VENDEE GLOBE FACT FILE The Vendee Globe was founded in 1989 by French sailor Philippe Jeantot.

He had won the BOC Challenge (now the VELUX 5 Oceans Race) in 1982-83 and 1986–87 but, unhappy with the race's format, set up a new round-the-world non-stop race instead.


The first edition of the race was won by Titouan Lamazo in 109 days, eight hours, 48 minutes and 50 seconds.

Out of a starting fleet of 13, only seven finished - all Frenchmen.

1992/93 Tragedy marred the second staging of the Vendee Globe, with two deaths.

American Mike Plant was lost at sea en route to the starting line, his yacht eventually found capsized near the Azores.

And 50-year-old Surrey-born Nigel Burgess, the first Englishman to take part in the race, drowned after his boat capsized three days after the start.

Welshman Alan Wynne-Thomas also started, but retired for medical reasons. Of the 15 men due to start he race, including Plant, only seven finished.

Alain Gautier won in 110 days, two hours, 22 minutes and 35 seconds.

1996/97 Pete Goss became the first Englishman to finish the Vendee Globe, in fifth place.

But he is best remembered for going to the rescue of fellow competitor Raphel Dinelli, whose boat had sunk during a storm in the Southern Ocean.

Goss turned his own boat around and spent two days sailing into hurricane force winds, eventually finding Dinelli in a life-raft two days later.

For his bravery, Goss received a Legion d'Honneur award.

Goss finally finished in 126 days, 21 hours and 25 minutes - three weeks behind winner Christophe Auguin, who took 105 days, 20 hours and 31 minutes.

That was by no means the only drama though.

Bristolian Tony Bullimore capsized in January 1997, managing to survive in an air pocket in the upside-down boat in pitch darkness, having lost his food supplies. He was eventually rescued by the Australian Air Force.

Though the likes of Dinelli and Bullimore escaped in the end, not everyone was as lucky. Swiss sailor Gerry Roufs capsized and became the third VG sailor to be lost at sea.

Of the 16 boats that started, only six finished.

2000/01 The legend which is Cowes-based sailor Ellen McArthur was born.

At 24, she not only became the youngest ever entrant in the Vendee Globe, but finished second in 94 days, 4 hours and 25 minutes onboard her boat Kingfisher.

She was only a day behind winner Michael Desjoyeaux, who finished in a record breaking 93 days, three hours and 57 minutes.

Mike Golding, in his first Vendee race, finished seventh in 110 days, 16 hours and 22 minutes.

Out of a record 24-strong entry, 15 boats finished, including Ipswich's Josh Hall in ninth, a day behind Golding.

2004/05 Mike Golding was one of five sailiors to better Desjoyeaux's 2004/05 record breaking Vendee finish.

Golding, despite losing his keel 50 miles from the finishing line, came in third in 88 days, 15 hours, 15 minutes and 13 seconds.

Continuing their dominance of the race, it was another Frenchman, Vincent Riou, who won in 87 days, 47 minutes and 55 seconds.

Golding, onboard Ecover, was only two hours behind runner-up Jean Le Cam.

Gosport's Alex Thomson entered the race for the first time, but was one of the seven entries from the 20-strong fleet who failed to finish.


Michael Desjoyeaux became the first man to win the Vendee twice when he finished in a new record time of 84 days, three hours, nine minutes and eight seconds.

Though Frenchmen occupied the first three positions, Brits were fourth, fifth and sixth.

Hamble's Sam Davies, one of only two woman in the 30-strong fleet, was fourth in 95 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 57 seconds, with the other female - Hampshire's Dee Caffari - finishing sixth in 99 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 57 seconds.

In between them was the Isle of Wight's Brian Thomson, in 98 days, 20 hours, 29 minutes and 55 seconds.

Completing the best ever Vendee for British sailors, Dorset's Steve White was eighth, in 109 days.

Of the 30 starters, only 11 finished.

Among those who didn't was Alex Thomson, who suffered a cracked hull on day six, and Golding, who dismasted on day 38 when he was in the lead.


Sam Davies' hopes of a second successive Vendee Globe finish were ended when she dismasted after only five days at sea.

Yet another Frenchman, Francois Gabart, won in a new record time of 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 sedonds.

Alex Thomson finished third, shattering Golding’s 2005 record of 88 days as the fastest Briton to finish the Vendee by arriving home in 80 days, 19 hours, 23 mins, 43 secs.