Vendee 2020 Vision: The Final Four
23rd Jul, 2017
In its quest to determine the best candidates to follow in the footsteps of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen Macarthur, Mike Golding and Alex Thomson as Britain's next top singlehanded offshore racing star, Vendee2020Vision has further refined its squad of sailors down from six to four.
The scheme, run by Whitecap Ltd in Southampton, provides vital training for its candidates in their goal to win singlehanded offshore racing's ultimate event: the Vendée Globe. The quadrennial solo non-stop round the world race is next due to take place in 2020 and throughout its history has been French-dominated. British sailors have finished second twice (Alex Thomson in 2016-17 and Dame Ellen Macarthur in 2000-01) and twice finished third (Mike Golding in 2004-05 and Alex Thomson in 2012-13), but ultimate victory has eluded them.
The Vendee2020Vision squad of four for this season comprises:
A new training program on shore has been developed this year, with meteorology tuition coming from Volvo Ocean Race navigator Libby Greenhalgh, who has been coaching the sailors in round the world race routing and meteorology. Medical and self treatment training, equipping the sailors with skills to resolve medical issues on board, has been provided by Dr Mark Tomson of Medical Support Offshore (MSOS). Physical training, management of individual programs and evaluation has been delivered by Chris Szchedlak of Southampton University. Finally, Alec Wilkinson of Elite Sports Media, has been carrying out media training, helping the sailors fine tune their skills, in order to communicate their stories more effectively to media and fan audiences.
Among other events, this season the Vendee2020Vision sailors will get to compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race on board the scheme's IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing. Subject to additional funding, two will then go on to compete in the challenging doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre in north France to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil starting in November .