Press Release, 27 May 2016, New York: Fourteen IMOCA 60s will set sail from New York this Sunday in the last major single-handed race before November’s single-handed non-stop round-the-world marathon, the Vendée Globe.
More than half of the Vendée Globe fleet is taking part in the New York–Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) Race presented by Currency House and SpaceCode. This, the fourth event in the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship 2015‒2016, will see the solo skippers and their boats leaving set sail from New York on a 3100-mile course across the North Atlantic, bound for the Vendée Globe start-finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne on France’s Atlantic coast.
The fleet, currently berthed in Manhattan’s North Cove Marina close to Ground Zero, includes the six latest-generation IMOCA 60s. These futuristic-looking machines represent the cutting edge of offshore yacht racing technology, fitted with retracting J-shaped foils that enable the boats at times literally to fly.
Among the six is Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire, recent winner of the Transat bakerly. Runner-up in the last two Vendée Globes, Le Cleac’h is favourite for the race to the Vendée. He will be up against Hugo Boss skipper, Britain’s Alex Thomson, who finished the last Vendée Globe in third and who now also has a new-generation design, and Sébastien Josse on Edmond de Rothschild, stand-out winner of December’s Transat St-Barth‒Port-la-Forêt.
Other leading French entrants include Barcelona World Race two-time winner, Jean-Pierre Dick on his new StMichel-Virbac, while leading the charge on conventionally foiled older-generation boats will be PRB’s Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004 Vendée Globe, and Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir’s Yann Eliès, a three-time winner of the ultra-competitive solo offshore race, the Solitaire du Figaro. Another triple Solitaire winner racing is Jérémie Beyou, skipper of Maître CoQ, unique in the fleet for being an older-generation boat, retrofitted with new-generation foils.
Beyond Alex Thomson, there are three other non-French skippers competing. The US home crowd will be rooting for Conrad Colman, the half US/half New Zealand skipper of 100% Natural Energy. Colman has spent the last eight years serving his apprenticeship to compete in the Vendée Globe, which has already included two round-the-world races.
Colman is proud to have his own campaign: “I’m proud to fly the flag for the United States and New Zealand. I went to high school not far away from NYC, so it’s great to return to my old stomping grounds. I hope to give local fans a friendly face to cheer for. I think these races have universal appeal and can attract a new American audience.”
Coming from furthest away is Japan’s Kojiro Shiraishi for whom competing in the Vendée Globe is a 30-year-old dream. There is no doubt about his ability to compete: the Vendée Globe will be his fourth solo circumnavigation. The New York–Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) Race presented by Currency House and SpaceCode will be Shiraishi’s first race in his new boat (ex-Hugo Boss) and the first solo: “It is fantastic. I really love it. It is the newest boat I’ve ever had ‒ very stable and more powerful,” says Shiraishi.
Approaching his campaign from yet another angle is Pieter Heerema. The Dutch businessman is a highly experienced yachtsman who’s sailed all his life, in dinghies and keelboats, where he is best known for his successes in the RC44 and Dragon classes. However, his new No Way Back, a powerful, new-generation design IMOCA 60, is very different to the designs he has previously raced. And sailing it solo is even more challenging: Heerema has raced all of his previous boats with crew. “It is a piece of the puzzle of sailing that I haven’t done yet and one of the boxes that I have to tick,” says Heerema.
The New York–Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) Race presented by Currency House and SpaceCode sets sail at 11. 00 local time on Sunday, May 29th from a line immediately off Manhattan’s North Cove marina. This will be preceded on Friday, May 27th by the Currency House Charity Race.
Entry list for the New York‒Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne)
- Fabrice Amedeo – NEWREST Matmut (France)
- Jeremie Beyou – MAITRE COQ (France)
- Conrad Colman – 100% NATURAL ENERGY (New Zealand/USA)
- Tanguy de Lamotte – INITIATIVES COEUR (France)
- Jean-Pierre Dick – StMICHEL VIRBAC (France)
- Yann Eliès – QUEGUINER-LEUCEMIE ESPOIR (France)
- Pieter Heerema – NO WAY BACK (Netherlands)
- Sébastien Josse – EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (France)
- Morgan Lagravière – SAFRAN (France)
- Armel Le Cléac’h – BANQUE POPULAIRE VIII (France)
- Paul Meilhat – SMA (France)
- Vincent Riou – PRB (France)
- Kojiro Shiraishi – Spirit of Yukoh (Japan)
- Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS (Great Britain)
Facts and figures
- 1st edition of the New York-Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne)
- 14 entries
- 3100 nautical miles
- 4th leg of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship
- Start on 29 May at 11.00am EST (16.00 BST)
- Estimated Arrival : from 5 June 2016 in Les Sables d’Olonne
- Official event of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship 2015-2016
- 27 May: Press Conference and Currency House Charity Race on the Hudson River:
- 29 May at 11.00 EST: New York-Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) start – on the Hudson River off North Cove Marina.
- Position updates during the race: Every 15 minutes, with a blackout between 23.00 and 04.00 BST
- from 5 June: Arrivals in Les Sables d’Olonne – the Vendée Globe home port
IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship 2015-2016
- Rolex Fastnet Race (double-handed), Cowes-Plymouth (UK), winners Vincent Riou – Sébastien Col (PRB)
- Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed), Le Havre (FRA) – Itajaï (BR), winners Vincent Riou – Sébastien Col (PRB)
- Transat Saint-Barth / Port-la-Forêt (FRA) (single-handed), winner Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild)
- IMOCA Ocean Masters New York – Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) (single-handed), Starts on 29 May 2016
- Vendée Globe (single-handed), Starts on 6 November 2016
IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship Rankings after 3 legs:
- Vincent Riou (PRB) 69 points
- Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut) 63 points
- Yann Eliès (Queguiner-Leucémie Espoir) 62 points
- Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord) 61 points
- Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque populaire) 57 points