Sean McCarter aims to compete in World's Toughest Sailing Race

"Vendee Globe"

The Vendee Globe starts in France on 6th November 2020. 30 sailors will race solo, non-stop around the world without assistance on extreme 60ft race boats. The race runs every four years and since it's birth in 1989, no Irish sailor has ever completed the 30,000 mile course through the world's most ferocious oceans. 

The race was founded by Philippe Jean tot in 1989, and since 1992 has taken place every four years. The 2016-2017 edition is planned to start on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

As the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world race, the race is a serious test of individual endurance, and is regarded by many as the ultimate in ocean racing.

Vendee Globe 2016 Official Trailer


The race was founded in 1989 by French yachtsman Philippe Jeantot. Jeantot had competed in the BOC Challenge (now the VELUX 5 Oceans Race) in 1982–1983 and 1986–1987, winning both times. Dissatisfied with the race's format, he decided to set up a new round-the-world non-stop race, which he felt would be the ultimate challenge for single-handed sailors.

The first edition of the race was run in 1989–1990, and was won by Titouan Lamazou; Jeantot himself took part, and placed fourth. The next edition of the race was in 1992–1993; and it has since then been run every four years.

'In the Company of Great Companies'. Vendee Globe start, 2008.

Over 4,000 Mountaineers have climbed Everest,
550 Astronauts have been into Space,
Only 70 Sailors have completed the Vendee Globe Race,
None of which have been Irish...
— -Sean McCarter


IMOCA 60-foot monohulls are among the fastest modern racing monohulls. Built using composite materials, they are designed to be as light as possible (speed gains) while at the same time being solid enough to withstand the worst conditions you can find when racing on the open seas.

   Acciona Open 60, 2012. 100% EcoPowered.


Acciona Open 60, 2012. 100% EcoPowered.

The ‘Open 60’ monohull was really born in 1986, during the second edition of the BOC Challenge, when five of the monohulls shared the reasonable size of 18.28 metres (60 feet). From the creation of these new monohulls, the specifications of these boats were drawn up to deal with the strong downwind sailing found in the southern ocean: they were very wide and long at the waterline. A few years later, in 1998, canting keels, aimed at increasing the righting moment became the norm and computer systems became more and more important helping skippers to retrieve weather forecasts and communicate with land. Gradually autopilots, vital for solo sailing, have become more and more intelligent.

Hulls and sail plans changed over time too, with boats becoming more potential with wider sterns, while offering improved performance upwind. We can also see that cockpits are better and better protected with certain having covers or sliding roofs to protect skippers during manoeuvres.

The safety requirements imposed by the Class on sailors and designers have contributed a lot to the success of the boat. Since 2000, in order to be able to line up at the start of a race, boats must prove their ability to right themselves without any external assistance and prove they are watertight inside and are extremely buoyant when they capsize or suffer an ingress of water.