They’re off again. All the young bloods with an eye on professional singlehanded racing careers are already getting their boats scrutinised and checking all their gear. There will be old hands like Jann Eliés, who has already survived having his legs smashed in the southern ocean during the last Vendée Globe, and a few rookies hoping to establish their reputations and justify the sponsorship they have attracted so far.
These are hard times, so it’s not surprising that the fleet is down to 37 entries this year, compared to 49 in 2011. It looks as if the rookies have had a particularly difficult time, because there are only 6 this year, against 11 last year, but there’s a Norwegian for the first time and 2 of them are Brits, thanks to Artemis Offshore Academy, which has sponsored all 3 British boats. Of these Nick Cherry is the one who has also found time to run an entertaining and informative blog . I particularly enjoyed his series of pics showing possible places for taking the shot semi-alert naps that are the only form of sleep allowed to serious Figaro contestants.
To help you get a feel for the atmosphere in Paimpol as the stat blooms up, take a look at the picture gallery on the official site