With 33 participants, a record-setting fleet has set sail in the most difficult organizational year that the race has ever faced, thanks to the complications of the coronavirus. In this year’s ninth edition, six female solo sailors will ensure the strongest female participation in a Vendée Globe to date.
This solo, non-stop, 28,000-nautical-mile unassisted race around the globe – which begins and ends in Les Sables d’Olonne, France – takes place just every four years and is one of sport’s most extreme endurance challenges, pushing even the world’s most capable sailors to their very limits in the quest for victory. During the three months it takes to complete the course, the sailors will endure extreme physical and mental conditions as they battle the elements. They will need to navigate high winds, ferocious waves, unpredictable swells and hazardous ice on their way to the finish line. Basic human needs such as eating and sleeping must be subordinated to the requirements of the competition.
Even the most capable among the sailors will push their limits in the struggle for victory. Since the first Vendée Globe in 1989, only 89 of 167 participants have made it all the way to the finish line. So far, only French sailors have managed to secure a victory.