced solo around the world myself in an Open 60 I hope to be able to provide you with a unique insight to what is going on both before and during the race start and then a comprehensive commentary out on the water of the early days of the race.
For more information check out our website and take your interest in the Vendee Globe to a whole new level- we’re going anyway so you can either be there with us onboard living it day and night for a week or still here checking tweets and facebook….
See you on the water.
Spartan Ocean Racing