30 adventurers around the world
On November the 9th at 13:02, 30 sailors are leaving Les Sables d’Olonne for a crazy adventure. The 6th edition of the Vendée Globe will lead them to inhospitable seas, for a non stop circumnavigation. 24 000 milles along, in their 60′ monohulls, the 30 sailors will be totally alone. They will have no assistance, either meteorological nor medical. During 3 months these navigators will have to face scaring conditions.
The exit of Golfe de Gascogne promisses to be strong. A big depression with 2 fronts at more than 40 knots and a strong sea is ahead. The south-west wind will slow the challengers. After the Finisterre cape comes the Pot au Noir. In the very south of the north hemishpere this intertropical zone is always very tricky. Than comes the “Pays de l’ombre” (the shade zone) so called by Titouan Lamazou the first winner of this race in 1989. This zone is located between the Bonne Esperance cape and Tasmania, south-east of Australia, sailors will face there strong winds, high seas and low light during two weeks. After this long part comes the Pacific Ocean with a kinder sea until the Horn cape. After this mystical pass comes the Atlantic part which can consist in a long final sprint.
A popular success
20 of the 30 racing boats are brand new ones, and 15 of them can win this race. The reliability and the endurance of the couple sailor/boat will make the difference. Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004 edition and recordman is still running on PRB. His record of 87 days may be broken though the meteo will not be kind for the challengers. More, the organisers decide to modify the path, to make it longer through the “Ices door”. This door consists in mandatory points to pass, in order to avoid competitors to come too close from icebergs. Security first. The Vendée globe is a hot pursuit but also an extraordinary adventure, the 2008 edition is very promising.
More details: www.vendeeglobe.org
Photo Credit: DPPI/Vendée Globe