Elite sailing race sends competitors around the world … nonstop and alone

By Martha Blanchfield

Skipper Alex Thomson during training for the Vendee Globe 2016. Photo: Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss • Vendee Globe Images.

British skipper Alex Thomson during training for the Vendée Globe 2016.
Photo: Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss • Vendée Globe Images.

The concept of the Vendée Globe is simple and easy to understand. You sail around the world alone without stopping and without assistance.

The Vendée Globe remains the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. It’s a voyage to the ends of the sea and deep down into a sailor’s soul. The eighth edition commences from the west coast of France at Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 08:50am local time. Competitor boats hit the start line at 12:02pm local time.

Termed the Everest of endurance sport on the seas, only a scant 138 sailors have crossed the start line; merely 71 have crossed the finish. This tally attests to the event’s difficulty, with its icy cold conditions, mountainous waves and threatening skies of the Southern Ocean.

Learn more in this Renegade Sailing article.

martha_pic-profileASJ sailing editor Martha Blanchfield is an avid racer who regularly competes in bay, ocean and club competition on San Francisco Bay, plus during annual sail treks along the New England coastline. She is most often aboard 30- to 40-foot boats working the mainsail. In 2011, Martha created the Pink Sail for cancer research, an annual fundraiser regatta.

A photographer plus writer, her commentary about life on the water appears in ASJ print and online channels, as well as her website RenegadeSailing.com. Contact Martha at info@renegadesailing.com.