Private Racing Sailing Standards: post-mortem of the 2008-09 Vendée Globe race

Vendée Globe 2008-2009 - Surfing with South Pacific Swell

Vendée Globe 2008-2009 – Surfing with South Pacific Swell

These crazy yachtsmen in their awesome round-the-world racing 60 footers gathered recently to fine-tune the standards applicable to off-shore sailboat racing in the IMOCA class.

The last edition of the Vendée Globe race took its toll, as in the past VG races.

Remember Gerry Roufs from Montreal (Quebec) who vanished without a trace, somewhere between Cap Horn and Antarctica in the 1997-98 edition of the Vendée Gobe? 

Luckily, in the 2008-09 edition of the race, there were no reported loss of skippers at sea.

There were injuries at sea, serious technical break-downs this time, but zero loss of life. This is progress!

The skippers of this year’s Vendée-Globe recently got together for a serious discussion on how to prevent the kind of  life-threatening mishaps that occurred in the last race.

And they came up with new private regulatory proposals described here.

These 60-foot sailboat racers are speed demons and their encounters with marine animals and unknown floating objects was of great concern during the last race, as they resulted in many forced retirements from this year’s Vendée Globe race.  Half the skippers who departed the Sables-d’Olonne last fall crossed the finish line in early 2009.

The next edition of the Vendée Globe, the most gruesome of single-handed sailboat races around the world, will be subject to new and improved private standards.

Good news: fewer skipper casualties and sailboat structural failures, and greater respect for ocean wildlife are amongst the objectives of the upcoming revised standards.

This post-mortem briefing is another shining example of how responsible private citizens gathered under a specific banner can come up with novelties, e.g.: in off-shore racing, sailboat design and equipment that will benefit the general pleasure craft industry in future years.


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