Charal was one of the favourites going into the 2020 Vendée Globe, but suffered a major setback early on. Photo: Damien Meyer / Getty Images

Founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, the Vendée Globe is a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race.

More people have been into space than have finished the Vendée, earning it the reputation as the world’s toughest sailing race.

Since 1992, the Vendée Globe has taken place every four years and the 2020 version started on November 8.

Who is racing in the 2020 Vendée Globe?

The competitors include Yachting World columnist Pip Hare and Hugo Boss poster-boy Alex Thomson, who was forced to retire on November 29 after suffering rudder damage.

The full list of confirmed Vendée Globe skippers is as follows:

  • Fabrice Amedeo Newrest – Art & Fenetres (retired)
  • Romain Atansio Pure – Best Western
  • Alexia Barrier 4myplanet
  • Yannick Bestaven Maitre Coq IV
  • Jérémie Beyou Charal
  • Arnaud Boissieres La Mie Caline – Artisans Artipole
  • Louis Burton Buereau Vallee 2
  • Manuel Cousin Groupe Setin
  • Didac Costa One Planet One Ocean
  • Clarisse Cremer Banque Populaire X
  • Charlie Dalin Apivia
  • Samantha Davies Iniatives-Coeur (retired)
  • Sébastien Destremau Merci
  • Benjamin Dutreux Water Family
  • Kevin Escoffier PRB (retired)
  • Clément Giraud Compagnie Du Lit / Jiliti 
  • Pip Hare Medallia
  • Boris Herrmann Seaxplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco
  • Ari Huusela Stark
  • Isabelle Joschke MACSF (retired)
  • Jean Le Cam Yes We Cam!
  • Stéphane Le Diraison Time For Oceans
  • Miranda Merron Campagne De France
  • Giancarlo Pedote Prysmian Group
  • Alan Roura La Fabrique
  • Thomas Ruyant Linkedout
  • Damien Seguin Groupe Apicil
  • Kojiro Shiraishi DMG Mori
  • Sébastien Simon Arkea-Paprec (retired)
  • Maxime Sorel V and B-Mayenne
  • Alex Thomson Hugo Boss (retired)
  • Armel Tripon L’Occitane En Provence
  • Nicolas Troussel Corum L’Epargne (retired)

What is the route for the 2020 Vendée Globe?

After departing from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 8, the racers sail across the Atlantic and head south along the east coast of South America to avoid the South Atlantic High.

Upon entering the Southern Ocean, they will head east past the Cape of Good Hope and Australia’s Cape Leeuwin before sailing across the Pacific and rounding Cape Horn.


Will the Vendée Globe record be broken?

Using the 74-day record set by Armel Le Cléac’h during the 2016-7 Vendée Globe as a benchmark, the first finishers should arrive back into Les Sables d’Olonne in mid January 2021.

With a new generation of IMOCA 60 foiling raceboats competing, there were high hopes the course record would fall this edition.

Though a record-breaking year is still a possibility, with a fast return trip up the Atlantic, generally this year’s Vendée Globe has seen less-than-perfect conditions, so a new record is far from a certainty.

Should the winner of the 2020/2021 Vendée Globe not beat the previous record, this will be the first time since 1992/1993 that a Vendée has not been a record-breaking race.

The 2020 Vendée Globe in numbers

  • 21,638 miles
  • 33 skippers
  • 18 rookies
  • 9 nationalities
  • 6 women
  • 3 retired in the first month

Follow the links below to read all the latest Vendée Globe news, features and analysis right here on


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