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Vendée Globe

The Vendée Globe, named by the public the “Everest of the seas”

The Vendée Globe is the only non-stop, solo, unassisted, around the world sailing race, on 60-foot IMOCA monohull sailboats.

Quai des Sables d'Olonne au Vendée Globe

The Vendée Globe, a single handed round the world sailing race 

The Vendée Globe route represents more than 20,000 nautical miles or more than 40,000 kilometres. Over three months, participants must cross three major capes: 

  • Good Hope (South Africa)
  • Leeuwin (Australia)
  • Horn (Chile) 


This journey begins at the Port des Sables d'Olonne, then descends the Atlantic. It then crosses the Indian Ocean and the Pacific before it climbs again up the Atlantic. To date, the Breton, Armel Le Cléac’h holds the Vendée Globe record, completing the race in 74 days and 3 hours during the 2016-2017 edition. 

The origins of the Vendée Globe: the golden globe race

It all started in 1968, when the Golden Globe Challenge initiated the first circumnavigation of the globe passing through three capes, with 9 skippers starting the race. Of the 9 pioneers who set off, only one managed to return to Falmouth, a great English port in Cornwall. This race became legendary and will be remembered forever. Twenty years later, it was the forerunner that inspired the Vendée Globe. It was in 1989 that the famous Vendée Globe race started. 

Why does the Vendee Globe race always start from les Sables d’Olonne?

Les Sables d'Olonne was chosen to host the Vendée Globe, because the sailor Philippe Jeantot, founder of the event, lived in Les Sables and all his boats were registered there.