Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Vendée Globe: 120,000 people on the beach in Les Sables for the prize-giving ceremony

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Marc Guillemot (Safran) in a Mumm champagne battle. Image copyright Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Véronique Teurlay

At 10.30 in the evening on Saturday, the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe skippers climbed one after the other onto the huge podium erected on the beach for the official prize-giving ceremony for this sixth Vendée Globe. No fewer than 120,000 people turned up for this show that was entirely free and packed with emotion. One final opportunity to applaud the sailors, but also an occasion to look back at this historic race. During the evening, the date of the start of the next Vendée Globe was revealed. It will begin on 21st October 2012.

As night fell over Les Sables, the show began. A highly emotional atmosphere with a joyful crowd watching the large stage set up on the beach in Sables d'Olonne. One by one the skippers, who kept millions of fans so excited, would make their appearance. On the giant screens on either side of the stage, the audience was able to watch the highlights of the race. There would be all the emotion of the start, footage of the storms, the moments of stress and anguish, the skippers being forced to retire, the rescues. Then, all the joyful moments: Michel Desjoyeaux's amazing comeback, the ecstasy of each finish. To conclude, there was a giant fireworks display over the beach and sea to close the evening a quarter of an hour after midnight.

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) - winner, on stage. Image copyright Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

Start of the 2012 Vendée Globe: Sunday 21st October at 13h02
Shortly before the end of the prize-giving ceremony, when Philippe de Villiers congratulated Michel Desjoyeaux, the winner of the 2008-2009 edition, the President of the SEM Vendée, the race organizer, officially revealed the date of the next Vendée Globe: 21st October 2012 at 13h02 (local time). A seventh Vendée Globe, which 29 competitors have already declared their intention to compete in.

The Vendée Globe trophy. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

What they said:
- Kito de Pavant: It all ended much too soon for me, so I hope to be back again in three and a half years' time.
- Yannick Bestaven: I'm just overawed to be her tonight in front of such a large crowd.
- Jérémie Beyou: The Vendée Globe was really a special moment in my life.
- Unai Basurko: I'd like to say well done to all those thousands of supporters, who make sailing what it is in France.
- Bernard Stamm: I'm someone you might call stubborn, so you'll be seeing me again in 2012.
- Dominique Wavre: Along with Bernard Stamm, we tried to carry out a Swiss invasion of New Zealand.... What I will remember from this Vendée is the amazing solidarity associated with this race.
- Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty: in spite of being forced to retire, this Vendée remains the greatest sailing of my life.
- Mike Golding: The problems that I encountered in this race all fell into perspective, when Yann Eliès was in distress. I hope to return in 2012.
- Yann Eliès: I still remain just as determined to take part in the next Vendée Globe.
- Sébastien Josse: This race teaches you how important it is to manage and look after your boat.
- Derek Hatfield: I was determined to complete the race, but, unfortunately.... I'd like to thank everyone in Canada for their support, as they enabled me to line up for the start.
- Jean-Pierre Dick: I'm very privileged to do this job. I really enjoyed myself at sea. I'll be here in 2012.
- Jonny Malbon: I was fairly stressed at the start and the race was very tough. The Vendée Globe is a really difficult race.
- Jean Le Cam: I'd like to thank everyone, as without you, we wouldn't be here. Sorry if I made you worry a bit!

Fireworks ambiance. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Roland Jourdain: I don't know whether I'll be back on the water 4 years from now, as it's quite nice too to stay in port and have a few pints when the race is starting
- Norbert Sedlacek: The preparation for this Vendée Globe will have represented 8 years of my life. Thanks to everyone in Vendée.
- Raphael Dinelli: I managed to finish the race and achieve my sporting and eco-friendly goals.
- Rich Wilson: I agree with Thomas Jefferson, who said that "everyone has two countries, their own and France." I shall always remember this Vendée Globe here with you.
- Steve White: This race is the finest test of human endurance.

Dee Caffari (Aviva). Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Dee Caffari: This Vendée Globe was just great for me. The three months just went by.
- Brian Thompson: I experienced some incredible moments, which are really impossible to describe, during this Vendée Globe.

Sam Davies (Roxy) with Jean Pierre Champion (PDT FFV). Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

- Samantha Davies: The race was incredible, but I also keep remembering the three weeks spent here before the start. I'd like to thank my whole team, the Roxy boys, who did so well preparing this project.
- Vincent Riou: I try not to think too much about rescuing Jean Le Cam, even if it was a highly charged emotional moment.
- Marc Guillemot: Thanks to Yann Eliès, my race became something else.
- Armel Le Cléac'h: Finishing just after Michel Desjoyeaux was something I could not have hoped for, but was really the icing on the cake!
- Michel Desjoyeaux: From the outset, I couldn't wait to get going. I don't know what the future will be like, but tonight, I can't wait to celebrate with everyone here in Vendée.

Fireworks over the beach in Les Sables d'Olonne. The dark area in the foreground is populated entirely by people. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

Vendée Globe

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