Vendee Globe History

Vendee Globe History

1996/1997 Edition : The Globe spinning out of control

"One cannot come home from a Vendée Globe without bearing any marks. Several months will undoubtedly be necessary for me to come back to my normal life ashore. The Deep South let me through this time. The real enemy in this epic voyage is firstly the sea itself ...." —Christophe Auguin

christopheauguin-sm.jpg (6252 bytes)Christophe Auguin - Geodis
Fifteen entrants - plus the little pirate, Rapahaël Dinelli, who qualified too late, made up the starting list for this third edition of the race. Among those lining up there were the great favourites: the Norman Christophe Auguin, twice winner of the BOC Challenge, his Canadian friend Gerry Roufs and the yachtsman from the Aquitaine region, Yves Parlier, who was at the helm of a futuristic 60-footer, the first carbon fibre monohull equipped with a pivoting wing-shaped mast. Two women, Isabelle Autissier and Catherine Chabaud, added a touch of femininity to those fighting it out for the honours, like Eric Dumont or once again Bertrand de Broc.

isabelleautissier-sm.jpg (3574 bytes)Isabelle Autissier - Prb
Yet again, in November and at the start of the epic journey, the Bay of Biscay was in angry mood. It struck hard and showing no mercy sorted the boats out very early on. The Hungarian Nandor Fa and the Basque amateur Didier Munduteguy, both fell foul of it and the damage meant they had to give up immediately on the Great Adventure. Others hurried back to the home port to start out again with several days delay over the leading maritime mercenaries - Yves Parlier, Isabelle Autissier, Christophe Auguin and Gerry Roufs - who had started off in great form to conquer the south. That was until the elimination process began all over again, as the leaders reached more hostile latitudes. On the threshold of the Indian Ocean, Christophe Auguin led the way in front of Isabelle Autissier, who quickly had to abandon her route to carry out repairs on her starboard rudder. As for Yves Parlier, firstly, he broke his mainstay, before colliding with a growler and losing his rudder… and his hopes of victory. The usual Vendée Globe scenario repeated itself as the bows ploughed into the hostile Deep South: one single-handed yachtsman in front and a group chasing him a long way behind.

gerryrouf-sm.jpg (6082 bytes)At the bottom of the world, in the middle of nowhere, the single-handed yachtsmen have to cope with fierce winds and gigantic seas. Raphaël Dinelli was the first to turn over, and was rescued just in time by the British sailor Pete Goss in his fifty footer. Later and only a few hours apart, Thierry Dubois and the Englishman Tony Bullimore faced the same fate. They would be rescued from these fateful waters by the Australian rescue team. These difficult conditions gave a good idea of the force of the unending violence from the elements, as the single-handed sailors made their way through the largest liquid desert. Gerry Rouf (Can) - Groupe LG The saddest news from this dark region as Titouan Lamazou called it, came when the race HQ in Paris realised that Gerry Roufs was no longer answering. Although four of his fellow competitors were to plough up and down the zone, try as they might, the secret to the mystery was only revealed six months later, when the wreck of his Finot-Conq design was found on the coast of Chile. The Big Bad South had really taken its toll. After 105 days at sea, Christophe Auguin, won the race in fine style and a week ahead of the two chasing him, Marc Thiercelin and Hervé Laurent. The 6th and final competitor to be placed was Catherine Chabaud, who was to become the first woman to complete this extremely difficult race, a race, which on this occasion led to calls for greater safety.

Final positions for the 1996-1997 edition

1 - Christophe Auguin (Fra, Geodis) : 105d20h31'
2 - Marc Thiercelin (Fra, Crédit Immobilier de France) : 113d8h26'
3 - Hervé Laurent (Fra, Groupe LG-Traitmat) : 114d16h43'
4 - Eric Dumont (Fra, Café Legal-Le Goût) : 116d16h43'
5 - Pete Goss (G.B, Aqua Quorum) : 126d21h25'
6 - Catherine Chabaud (Fra, Whirlpool-Europe 2) : 140d04h38'

Isabelle Autissier (Fra, PRB), broken rudder (Cape Town)
Yves Parlier (Fra, Aquitaine Innovations), broken rudder (Perth)

Bertrand de Broc (Fra, Votre nom autour du monde/Pommes Rhône Alpes), structural problem and capsized
Tony Bullimore (G.B, Exide Challenge), capsized
Thierry Dubois (Fra, Pour Amnesty International), capsized
Nandor Fa (Hungary, Budapest), damaged keel and collision with a cargo ship
Didier Munduteguy (Fra, Club 60è Sud), broken mast and structural problems
Raphaël Dinelli (Fra, Algimouss), capsized (SW Australia)
Patrick de Radiguès (Bel, Afibel), beached after a stopover

Gerry Roufs (Can, Groupe LG2)