Vendée Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne: Heading north!


On Sunday 12
th June, Alan Roura will take the start of his second race on board his IMOCA Hublot, the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne. A 3,500 mile loop between the legendary Vendée Globe town and the Arctic Circle. A new, demanding course for a race with major issues, since it is a qualifier for the next Everest of the Seas.

A new meeting for Alan Roura, packed full of memories and objectives. Back in Les Sables d’Olonne almost a year and a half after going up the Vendée channel after his second solo round the world race, the Swiss sailor paces the pontoons of Port Olonna with a new outlook. That of those who know their boat is being watched and their performances will be scrutinised. After a gruelling warm-up during the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, the young skipper is well aware that this second confrontation will come with different ambitions. “I’m keen to apply the lessons I learned from my experience in Brest and to take things up a notch,” he confided. “I’ll have to find the right balance between performance to continue to gain experience, personal management on the long run, in a hostile environment, and managing the boat to validate this first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe.” For the race before the race has already begun, with a limited number of places at the start of the next edition and a raging selection process*. Facing his 24 contestants, on a difficult course that will take them up to Iceland in weather conditions that are likely to be unstable, Alan’s challenge will be considerable. And multiple: “We must finish, as far ahead as possible!”

Speed runs to start

Until then, Alan will get back into the special atmosphere of race starts and continue to refine tunings on board his yellow and black IMOCA. Opening of the official race village and parade of the Vendée Globe 2020 skippers on Friday, speed runs tis Saturday, media meetings, organisation events and final tests at sea will give the pace to the last ten days of preparation before the start gun is fired.

* Skippers who want to take part in the Vendée Globe will be selected according to ranking based on the number of miles sailed in races.

** To qualify for the 2024 Vendée Globe, skippers must complete two of the following five races:

  • the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne – 12th June 2022
  • the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe – 6th November 2022
  • the Retour à la Base - November 2023
  • the Transat CIC - May 2024
  • the New York Vendée - July 2024

One of them must be validated before end of 2023 whereas the second must be run in 2024.

                                  Photo © Jean-Louis Carli / IMOCA