The SAEM Vendée who are the organizers of the Vendée Globe, unveiled the notice of race for the 2024 edition last Thursday. It increases to 40 the number of entrants. Tip & Shaft gives you an overview and takes stock of the boats which might line up on the 10th edition’s start line.
At a full three years before the start of the next Vendée Globe (November 10, 2024), the SAEM Vendée has unveiled the notice of race, that is some five months ahead of the previous edition. “Faced with the enthusiasm for these projects and the expectations of the skippers, we had to produce this document quickly to give them visibility. In addition, the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 will allow them to earn miles, so we wanted the notice of race sorted before it”, explains Alain Leboeuf, successor of Yves Auvinet at the head of the Vendée departmental council and president of the SAEM since this summer, to Tip & Shaft.
Unlike the previous edition, the organizers did not wait for the appointment of the race director, a call for tenders will be launched shortly. The Race Direction will be known two years before the start. They still relied on “part of the old race management team”, according to Alain Leboeuf, but also worked with the Imoca class and its president, Antoine Mermod.
The main information in this notice of race is the enlargement of the maximum number of entries to 40 (compared to 34 in the 2020 edition which actually had 33 starters). “We decided to open things up a bit, but for reasons related to safety on the race, we had to set a limit, it was really these safety issues that set us at 40“, continues Alain Leboeuf. “We also needed places at the dock on Les Sables d’Olonne to accommodate everyone. I asked the question to our services which carried out a feasibility study, we are now certain of being able to accommodate 40 boats on the pontoons we know and which will obviously be further reviewed.”
This increase to 40 is necessarily good news for the candidates for the next Vendée Globe: “This is a figure that should be able to meet the wave of enthusiasm which we have seen since the finish of the last edition”, comments Antoine Mermod. “We can say a big thank you to the SAEM because this will allow a lot of skippers to relax just a bit,” explains Fabrice Amedeo. “Personally, I had counted 42 boats potentially starting in 2024 (see our count below) and if we had stayed on a limit of 34-35, there would have been real tension.”
The premium place for
past finishers is over
Another important point to realise on this new notice of race are the qualifying criteria. To validate this, “each skipper-boat pair of the VG 2024 shall have taken the start of at least two solo races (including one in 2022 or 2023 AND one in 2024) AND have finished with a ranking in at least one of these two races.” The races concerned are the Vendée Arctic-Les Sables d’Olonne and the Route du Rhum 2022, the return race after the Jacques Vabre 2023, The Transat CIC and New York-Vendée-Les Sables in 2024.
“On the previous Vendée Globe, three quarters of the competitors finished classified, we want to try to ensure that this is still the case. So we need to have sufficiently well trained and well prepared skippers, hence the strengthening of the qualification process”, comments Alain Leboeuf. Another important clarification: for the qualification to be validated, the contender must have completed one of these two races in a racing time shorter or equal to the winner’s racing time plus 50%” (for example, if the first placed finisher takes 10 days, it is necessary complete the course in less than 15 days). “With this 50% rule, we want to prevent some from just taking it easy in the qualifying races”, continues Leboeuf.
For that same reason, the previous Vendée Globe no longer appears in the list of qualifying races, removing the existing finishers’ automatic ticket from 2020 edition. “We found that this advantage was a little disproportionate,” contends Antoine Mermod. ,”Very few of them actually needed it from the previous Vendée because among those who had raced the vast majority had actually sailed a lot. One or two, on the other hand, have only done the Vendée Globe. The goal is to promote those who are well prepared and ready.”
Clearly, a ‘Sébastien Destremau’ will no longer be able to compete in the Vendée Globe 2024 without having competed in any Imoca Class single-handed race on their boat, as he had not done before the 2020 edition. “The fact that there is no more this bonus for finishers necessarily puts a little more pressure on“, comments Clément Giraud, who is currently trying to relaunch a campaign. “Now the fact of increasing the field to 40 leaves room for everyone.”
Exemptions from selection
and registration fees doubled
And if there are more than 40 competitors who have finalized their registration file before July 1, 2024 – with their qualification completed – a selection, as in 2020, will decide between them according to the number of miles covered in 12 Imoca Globe Series races. These miles are set with a system of coefficients: 1 for solo, 0.5 for the double, 0.25 for The Ocean Race (to a limit of 5,000 miles), the New-York-Vendée-Les Sables benefiting from ‘a coefficient of 1.5, chosen by the SAEM to encourage the racers to compete on this last event before the Vendée Globe, which it is also organizing.
The full selection which will not however apply to the first 13 new boats to take the start of a qualifying race: “We thought that the proportion of one third / two thirds was interesting, we must continue to have boats that make people dream, but we also want sailors to be able to race the Vendée Globe within reasonable budgets“, comments Alain Leboeuf.
The other exemption will be the wild card left to the discretion of the organizer, who only wished to keep one instead of the four in 2020. That is a fair choice according to Fabrice Amedeo: “It would have seemed untenable to have a kind of right of life and death on three or four skippers who worked for three years to race for miles.”
The last notable point: the doubling of registration fees, which went from 10,000 to 20,000 euros. “We looked at what was going on elsewhere and we were below the prices charged, we remain more in the norm. The enlargement of the fleet also has consequences in terms of cost for the organization”, justifies the president of the SAEM. Like the few skippers contacted by Tip & Shaft, Antoine Mermod is not shocked by this increase: “This is not good news in absolute terms but the advantage of a SAEM type organization is that ‘it has no goal to return a profit, so we know that these revenues will be fully used for the benefit of the race and therefore of its competitors. ”
As the 2004 Vendée Globe generation boats are no longer eligible, Tip & Shaft has listed 44 potential Imocas at the start in 2024:
- 10 new boats announced for Yannick Bestaven, Jérémie Beyou, Sam Davies, Kevin Escoffier, Boris Herrmann, Thomas Ruyant, Arkéa-Paprec (skipper soon to be announced), Maxime Sorel, Jörg Riechers and 11th Hour Racing. To which we could add one for Charlie Dalin, to be confirmed. Alex Thomson held a press conference last Monday in Paris, he won’t take part to the next Vendée Globe but he is seeking some partners to launch a new boat with his team for another skipper.
- 8 of the Vendée Globe 2020 generation: Charal (potentially for sale in 2022), Hugo Boss (sold), Bureau Vallée (Louis Burton), Apivia (which, according to our information, will be acquired by Banque Populaire for Clarisse Crémer), DMG Mori (Kojiro Shiraishi), LinkedOut (for sale at the end of 2022), Corum L’Épargne (Nicolas Troussel), Arkéa Paprec (for sale).
- 6 of the Vendée Globe 2016 generation who will be at the start in 2024 with Benjamin Dutreux (currently 11th Hour Racing-Alaka’i), Fabrice Amedeo, Romain Attanasio, Pip Hare, Giancarlo Pedote and Damien Seguin (the current Maître CoQ), also one launched in 2014, Laboratoires de Biarritz (Denis Van Weynbergh), ex Spirit of Hungary.
- 3 of the Vendée Globe 2012 generation: Banque Populaire X, bought by Benjamin Ferré, the current Initiatives Cœur (sold to Arnaud Boissières), Offshore Team Germany (which should compete in The Ocean Race 2022).
- 15 of the Vendée Globe 2008 generation: Compagnie du lit / Jiliti (the boat belonging to Erik Migon is for sale, Clément Giraud wants to change), Ebac (Antoine Cornic), Apicil (for sale), Groupe Setin (Manu Cousin keeps the boat), Kostum-Lantana Paysage (Louis Duc is trying to find a budget), La Fabrique (for sale, Alan Roura will soon unveil a new project), La Mie Câline (sold in 2022 to Rodolphe Sépho), MACSF (Isabelle Joschke keeps the boat), Stark (Ari Huusela tells us that he sold it), The Mountain Man (Beat Fankhauser, who has just retired from the Transat Jacques Vabre), Time For Oceans (for sale, Stéphane Le Diraison wishes to acquire a new Imoca), V&B Mayenne (for sale), Water Family (acquired by Guirec Soudée), Yes We Cam (Violette Dorange has just announced that she intends to participate in the Vendée Globe with the boat) and Merci (Sébastien Destremau).