During the press conference for the Vendée Globe today (Wednesday) at the French Stock Exchange in Paris, the 29 skippers officially registered for the 2016-2017 race were presented to the press.There is a mixture of newcomers and experienced skippers, French and international sailors, ensuring that this is a very promising line-up.

29 skippers have so far fulfilled the administrative, sporting and technical requirements to be able to take up the challenge of the Everest of the seas. To compare the situation, twenty lined up for the last edition four years ago, so the number competing has leapt up (an increase of almost 50%).

The eighth Vendée Globe brings together sailors with a wide range of ambitions and from various backgrounds. Fourteen will be discovering the event, while fifteen are returning (see the list of entrants below).

Five competitors will be entering the elite group of sailors, who have taken part in four editions of the Vendée Globe. One previous winner (Vincent Riou) and four other big names from the event, Bertrand de Broc, Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson. The two latter sailors have already made it to the podium, as has Armel Le Cléac’h (3rd attempt in 2016).

We can see too that the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe is bringing together the youngest competitor in the history of the event (the Swiss sailor, Alan Roura, 23) and the oldest (the American, Rich Wilson, 66).

This edition is also marked by the arrival of a technological innovation, which has been heavily discussed, but which makes its first appearance in the Vendée Globe. Seven skippers will be setting off aboard IMOCA 60s fitted with foils, appendages, which lift the hull up in the wind, when sailing with the wind on the beam or from astern, reducing the hydrodynamic drag and improving performance. Six sailors will be setting sail aboard new foilers (Jean-Pierre Dick, Pieter Heerema, Sébastien Josse, Morgan Lagravière, Armel Le Cléac’h, Alex Thomson), while Jérémie Beyou is competing aboard a monohull from a previous generation, but which has been modified to make the most of this development. Competing against these foilers, other sailors, who have kept their traditional daggerboards will also be serious contenders for victory. “We can hardly wait to see this battle between the new generation of boats with foils and the rest of the fleet, as this promises to be very exciting and there are likely to be races within the race on every level,” declared Yves Auvinet.

Ten nationalities represented: a record in the history of the Vendée Globe

The internationalisation of the Vendée Globe is clearly underway, as ten nationalities are represented by the 29 skippers in this eighth edition. Never has the Vendée Globe brought together so many different countries. Two continents will be represented for the first time (Australasia and Asia) thanks to the Japanese sailor, Kojiro Shiraishi and the New Zelander, Conrad Colman. The Netherlands (Pieter Heerema) and Ireland (Enda O’Coineen) will be present for the very first time in the Vendée Globe. Among the nine foreign skippers taking part, three are returning to the Vendée  Globe. They are the Hungarian, Nandor Fa, the British sailor, Alex Thomson and the American, Rich Wilson. Two rookies are continuing the tradition of competing in the Vendée Globe in their respective nations: The Spaniard, Didac Costa and the Swiss sailor, Alan Roura.


Kojiro Shiraishi (Spirit of Yukoh):


“I am deeply honoured to be among the skippers lining up for the start of the next Vendée Globe. As the first Asian to compete in the race, my main role will be to show people in that continent how important and big this event is.”

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss):

“This will be my fourth Vendée Globe, but it is still just as hard to know what will happen once we are racing. From my previous attempts I know that we have to be prepared for the unexpected. But my goal is clear. I want to win the Vendée Globe.”

Didac Costa (One Planet, One Ocean):

“The Barcelona World Race (the double-handed round the world race) was an extraordinary experience for me. Sailing around the world alone is a huge challenge. Lining up at the start of this legendary race is in itself a victory.”

Rich Wilson (Great American IV):

“I’m pleased to be lining up at the start of the Vendée Globe and of launching a big teaching programme for youngsters around the world. This is a unique opportunity for some young kids, who never get to see the sea.”

Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary):

“I’m returning twenty years after my last attempt, when I was forced to retire after a collision. I’ll be competing on a boat that I designed myself. I’ve had time to prepare. I’ve got a good boat and a fantastic team around me. I’m optimistic and full of energy for my third Vendée Globe.”


“The Vendée Globe has been a dream for me for a long time. To take up this challenge, 14 firms and 80,000 workers are supporting me with the same desire to show that difference is a way to innovate and succeed together. We don’t have anything to sell, just a conviction that we want to share with as many others as we can.”

Alan Roura (La Fabrique):

“I have spent my whole life sailing and travelling. I have always lived on a boat. I’m attracted to the Vendée Globe, as this race allows you to find yourself completely alone at sea for three months, with no communicating and no stress. It’s absolute freedom.”

Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ):

“My team has succeeded in a remarkable challenge by fitting foils to an IMOCA from an older generation. I got used to this boat in record time, without suffering any damage and winning the New York-Vendée race. I shall be setting out in the Vendée Globe with some high ambitions, but will nevertheless remain humble.”

Kito de Pavant (Bastide Otio):

“Not finishing the last two Vendée Globe races remains a huge frustration. I shall be setting off with a different project and with a different story to tell. I am confident I have what it takes to finish. I know I can do it and do well too.”

Yann Eliès (Quéguiner – Leucémie Espoir):

“I’m returning to the Vendée Globe eight years after my first attempt. I still have the same passion, the same desire to complete the voyage. We all take part in the Vendée Globe to be able to sail up the harbour entrance channel in Les Sables d’Olonne, to experience that extraordinary moment.”

Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire VIII):

“Four years ago, I wasn’t far off winning (2nd place). We’re starting afresh and the aim this time is clear. It is to win.”

Vincent Riou (PRB):

“There are three essential ingredients required to compete in the Vendée Globe. The first is you have to have the passion, which is what brings us all together here. The second is the need to be serious, in particular in the lead up to the race. The third ingredient is you have to to share the experience with your partners, team and of course, the general public.”

The line-up for the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe

4th attempt

Bertrand de Broc / MACSF (France – retired in 1992-1993 and 1996-1997, 9th in 2012-2013)

Jean-Pierre Dick / StMichel Virbac (France – 6th in 2004-2005, retired in 2008-2009, 4th in 2012-2013)

Jean Le Cam / Finistère Mer Vent (France – 2nd in 2004-2005, retired in 2008-2009, 5th in 2012-2013

Vincent Riou/ PRB (France – winner in 2004-2005, 3rd equal in 2008-2009, retired in 2012-2013)

Alex Thomson /Hugo Boss (Britain – retired in 2004-2005 and 2008-2009, 3rd in 2012-2013)


3rd attempt


Jérémie Beyou / Maître CoQ (France – retired in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013)

Arnaud Boissières / La Mie Câline (France – 7th in 2008-2009 and 8th in 2012-2013)

Kito de Pavant /Bastide Otio (France – retired in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013)

Nandor Fa / Spirit of Hungary (Hungary – 5th in 1992-1993, retired in 1996-1997)

Sébastien Josse /Edmond de Rothschild (France – 5th in 2004-2005, retired in 2008-2009)

Armel Le Cléac’h / Banque Populaire VIII (France – 2nd in 2008-2009 and 2nd in 2012-2013)


2nd attempt


Louis Burton / Bureau Vallée (France – retired in 2012-2013)

Tanguy de Lamotte / Initiatives Coeur (France – 10th in 2012-2013)

Yann Eliès /Quéginer Leucémie Espoir (France – retired in 2008-2009)

Rich Wilson / Great American IV (American – 9th in 2008-2009)


1st attempt


– Fabrice Amedeo / Newrest-Matmut (France)

– Romain Attanasio / Famille Mary – Etamine du Lys (France)

– Eric Bellion / CommeUnSeulHomme (France)

– Conrad Colman / 100% Natural Energy (New Zealand)

– Didac Costa / One Planet One Ocean (Spain)

– Sébastien Destremau / TechnoFirst-FaceOcean (France)

– Pieter Heerema / No Way Back (Netherlands)

– Morgan Lagravière / Safran (France)

– Stéphane Le Diraison Compagnie du Lit –Boulogne Billancourt (France)

– Paul Meilhat / SMA (France)

– Enda O’Coineen / Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland (Ireland)

– Alan Roura / La Fabrique (Switzerland)

– Thomas Ruyant / Le Souffle du Nord pour le projet Imagine (France)

– Kojiro Shiraishi / Spirit of Yukoh (Japan)