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Key Solo Ocean Races On The Cards

by Ingrid Hale
Vendee Globe Race start

Following a spectacular edition of the Vendée Globe, Les Sables d’Olonne is now preparing for the next great adventures in solo, ocean-racing – the Mini-Transat in September 2021 and the Golden Globe Race in 2022.

“Les Sables d’Olonne is the stage for the most prestigious sailing competitions. A magnificent setting and infrastructures to host and experience the greatest of maritime adventures. In Les Sables d’Olonne, we live for the sea; and we are proud to share it with the world. Our companies, clubs and associations are wholly committed to the excellence and influence of our sailing networks. While an incredible edition of the Vendée Globe has just come to an end, our town is now getting ready to bring you the next unmissable events in single-handed ocean racing. With the Mini-Transat, which will be held in Les Sables d’Olonne for the next three editions, the first of which will take place in September this year, and the Golden Globe Race, which will be held in 2022, the spirit of the Sablais and the Vendée region will continue to spread inspiration across the oceans”, says Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne and President of the Agglomeration.

Races, accomplishments and a host of emotions

Over the years, the Vendée town has become the world capital of solo ocean-racing, the place where the greatest contemporary maritime adventures have unfolded. The most recent edition of the Vendée Globe was the most closely followed in history despite the health context. The official prize-giving ceremony will take place on 22 May in Les Sables d’Olonne. The 10th edition of the race will set off in November 2024.

In the wake of the Vendée Globe, a number of events have been added to the ocean-racing calendar: the Mini-Transat, the Golden Globe Race, but also the Solo Maître CoQ, Les Sables-Les Açores and Les Sables-Horta. They all have Les Sables d’Olonne as their home port.

The Mini-Transat and the Golden Globe Race on the horizon

The Mini-Transat is the flagship event of the Mini 6.50 Class. The 6.50 metre sailing boats will cross the Atlantic to reach Guadeloupe without assistance. This race will start in Les Sables d’Olonne for the next three editions (September 26, 2021, 2023 and 2025). Yannick Bestaven (2001), Armel Tripon (2003), Thomas Ruyant (2009) are among those who have put their name to the list of winners before taking part in the recent Vendée Globe Race.

Les Sables d’Olonne will host the second edition of the Golden Globe Race in 2022. This is a non-stop, single-handed, round the world race, and notably one without the aid of modern technology. The aim? To rediscover the pioneering spirit of the Golden Globe Challenge, which took place in 1968. With sextants, compasses, charts and marine radios, the participants will try to emulate the performance of Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, who won he race four years ago after 212 days at sea.

A community geared towards the ocean

Like “Van Den Heede”, many sailors have chosen Les Sables d’Olonne as their home port. They live in the town as they prepare for their future adventures at sea, and they have a special place in the hearts of the “Sablais” people. The Institut Sports Océan, the Sports Nautiques Sablais, Les Sables d’Olonne Vendée Course au Large, and dozens of sailing and water-sports schools and sports clubs in the town also contribute to the development of the great skippers of tomorrow.

As the leading yachting and fishing port in the Vendée, Les Sables d’Olonne is home to four shipyards, equipment manufacturers, innovative start-ups, a campus for maritime professions and numerous business parks. As the department’s 2nd largest employment provider the nautical sector also contributes to the appeal of the town.

Les Sables d’Olonne is the leading tourist destination in the Vendée, thanks to its seaside heritage and the diversity of its coastline. The region generates a total turnover of 361 million euros per year. With its beaches, its cliffs, the diversity of activities on offer and the welcoming nature of its inhabitants, Les Sables d’Olonne has all the assets to become the capital of single-handed ocean racing.

Key events:

– 19 to 28 March 2021: Solo Maître CoQ (Figaro Béneteau 3)

– 27 June 2021: Les Sables-Horta (Class 40)

– 26 September 2021: the Mini-Transat (Mini 6.50)

– July 2022: Les Sables-Les Açores

– 4 September 2022: Golden Globe Race

– November 2024: 10th edition of the Vendée Globe

Read more:

Watch: The Vendée Artique

Vendée Globe Start Special


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