The ninth edition of the Vendée Globe will start November 8, 2020 from Les Sables d’Olonne. As of now there are approximately 35 active skippers all planning to start the race in 19 months time, some of whom are already building qualification miles to have the best chance of being selected. The Notice of Race limits the number of entries to 30. Tip & Shaft makes a round up of the projects that are vying for selection.
British sailor Neal McDonald has been involved in seven Volvo Ocean races. After being Performance Manager to the Ian Walker skippered Abu Dhabi, winners in 2014-15, McDonald played a similar key role on the last Volvo with Xabi Fernandez’ MAPFRE team. He has been full time with Alex Thomson Racing since last year but has known and worked with Alex on a project basis for the last three or four years. McDonald, now 55 years old, has been announced as co-skipper to sail with Thomson on the new Hugo Boss which is completing building in England and due to be launched June/July. An unexpected choice…not really…Tip & Shaft spoke to Neal this week.
Kojiro Shiraishi made tens of thousands of friends and fans all around the world during his Vendee Globe. Dignified, passionate with a thousand megawatt smile, the Japanese solo racer was really starting to show his potential and his ability just before the mast of his Spirit of Yuko broke and he was forced in to South Africa. When he pledged to come back and finish the job in 2020, few would have bet on Koji returning armed with a brand new generation foiling IMOCA built from the moulds of Charal. But with the backing of DMG Mori, a global leader in machine tools and their applications, Shiraishi has a top level project.
After more than ten years competing in Class40, French based English skipper Miranda Merron took the plunge this spring and established a Vendée Globe project. She has the Owen-Clarke designed IMOCA which started life as Dominique Wavre’s Mirabaud and raced the last Vendée Globe as Great American IV Rich Wilson. The boat is renamed Campagne de France after her long time sponsors, a large French dairy products cooperative. Now Merron is preparing for her first solo IMOCA race on her new boat, Bermudes 1000 Race which starts on May 9th. The 49-year-old Briton, who works closely with her partner Halvard Mabire, who joins the discussion, tells Tip & Shaft the reasons for her new life pinnacle challenge.
At the start of the last Vendée Globe in 2016 there were seven of the 29 IMOCAs with foils. In last year’s 2018 Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe half of the IMOCAs which raced had foils. And in the upcoming 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre more than two thirds of the fleet will have foils. In less than four years foils have become the rule rather than the exception. But they are still very much in the early stages of development. Less than one week before the start of the Bermudes 1000 Race, the first of the 2019 IMOCA season, we review tips and shafts, by Tip & Shaft.
The Vendée Globe’s organisers preference was to call the 2016-17 solo non stop round the world race the most international, when eight nations were represented. Regardless, as the 2020-21 edition wrestles to taper down a bumper entry. There are 13 non French skippers with active projects. Tip & Shaft takes a quick tour round the houses a couple of weeks before the first IMOCA Globe Series race of the season, the Bermudes 1000 Race, the 2000 miles season opener from Douarnenez to Brest via the Fastnet and the Azores which starts May 8th.
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