The Vendée Globe is a non-stop, solo unassisted round-the-world yacht race. The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and takes place now every four years, starting and finishing in the village Les Sables-d'Olonne on France's west coast. The route sees the yachts sail around three most southerly points of South Africa, Australia and South America: the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Hoorn.
The Vendée Globe is the only race of its kind. Regarded as the 'Everest' of offshore yacht racing, it represents a true test of human endurance; a 23,000 mile, 3 month-long battle against the elements. Currently only half of the attempts to complete the race have been successful.
2012 will see the start of the 7th edition of the race, on November 10th.
For more information please visit www.alexthomsonracing.com
Alex will be one of 20 other competitors taking off from Les Sables d'Olonne this year.
His first major challenge will be the Bay of Biscay, which has a very though reputation between the shallows of the continental shelf and the strengthening winds of Cantabrian Mountains. The way out into the Atlantic can be particular cruel for sailors and their boats.
From the doldrums to Saint Helena, strategy comes into play. At the southern limits of the northern hemisphere, the inter-tropical convergence zone is the nightmare faced by yachtsmen: erratic winds, violent thunderstorms and sometimes torrential rain.
Once Alex Thomson has made it into the Indian Ocean, a shadowy zone with low light, dangerous seas, violent winds and cold environment begins. In just a few days, Alex will find himself completely alone. Ahead of his bow are several thousand miles during which he has to find a compromise between the shortest route and avoiding ice limits.
With the International Date Line passed, Alex' return journey begins. The presents of icebergs around Cape Hoorn will mean for Alex stressful watches on deck and a permanent risk of collision.
With most of the dangers left behind, the skipper has no easy way back through the South Atlantic, but once in the North Atlantic and first signs of civilization, the finish line is within reach.