1 - Start of the Vendée Globe yacht race on 6 November 2016

At 1:02 pm on 6 November 2016, the eighth edition of the non-stop, solo, unassisted round-the-world yacht race sets sail from Les Sables-d'Olonne.

IMG_92243The sailors then embark on a three-month race, alone, around the world's three great capes - the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and Cape Horn (Chile) - on board their IMOCA 60 single-hull yacht. They will then cross the Atlantic back to Les Sables-d'Olonne. The Vendée Globe race covers in excess of 24,000 nautical miles.

This global event takes place every four years.


The Vendée Globe: a feat of human endeavour

The challenge of the Vendée Globe is the length of time it takes to complete the race. The Vendée Globe is a round-the-world solo yacht race, non-stop and without assistance, which tests a sailor's ability to deal with all the technical elements of sailing during moments of extreme tension. Preparation is essential, and sailors must have a clear picture of their strategy. Finding the balance between travelling light and taking enough spare equipment is the challenge which will determine the outcome of the three months of sailing.

With a year to go until the start of the race, some of the best sailors from France and around the world have already pre-registered. The race promises to pit new single-hull foilers against proven vessels. The stage is now set for the eighth edition of this thrilling adventure.

The Vendée Globe Village at Les Sables-d'Olonne will be open to the public, free of charge, from 15 October to Sunday 6 November 2016.

Watch the 2016 Vendée Globe trailer

Get the full race start experience at the quayside

depart a quaiThe eighth Vendée Globe race will set sail from Les Sables-d'Olonne on 6 November 2016 at 1:02 pm. As is customary every year, hundreds of thousands of onlookers will descend on the town to cheer on the skippers as they set sail.

In the morning, local fishing boats will leave the channel to make way for the skippers. The boats will leave the pontoons one after another, every 4 minutes between 9 am and 11:15 am.  They will then meet at the starting line, out at sea, where Prince Albert II of Monaco will officially start the race at 1:02 pm. The skippers will head towards Cape Finisterre before exiting the Bay of Biscay.

There are numerous viewpoints from which spectators can watch the start of the race and catch a glimpse of the skippers one last time before their scheduled return in early January. The quays at the fishing port and La Chaume are the best places to admire the sailors as they head out of the channel.

The Vendée Globe Village, in Port Olona, will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Practical information

On the day of the race itself, cars will not be allowed into the town centre after 5 am.

The Indigo Centre-ville car park (pay and display, 1,150 spaces) will be accessible. It is located 15 minutes on foot from the quays.

There will be free shuttle buses from the car parks on the outskirts of the town between 7 am and 7 pm.
Pick-up point: Les Olonnes retail park, Boulevard du Vendée Globe, Leclerc and Brico Leclerc car parks, shopping arcade.
Drop-off point: Village Nautique, Boulevard de l'Ile Vertime.
Around 20 minutes' walk from the quays

Pick-up point: Les Océanes retail Park, Route de Talmont, Géant Casino and Intermarché La Boussole car parks.
Drop-off point: Place de Strasbourg, Le Remblai.
Around 15 minutes' walk from the quays

NB: These shuttle buses will not be accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Motorhome parking
- Parking Plage, Rue Printanière, Les Sables-d'Olonne. 20 minutes' walk from the Village. Pay and display.
- Parking de la Paracou, Rue de la Bonne Vierge, Les Sables-d'Olonne. 10 minutes' walk from the Village. 
- Port Olona, Rue des Bossis, Olonne-sur-Mer. Close to the Village.