Three OCD Open 60s start the Vendee Globe

Three IMOCA Open 60's designed by UK designers Owen Clarke Design started from the Les Sables d'Olonnes this weekend on the Sodebo Vendee Globe three month 25,000 mile global marathon.

Acciona  - launched 2011 - skipper, Javier (Bubi) Sanso  ESP
Gamesa  - launched 2007 - skipper, Mike Golding GBR
Mirabaud - launched 2006 - skipper Dominique Wavre CH

They were seen off by OCD designer Merfyn Owen, who went out to the start on the Gamesa crew rib on a wet, windy and lumpy grey morning and took these pictures of the now familiar scenes of the canal of cheers, the exit from Les Sables d'Olonnes.

The spectator participation this year has been greater than ever. Despite the unexpected closure of the Race Village on November 1st due to extreme weather, the popularity of the Vendée Globe continued to grow in this seventh edition. When it closed on the evening of November 11, more than a million people will have visited the Race Village, not counting those who came on the day start. Those that lined the canal at the start line created an incredible heartfelt send off to the twenty skippers. Commenting just before the start:

Javier Sanso:
I am nervous, just like any sailor would in this situation. The Vendée Globe is magical, there are so many people here, it's a dream that is comig true.

Mike Golding:

It’s amazing, what an incredible atmosphere… All I’m thinking about right now is the start but the spectators are just great, they’re making the start such a special moment! I feel confident because I’m ready, my team has done a great job. I'll be safe!

Dominique Wavre:
I'm already in the race, mentally, ehearsing for the first manoeuvres. Some people told me "Break a leg" (ed: French sailing term for 'good luck') but all I'm hoping is that in three months, all of us will be back on the finish line, with such an emotional atmosphere around us.

To follow the race go to:

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