Please select your home edition
Henri-Lloyd 2022 August Summer Sale - SW LEADERBOARD

Vendée Arctique: Thousands honour Vendée Globe skippers in Les Sables d'Olonne

by Vendée Globe 5 Jun 05:22 PDT 3 June 2022
Thousands honour Vendée Globe skippers in Les Sables d'Olonne © ALEA

Tens of thousands of partying, passionate Vendée Globe race fans and well-wishers lined Les Sables d'Olonne's Grand Plage, the main sea front promenade, last night (Friday) to honour the heroic 2020-2021 skippers.

Emotions and celebrations suppressed by the pandemic for over a year came bursting to the fore and the joyous celebrations carried on late into a beautiful early summer night.

Carried along the seafront on two floats, 28 of the 33 skippers, were greeted by a raucous public, gathering about 50 000 persons as the parade passed nearly two kilometres along the Georges-Clémenceau promenade. It was the perfect way to honour the skippers on the eve of the official opening of the race village of the Vendée Arctic race, the first qualifying race for the Vendée Globe 2024. The colourful parade of street artists, acrobats and musicians shared the theme of the four elements, earth, water, air and fire.

Clutching the Vendée Globe trophy throughout last night's parade, the race winner Yannick Bestaven was probably the skipper most of the crowd wanted to see. Smiling broadly, he acknowledged, "It's great to see so many people turn out and it is nice to share that with the public. It is thanks to these people that the Vendée Globe received so much media coverage and so we owed them this party that we had not been able to do because of confinement. It's a real joy. And of course, there are plenty of memories that came back, but I'm mostly focused on the future. The fireworks after the parade reminded me of my finish, certainly. It was wonderful. To relive that with all our friends of the Vendée Globe, it was great."

Local hero Benjamin Dutreux who finished ninth on the last race grew up in the Vendée, lives locally, keeps his boat here and co-owns a boatyard just up the coast from Les Sables d'Olonne. He enthused, "It is nice to see so many people touched by the Vendée Globe it fills your heart to feel so followed. The race is such a great adventure. We get so caught up in the game, even if we are discreet by nature, we want to share, to have fun with people. So here we have our big party."

Under slept and slightly bleary eyed aboard her IMOCA Medallia this morning, but absolutely delighted to have had the chance to receive the welcome and passion of the Les Sables d'Olonne crowds, and to have shared a special party time with all her fellow skippers Britain's Pip Hare said this Saturday morning, "It was incredible. I had no idea what to expect and so I was just a little nervous since it has been over a year since we finished. I thought there might be one little lady looking out from behind her curtains, but of course this is Les Sables d'Olonne! For me it was nice to get a chance to share and celebrate the other skippers and really feel part of something all together. It doesn't really compensate for the fact there were only a few people out in the Channel when we came in and left but we were part of something unique in time, our race is set in time I am OK with that. That emotion has been and gone."

Finland's Ari Huusela remains, as ever, 'Super Happy' and loved the welcome, "It was nice to wrap up the race like that. It was just great. To feel the passion makes all the hard work, the pain worth it. The people were so happy to see us it was and is something really extraordinary. It is great to see people happy to see us and show how much they care. And it was lovely to see the other skippers and be with them as I did not have much of chance."

An impressive fireworks show set off at the entrance to the legendary channel finally closed the evening. And this morning the start village opened its doors. The extensive village is free access and there is the chance to walk Port Olona's famous pontoon and see the 25 IMOCAs on the race dock poised and ready to take next Sunday's start of the 3,500 nautical miles race into the hostile northern latitudes.

The race village is open for three weeks. The Department of the Vendée region stand host an exhibition highlighting the skippers, the race, its course and the area of the Vendée, an epicenter of sailing. There is a giant photographic exhibition of the images of explorer-photographer Florian Ledoux. 'Under the Pole' shares images of scientific expeditions and the equipment used, including its underwater capsule. There is a 200m2 synthetic ice rink, a Virtual Regatta Inshore challenge. The race village is open until June 26th.

Related Articles

Dalin: "The year couldn't have started better"
With victory in the IMOCA Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Charlie Dalin (Apivia) won the third edition of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race which in fact is his first solo victory in IMOCA and his fourth overall IMOCA race win since 2019 in all different formats combined. Posted on 22 May
25 skippers for Vendée Arctic-Les Sables d'Olonne
A race of discovery to the northern waters of the Arctic Circle Alain Leboeuf, President of SAEM Vendée and the Department of Vendée has just presented the skippers of the second edition of the Vendée Arctic - Les Sables d'Olonne, more than 2 years from the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe. Posted on 20 May
2020 Vendée Globe skippers grand parade
Taking place on the Remblai in Les Sables d'Olonne on Friday 3rd June To launch the summer season, the festivities will begin on Friday 3rd June 2022 with the Grand Parade of the 2020 Vendée Globe Skippers, to celebrate these men and women of the sea. Posted on 14 May
The dream makers - Episode 4
Marrying up skippers and sponsors It is a long and mostly difficult path to the start line of the Vendée Globe and not everyone makes it. Here is number four in our series of those team members who work behind the curtain in a while variety of different roles Posted on 21 Apr
Vendée Arctique: Two months to go
Skippers will leave Les Sables d'Olonne and head north towards icy waters of the Arctic Circle At 5:00 pm on Sunday 12th June 2022 will be given the start of the Vendée Arctique, the first chapter of the Vendée Globe 2024 adventure. Posted on 13 Apr
The vanguard of a new generation
Harayda sets his course for the 2024 Vendée Globe In a few days time young British skipper James Harayda will take over his new IMOCA 60, Stéphane Le Diraison's 2007Groupe Finot designed and built A Time For Oceans, and his ambition of taking on the 2024 Vendée Globe takes one enormous step forward. Posted on 3 Apr
Twice as many cellulose fibres as microplastics
Fabrice Amedeo collected 53 samples using the microplastics sensor fitted aboard his sailboat A study by three French institutes: Ifremer, the University of Bordeaux and the IRD (a public research institution), reveals that the surface water of the Atlantic Ocean is twice as polluted by cellulose fibres as it is by microplastics. Posted on 2 Apr
Éric Bellion creating thefirst Vendée Globe “team”
One of the best rookies of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe returns Now, just these past days having turned 46, Eric Bellion - who was one of the best rookies of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe - is is off and running again. Posted on 21 Mar
NOR for Vendée Arctique 2022 is published
IMOCA skippers will leave from Port Olona on June 12th The President of SAEM Vendée, the organisers of the Vendée Arctique and the Vendée Globe, publish the Notice of Race detailing the rules for participation in the Vendée Arctique - the first qualifying race for the Vendée Globe 2024 Posted on 18 Mar
Rodolphe Sepho on the long course to Vendée Globe
From growing up on his native Guadeloupe Rodolphe Sepho is 36 year old sailor from Guadeloupe who has Vendée Globe as his next major target, a big step up from solo Route du Rhum which he has completed 3 times now a mythical race which of course links Saint Malo with his native Caribbean island. Posted on 5 Mar
Sea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTERMcConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 FOOTERHyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTER