Arctic race announced as qualifier for Vendée Globe

The SAEM Vendée, the organisers of the Vendée Globe, will also organise the Vendée Arctic – Les Sables-d’Olonne which will be the first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe 2024.

The Arctic Vendée Les Sables-d’Olonne will leave from Port Olona, France on June 12, 2022.

The race was first run in July 2020 by the IMOCA Class. The first Vendée Arctic – Les Sables d’Olonne offered the IMOCA racers a good final test of reliability which proved useful for the fleet before the Vendée Globe. Although, because of the health situation the race had to take place ‘behind closed doors’ this race which took skippers to tough weather systems in northerly latitudes, won over the hearts and minds of the Vendée Globe sailors as well as proving a rigorous competitive challenge. 

In June 2022 the skippers will leave from the famous Vendée Globe pontoon, pass out the legendary Channel and take the Start off Les Sables d’Olonne. They will set off in the direction of the Arctic Circle, pass Iceland, before returning to Les Sables d’Olonne. In total it is a 3,500 nautical miles race that represents an extreme adventure on a course that is both innovative and demanding.

Antoine Mermod, Alain Leboeuf, Yannick Moreau at the Vendée Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne presentation. Sitting at a table, masks on. Vendée Globe poster is behind them.
Antoine Mermod, Alain Leboeuf, Yannick Moreau at the Vendée Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne presentation. Pic – SAEM Vendée

Alain Leboeuf, President of SAEM Vendée and President of the Department of Vendée said, “We are delighted to organize the Vendée Arctic – Les Sables-d’Olonne, a non-stop, unassisted solo offshore race to the Arctic Circle. The event will be reminiscent of the Vendée Globe, and it will be the first qualifying stage for the next race. We are keen to offer a festive and friendly event to all adventure lovers who did not have the chance to see and be with the skippers during the previous edition.”

This is an exciting race format, more extreme and fully engaged from a sporting perspective, but also it is an opportunity for the organization to create a popular, festive event in Les Sables d’Olonne. 

A village will be set up on the Vendée Globe esplanade with entertainment during the two weeks of the race, until the finish of the race.

The event will begin on Friday June 10, 2022, and launched with a parade by the Vendée Globe skippers scheduled for September 25.

Antoine Mermod, President of the IMOCA Class said, “The quality of the partnership of the IMOCA Class with SAEM Vendée, the Department of Vendée and the town of Sables d’Olonne is central to the sporting and event success of our program.

“We are very happy to be offering a new edition of the Vendée Arctic-Les Sables d’Olonne next year with this original and demanding route going to northern latitudes and to waters off Iceland. A magnificent race which offers the elements of adventure held dear by IMOCA sailors and to the public.”

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