A solo round-the-world yacht race, without any stops or assistance: the stage is set for the Vendée Globe, an event that many sailors call “the Everest of the Seas”.
The race starts on Sunday, bound by important restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the skippers to complete eight days of strict quarantine before the start of the adventure.
Euronews had the opportunity to sail onboard one of the boats specially designed for this unique event and talk to the man at the helm, Armel Tripon, about this huge challenge.
Escaping the pandemic
It’s a dream of particular significance on this ninth edition, as it will start without an audience and without the traditional festivities because of the COVID health restrictions.
And it’s also an escape from reality for thirty-three competitors who begin their lonely journey from Sables d’Olonne, on the French Atlantic coast.
An ‘outsider’ among favourites
This may be the first Vendée Globe for Armel but, with long experience on the seas, including his victory on the “Route du Rhum” in 2018 in the Multi50 category, the French skipper is as much an outsider as a favourite.
“It is true that ‘outsider’…fits me well, because we are like an ambush, we have a project that started late, with a boat that took a while to optimise. But at present we are ready for the battle,” Armel maintained.
A long fight against the elements
It will take more than two months for the sailors to complete their tour around the world.
But in just a few hours sailing with Armel, we’ve experienced how it feels to be at the mercy of the wind and sea, a small-scale demonstration of what lies ahead for them on this immense challenge. A momentary incursion into one of the most prestigious sailing events in the world.