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.
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.
From the fateful day, November 6th, when their Ultime Banque Populaire IX capsized on the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe it took just over one month, until December 12th before the green light was given for an ambitious new three cornered project. Such is the success story which links sailing and Banque Populaire and which now sees the seemingly unwavering relationship extend past the 30 year anniversary now into 2024.
Australian Chris Nicholson is not one to let grass grow under his feet. Even after just completing his sixth Volvo Ocean Race, this time as watch captain with Team AkzoNobel his thoughts are already focused on the next edition of the fully crewed around the world race. He has teamed up with Denmark’s Nicolai Sehsted to form a programme looking to 2021 when the…