This single-handed transatlantic race for IMOCA 60s serves as a qualifying event for both the skipper and the boat for the coming edition of the famous Vendée Globe. Departing from Marina Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, this inaugural race will leave for Newport, Rhode Island at noon on the 9th April, 2016.
The clock is ticking; the next Vendée Globe will depart from Sables D’Olonne on the 6th November and registered skippers need to have completed their qualifying passages before the 1st October. To put the Vendée into context, this is a most extraordinary offshore challenge where the fleet will sail non-stop around the world without assistance; so no routing advice beyond avoiding dangerous situations, no medical intervention outside of emergencies and no stopping to go ashore!
Historically, a mere half of those who start the race end up making it to the finishing line…
To win the race, these solo skippers need to sail flawlessly with a keen appreciation of velocity v. prudence, sustaining almost absurd levels of endurance during over two months at sea. It is an extreme sprint that rewards human endeavour, technical expertise and sometimes, quite simply, good fortune. Effecting their own repairs – often in particularly risky conditions, competitors need stay alert to survive, whilst also looking out to help any bestricken fellow participants. It is the stuff of legends and the birthplace of heroes and heroines.
Team “No Way Back”, will be heading down next week to Puerto Calero, a well-known race destination and popular training ground for Volvo Ocean Race teams, for a preparation programme in the lead-up to the Calero Marinas Solo Transat. Owner Pieter Heerema described his decision to maximise qualification prospects by joining both this and the subsequent homeward NY – Vendée race:
“With the optimisation of quality training time a major priority for us, Lanzarote is an obvious choice based on having prime offshore conditions for boat testing within easy reach. The chance to assess my performance across two transat events, with the additional benefit of each offering the opportunity to qualify for the Vendée Globe, seems too good an opportunity to miss. Another key advantage of the Calero Marinas Solo Transat is that the longer turnaround period in the USA allows us a more comfortable window to fine-tune the boat before the start of the return race to France.”
That such a demanding test should require a solo qualifying passage comes as no surprise. Don’t miss the opportunity to come and see the Calero Marinas Solo Transat fleet in April in Marina Lanzarote!