top of page

Discover the Vendée Globe - A very popular race of boats in France.

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

What is the Vendée Globe?

Do you know the Vendée Globe?

It is a very famous sailing race.

Sailors (or navigators) leave from Les Sables d´Olonne - a French seaside resort - and return there after having traveled around the world.

Photo des Sables d'Olonne d'Emmanuel Alcouffe

This race is considered one of the toughest in the world.

Some call it the "Everest" of the seas.

Indeed, the race can be scary!

How is the Vendée Globe going?

The race is done alone, non-stop and without assistance.

The sailors are therefore alone on their boat throughout the race!

They are not allowed to stop or seek medical help.

Otherwise, they are disqualified.

A bit of History

The Vendée Globe has taken place every 4 years since 1989.

The last edition left on Sunday, November 8, 2020.

Only one sailor has won the Vendée Globe twice: Michel Desjoyeaux.

In 2001 he completed his round-the-world trip in 93 days, and in 2009 he completed it in 84 days.

Since then, the record has been further improved.

In 2017, Armel Le Cléac’h finished the Vendée Globe in 74 days.

The Vendée Globe deserves its nickname "Everest" of the seas.

Only half of the participants finish the race.

The other half must give up.

Unfortunately, the race is sometimes tragic.

Since its creation 3 sailors have lost their lives there.

In fact, in 2009, John Kerry, US senator, said: "participating in the Vendée Globe is a bigger challenge than climbing Everest".

3,000 people have already reached the summit of Everest ... but only 50 have finished the Vendée Globe!

Vendée Globe anecdotes

There are a lot of anecdotes to tell about the Vendée Globe.

I can name two that can make you smile.

In 1992, Bertrand de Broc, one of the participants, accidentally cut his tongue in his boat.

He then had to telex a doctor, and stitched his tongue up on his own!

In 2004, Australian sailor Nick Moloney noticed that his boat had become too fragile.

It would then be too dangerous to continue the adventure.

He must then give up.

Finding himself near Brazil, he decides to stop there to have his boat repaired.

A few months later, he returned to fetch his repaired boat, and finished the race to Sables d'Olonne.

2020 Vendée Globe Race

This year, 33 sailors took the start.

Among these navigators, 6 are women.

For the first time, one of the participants is physically handicapped. Indeed, Damien Seguin was born with only one hand!

The race is very popular in France.

On the day of departure, more than 300,000 people come to greet the sailors!

But this year there was hardly anyone there due to sanitary restrictions.

The race was very tight until the end!

The 7th first navigators arrived the same day!

The winner, Yannick Bestaven, is however not the one who arrived first…

Indeed, Yannick Bestaven arrived third but has received a time compensation for having participated in the rescue of another navigator in the southern seas.

In many way, this edition was historical!

Origin of the boat race name

Finally, do you know why this race is called the Vendée Globe?

Well that's because it leaves from Vendée, one of the 96 French departments.

It is a department that is dear to my husband Alex since he grew up there.

Vendée is the second most touristic department in France.

That is to say, it receives many tourists.

You can swim there in the Atlantic Ocean.

The weather is pleasant and the beaches are large.

The Vendée is also famous thanks to the Puy du Fou, a very popular amusement park.

I will be happy to receive your comments on this article!

If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Virginie In Provence


bottom of page