Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Antoine Mermod, IMOCA Class President, hails 2020-21 Vendée Globe as one of the greatest races

by Ed Gorman / IMOCA Globe Series 29 Jan 07:00 PST
Maitre CoQ IV skipper Yannick Bestaven clinches victory © Bernard Le Bars

Antoine Mermod, president of the IMOCA Class, hailed the 2020-21 Vendée Globe as one of the class's greatest ever races, after a breathtaking night of drama on the Bay of Biscay that saw the Maitre CoQ IV skipper Yannick Bestaven clinch victory.

Speaking at the finish at Les Sables d'Olonne, Mermod noted that there is still a long way to go, with many boats still on their way up the Atlantic, but he said that it was already clear that this Vendée Globe will go down as among the greatest and certainly one of the best races in the history of the IMOCA Class.

"Anyone who watched the battle to the finish over the last few days - that saw five skippers with a chance of winning after 80 days at sea - will agree with me that this was an exceptional race," said Mermod. "We have witnessed the best of solo ocean sailing by skippers in a class that has produced the most competitive race we have seen."

"It has also been a wonderful example of sportsmanship on the high seas," he added, "and I could not agree more with Yannick when he said graciously at the finish that there were two winners of this race, in a reference to Charlie Dalin who took line honours on APIVIA but has had to settle for second overall."

Mermod said the race had served up a gripping spectacle from day one, with regular changes in leader and with a highly competitive group at the front, fighting for every mile around the world. "What's more we have seen a very good battle between the foilers and the older boats and also some competitive races within races further down the fleet which continue as we speak," he said.

Mermod particularly highlighted the very low number of retirements with just eight skippers of the 33 who started in early November having dropped out so far. "I hope, of course that we do not see any further retirements," he said. "But I think that, given the very difficult circumstances in which this race has been staged against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, it has been a great endorsement of the IMOCA Class in terms of the rule and the preparedness of the boats and skippers."

"The stringent entry requirements that we have in place for skippers wishing to take part in the Vendée Globe, together with the one-design aspects, the challenge of innovation and the safety protocols, have all been validated in a race, which has tested all the skippers and their boats to the limit," added Mermod.

"I would also like to salute the work of the SAEM Vendée and its loyal and passionate partners. They stood firm in this very special context and enabled all those involved with the skippers to offer a Vendée Globe to the public this winter, and what a Vendée Globe!"

The IMOCA Class president said he was delighted by the global audience for a race which has been followed online all over the world. "We are keen to reach new markets and new fans wherever they are on the planet," he said, "and this race has helped project the exciting IMOCA story and its commercial partners in a way that few races have done before."

"We have witnessed exciting racing which has changed the way we think of the global race course," he added, "but also high drama with Jean Le Cam's display of exceptional seamanship when he rescued Kevin Escoffier. Then in the closing stages we have seen Boris Herrmann survive what could have been a major incident when coming into contact with a fishing trawler in the Bay of Biscay."

"It has been an unforgettable story and even as I speak that story continues to be written," said Mermod.

Related Articles

The Ocean Race launches Relay4Nature
Shining a spotlight on ocean leaders, innovators and advocates An initiative of The Ocean Race, Relay4Nature will involve a baton passing from team to team, shining a spotlight on ocean leaders, innovators and advocates. Posted on 7 May
All you need to know about the new IMOCA rules
A limit on foil size, measures to reduce environmental impact and contain costs The updated IMOCA rule seeks to limit foil size and limit environmental impact and to contain costs. The new rules which are in force until 2025 were unveiled by the IMOCA Class last week. Posted on 7 May
The Ocean Race announces communications partner
Inmarsat to power The Ocean Race with its cutting-edge technology Exclusive agreement will deliver advanced digital content capabilities, safety services and onboard connectivity for The Ocean Race Europe 2021 and The Ocean Race 2022-23 Posted on 5 May
Vendée Globe - On course for 2024
A starter for 10... they have done it before and already said 'yes' The huge wave of enthusiasm for the Vendée Globe during and after the last edition means there are more and more solo skippers intimating their plans to do the next race which will start November 2024. Posted on 4 May
Interview with Catherine Chabaud MEP
First female Vendée skipper now cares for ocean health Back In 1997 Catherine Chabaud became the first female sailor to complete the Vendée Globe, taking sixth place and in so doing becoming the first woman to race solo non stop around the world without assistance. Posted on 28 Apr
SailGP news, TOR goes green, and new IMOCA rules
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA The weather may have been cold and rainy for the Seattle Yacht Club's Protection Island Race this past Saturday on Puget Sound, but things were fortunately warmer in Bermuda, where sailing unfurled for the first event in the 2021 SailGP season. Posted on 27 Apr
New IMOCA rules for 2021-25
Geared towards more sustainable performance Over the winter, the Vendée Globe sailors treated us to a thrilling competition and their ability to share the values of solidarity really appealed to the public. Posted on 26 Apr
The Ocean Race announces climate change initiative
Aiming to make its next round-the-world race in 2022-23 climate positive The sailing event, known as the greatest test of a team in sport, is announcing the move as part of an ambitious climate change initiative and a key part of its work to protect and restore the seas. Posted on 22 Apr
Team Childhood I to enter The Ocean Race Europe
Swedish - Dutch joint venture sets sail to keep children safe from violence and sexual abuse With a star ensemble of Dutch pro-sailors and young talents Team Childhood I will enter The Ocean Race Europe. The Swedish - Dutch joint venture sets sail to raise awareness for and keep children safe from violence and sexual abuse. Posted on 21 Apr
Ocean Race Europe marks a fully-crewed standard
IMOCA and VO65 teams will compete in a race from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Some of the best sailors and teams in the world will take up the challenge of The Ocean Race Europe next month, racing in stages from Lorient, France to Genova, Italy. Posted on 20 Apr
Henri-Lloyd 2021 M-PRO PURE BLACK - FOOTERReverso Air 2021 FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 BOTTOM