Thirty-three sailors representing nine countries took part in the global challenge that is the Vendée Globe, where they must go around the world on their own in a sailboat. The competition started on 8 November 2020 and the first person to reach the finish line was Charlie Dalin on 27 January 2021.
The Vendee Globe is a race that takes place every four years in the city of Les Sables-d’Olonne in western France. As of 2 February 2021, 11 competitors reached the finish line and 14 of them were still sailing. As for the rest, some of them had to retire due to technical issues on the boats.
The winner of the competition is Yannick Besthaven, 39 years of age, who benefitted from a 10-hour cut off his original time for helping another competitor with his boat earlier in the race.
The end of this race was thrilling as no less than five competitors still had a chance at victory in the final few hours: Charlie Dalin (team Apivia), Yannick Besthaven (team Maître Coq IV), Louis Burton (team Bureau Vallée 2), Boris Hermann (team Sea Explorer – Yacht Club de Monaco) and Jean Le Cam (team Yes We Cam!).
The town councillor in charge of nautical activities and the organisation of the Vendée Globe told the Lens the city of Les Sables-d’Olonne merely helped the organisers of this event with some logistics such as setting up activities and entertainment in the village as well as putting security boats around the competitors in the Vendée Globe to avoid any unfortunate incidents with spectators.
Christine Swain, a fan of the event, said there were a lot of partnerships between the sailors (and landside crews) and environmental charities, and some competitors even do some data collection for ocean research while battling 40 mph winds and several-meter high waves.
“We are lucky to be the city where such an event is organized,” added town councillor Lionel Pariset. “It is such a vector of communication for the city, to promote it and to tell tourists to come and enjoy our city”. He noticed a large spike of economic activity in the city in the summer following the organization of the Vendée Globe.
Safia Bohm, a new fan of the event, told The Lens she started watching the race with her friend because of his passion for it. “They are on these big ass ships in the Arctic and then I see small boats here and it’s just woah, they can do that!” she said.