GET READY FOR 2024 AS THE IMOCA CLASS TAKES ON TWO TRANSATS AND THE VENDÉE GLOBE
After a spectacular 2023 season, that saw more miles sailed by more sailors in more races than ever before in the IMOCA Class, 2024 now lies ahead – a year that will dominated by two solo transatlantic sprints and then the biggest race of them all, the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe.
It will be an historic edition of the solo epic that is expected to feature the highest ever number of entries – with up to 40 sailors on the startline in early November – the highest number of nationalities involved, with 11 nations represented, and a fleet with more new boats than any other year bar 2008.
Antoine Mermod, the President of the IMOCA Class, is looking forward like everyone else connected with the Class to this ultimate test of men and women and machines on the global course.
“2024 is the Vendée Globe year,”he told the Class.
Ahead of the Vendée Globe are The Transat CIC from Lorient to the US starting at the end of April, the New York Vendée-Les Sables d’Olonne which sets sail at the end of May, and the annual Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération festival in mid-September.
Although the two Transats are important final qualifiers for the Vendée Globe which skippers will be keen to complete in one piece, Mermod has no doubt they will be hard-fought contests when IMOCA sailors will be looking to make their mark on the classic transatlantic course.
CHARLIE DALIN: EVERYONE WANTS THIS RACE
Among those eagerly awaiting the first battles of the new season is Charlie Dalin, one of the most consistent performers at the top of the fleet but a sailor whose 2023 season was cut short by ill health. Now fully fit, the MACIF – Santé Prévoyance skipper has unfinished business in the Vendée Globe having taken line honours on debut last time out, but ending up second overall after time corrections were taken into account.
VIOLETTE DORANGE: I FEEL CAPABLE OF DOING IT
While Dalin will be aiming for the podium, the 22-year-old French sailor Violette Dorange will be making her Vendée Globe debut on board DeVenir, after an impressive first season in the Class last year. Like almost all the skippers, her boat is currently undergoing its winter re-fit while Dorange hunts for more backing for her campaign to go alongside sponsors McDonalds.
IMOCA REAFFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT
While much of the focus will be on the water over the next 12 months, the Class will continue working on its sustainability goals with further expansion of the Green Sail Rule, the use of Life Cycle Analysis and the introduction of a Carbon Cap that could go as far as halving harmful emissions during boat construction. It will also continue its work alongside the Marine Mammal Advisory Group to minimise collisions with mammals at sea.
Like all of her fellow skippers, Dorange is fully behind these initiatives.
Mermod summarised the thinking behind this aspect of the Class’s work. “Since 2017 this has been a priority for IMOCA because on the one hand, this generation of skippers are high level sportsmen and women while, on the other, they want to push forward their values and especially their values of sustainability, whether it be social or environmental, and for them it is very important.