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How to follow the start of the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe

by Vendee Globe 7 Nov 2020 02:30 PST 8 November 2020
Vendée Globe © François Van Malleghe

A record sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d'Olonne in France, this Sunday at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU.

Live coverage starts from 0655hrs TU. In addition to the French TV channels, 28 international TV channels / digital platforms (c/w. 21 in 2016) will broadcast all or part of Direct Start in 190 Territories (vs. 147) - see networks

In Europe

Germany: ZDF * / RTL * / NDR *
Belgium: RTBF Auvio (OTT)
Croatia: SPTV
Spain: Teledeporte (RTVE) / Esport3 (TV Catalunya) / TV Galicia
Great Britain: BT Sport 1
Greece: Action 24
Italy: Sky Sports *
Norway: TV2 Sport
Sweden: Sportkanalen
Switzerland: RTS / SRF *
Pan Europe: Eurosport Player (54 Territories)
Pan Balkans (7 territories): Sport Klub


Egypt: ON Sport
Pan Sub-Saharan Africa: Supersport (52 Territories)
Asia Pacific
China: Zhibo TV
Japan: TV Asahi
Malaysia / Brunei: Astro
Australia: Seven (OTT) / SBS
New Zealand: Sky Sport
Pan Asia: Fox Sport (20 territories)


France 24 (190 territories)
Olympic Channel (190 territories)
Edge Sport (26 territories)
Nautical Channel (42 territories)
* Channels showing the direct departure for live or delayed coverage in news bulletins

TV Production Facilities (French Times)

International signal timing
In the Channel: 7:55 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Coverage of the Start: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

New Features:

  • New director of the International Signal: Anthony Forestier (also director of the international signal of the Tour de France cycling)
  • New graphics design with individual tracking data directly from the boats (speed, heading, deviations, etc.)
  • The international signal is enriched with content (skippers' portraits, 3D boats, Vendée Globe archives) for international broadcasters (in parallel with the traditional international signal)
  • New stabilized system (GSS) of cameras installed on helicopters
  • New system of live on-board cameras (Ektacom) in 4G making it possible to recover the warning signals from the 33 boats
12 cameras will be used in the live start production, which will be added to the 33 cameras of the competitors, for a complete immersive experience of the solo sailors' life on board at the start. For the first time, live images will be enhanced by digital packaging incorporating boat speed and heading, weather information, skipper files, and visualization of the starting line, etc.

The Start

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time.

If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on course before the latitude 38 degrees 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020 at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

English coverage commentators are Alec Wilkinson, Mike Golding and Dee Caffari

Follow on the Vendée Globe Social networks:

Follow the start on the internet: LIVE: 07:55 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 14:00 p.m. French times TU+1hr

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