Vendee Globe to get underway with best participant list ever

2012 Vendee Globe participants
Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe ©
When the seventh edition of the Vendee Globe gets underway on November 10th in Les Sables d’Olonne, twenty yachtsmen will be on the line. The final entrants list was unveiled on Wednesday at Paris’ Maison de la Mutualité by Vendée General Council President Bruno Retailleau. The list includes Zbigniew Gutkowski, the last entrant and the first Polish skipper to take up the single-handed non-stop round-the-world challenge without any assistance.

The 2012-2013 Vendée Globe passes with honors! With less than 50 days to go until the world’s greatest solo yachting race starts, the names of the twenty candidates for Michel Desjoyeaux’s succession have been officially announced on Wednesday. Twenty is a perfect number, one that is actually exceptional given the current economic context, and consistent with the average number of Vendée Globe competitors in the previous six editions.

'This year, the Vendée is bringing a truly exceptional crew on board, enthusiastically,' explains Bruno Retailleau.

'Up-and-coming sailors of the new generation will do their best to vie with older master mariners in a sea battle between traditional and modern yachtsmen that promises epic fights. This exceptionally international fleet (featuring sailors of six different nationalities) is strengthened by Poland’s Zbigniew Gutkowski.'

As the last skipper to register, Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski, 39 and supported by electricity producer and operator Energa, has become the first Pole to compete in the Vendée Globe. He had also been the first Polish skipper to single-handedly race around the world and finished second of last year’s Velux 5 Oceans race. His peers voted him Polish Yachtsman of the year. 'I’m very proud to be part of this adventure and finishing under 100 days would make me really happy,' said Gutek.

Before coming to the Village in Les Sables d’Olonne, starting on October 20, and finding out more about the twenty skippers, sailing enthusiasts can already follow the skippers’ preparation as they enter the home stretch by visiting the new Vendée Globe website as well as the race’s social networks. It should help them wait until the release of the official book (October 17), the comic book (October 19), the film ‘En Solitaire’ (fall of 2013) and the 2012 Vendée Globe application, available on November 1 on iPhone / iPad and Android / Tablet through the Apple Store and the Google Play Store…

‘Millions of fans will be able to follow the race without missing a single thing, emphasises Bruno Retailleau. A larger Village featuring more fun and educational activities, on board cameras to share the skippers’ daily lives in real time, a great social network effort, images broadcast in 170 countries… With 3D and 2.0, the latest technologies are more than ever contributing to the development of the human side of the adventure.’

The 20 skippers at the start:

Jérémie Beyou (FRA/Maître CoQ)
Arnaud Boissieres (FRA/Akena Vérandas)
Louis Burton (FRA/Bureau Vallée)
Samantha Davies (GBR/Savéol)
Bertrand De Broc (FRA/Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM Projets)
Tanguy De Lamotte (FRA/Initiatives-coeur)
Kito De Pavant (FRA/Groupe Bel)
Alessandro Di Benedetto (FRA-ITA, Team Plastique)
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/Virbac-Paprec 3)
François Gabart (FRA/Macif)
Mike Golding (GBR/Gamesa)
Marc Guillemot (FRA/Safran)
Zbigniew Gutkowski (POL/Energa)
Jean Le Cam (FRA/SynerCiel)
Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA/Banque Populaire)
Vincent Riou (FRA/PRB)
Javier Sanso (ESP/Acciona 100% EcoPowered)
Bernard Stamm (SUI/Cheminées Poujoulat)
Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss)
Dominique Wavre (SUI/Mirabaud).

Vendee Globe website