Vendee Globe ‘2012-13 Media Stats

The 2012-2013 Vendee Globe: benefits never reached before


ARTICLES | Friday 26 April 2013, 17:46

While the awards ceremony approaches (May 11 in Les Sables d’Olonne with all the skippers) and will close this wonderful 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, the 7th edition of the round the world race, nonstop and unassisted generated benefits never reached before. Bruno Retailleau, President of the SAEM Vendée, presented them on Monday afternoon during a press conference at the Hotel du Department de La Roche-sur-Yon.


Exceptional intensity for the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, which has generated records both at sea and on land. After 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes of navigation, François Gabart broke for the first time the mythical 80 days line, three hours later imitated by Armel Le Cléac’h for the smallest gap in history between the first two. Before killing the circumnavigation time record, the two skippers had improved different data: 24 hours distance record (534 miles) and Les Sables d’Olonne – Cape Leeuwin and Sables d’Olonne – Cape Horn lap for Gabart; Les Sables d’Olonne – Cape of Good Hope for Le Cléac’h. Arrived in eleventh position, only 26 days after the skipper of Macif, Alessandro Di Benedetto, he has “improved” the difference between the winner and the last of the fleet (34 days between Auguin and Chabaud in 1997).

On land, the public’s enthusiasm has never been so strong. During three weeks, the Sables d’Olonne village has attracted a million visitors and 300,000 were gathered in the Vendean harbor on November 10 to attend the start of the twenty skippers! During the race, 25,000 people visited the Race HQ in Paris Montparnasse. The day of the arrival of the first two, January 27, 150,000 spectators invaded Port Olona. In total, 300,000 people came to greet the sailors back in Vendee. Adding 175,000 visitors in the village between January 25 and February 10, the Vendée Globe captured a total audience of 1.8 million people!


Thanks to 14,000 articles, 12,500 radio subjects and 31,000 TV reports (290 hours), the Vendée Globe has generated an impressive media buzz. Thus, according to Kantar Sport, the event had a 6,000 UBM (Media Impact Unit) between November 2012 and February 2013, a figure that means that each French was potentially touched by 60 media which talked about the Vendée Globe. This is more than the Tour de France (4200 UBM) and Roland Garros (2500 UBM)!

The gross value of the advertising is around €180 million, only in France.


Despite a shorter race and a lower number of boats, the website has beaten all the records: 56M visits, 286M page viewed (this figure includes mobile apps) against 213M in 2008-2009, 9.3 million unique visitors, 30M videos viewed (16M in 2009), 4.2 million connections for the various live shows (departure, arrival, daily lives)…

The mobile application – which occupied the first place of the Apple Store free apps for a long time – has been downloaded 300,000 times on iPhone, iPad or Android, and generated 26% of the 286 million pages viewed.

77,000 fans attended the race on the Facebook page and have 19,000 followed it on Twitter where the Vendee Globe was a “trending topic” (the most tweeted topic in France) during the press conference last September at the Mutualité in Paris, and during departure and arrival days.

About Virtual Regatta, 486,000 players were engaged in this virtual race, which represents 45% increase comparing to 2008 to 2009 (335,000).


65 broadcasters and four news agencies have issued images of the Vendée Globe in more than 190 countries, with 2.3 billion homes hit by the event! In total, the Vendée Globe has generated 738 hours of television show worldwide.


To celebrate this wonderful 2012-2013 Vendée Globe and greet once again the main players – the skippers – the organizers of the event wanted to set something up for the public. Thus, for the fourth time, the awards ceremony will be held on May 11, at 22:00, on the Sables d’Olonne beach with all the skippers.

About 100,000 people are expected to watch the 1h30 show, set up for the occasion. The best pictures and a 15 minutes retrospective film of the race will be shown on giant screens. And for the first time, images of the film “En Solitaire” (released in November 2013) will be presented with the main actor François Cluzet.

The evening will end with a giant ten minutes firework.


Ronnie Simpson & Francois Gabart !


Vendee Globe 2012 Winner & World record holder Francois Gabart avec Ronnie Simpson ~ oh le vache ~ jealous !

…Great Sailing Anarchy write up below by Ronnie Simpson attending Open Sports Management IMOCA meeting this weekend.


IMOCA; it’s one of the most exciting sailing circuits on the planet and one of the most captivating entities in the world of sport. In no other athletic competition on the planet, sailing-related or not, do athletes compete 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a period of up to three months or more.

One slip-up can see a sailor go from hero to zero, or even worse; dead. The human element of pushing oneself through the most extreme and challenging conditions while relating that story to the public using the most advanced forms of communication available while sailing ultra-high performance racing yachts that are on the cutting edge of technology; it is in the opinion of myself and many who will read this the end all be all most exciting sport in the world. I know it, you know it, and a large portion of Sailing Anarchy’s readership knows it. Unfortunately no one in the United States of America, the world’s largest economy, couldn’t give a shit.

It’s no secret that the economy in France, and all of Europe, is tanking. With an economic union that is on the brink of collapse, nations declaring bankruptcy and further nations selling off gold reserves, the once freely-flowing supply of English Pounds and Euros has dried up to a level we’ve not seen before. When guys like 2-time Vendée Globe champion Michel Desjoyeaux and reigning Route du Rhum champ Roland Jourdain get ditched by their sponsors and can’t find a ride, you know the situation is bad. Relatively few teams are building new boats, the Vendée fleet contracted by a third in just one cycle and old boats are up on the chopping block as previous sponsors desperately want them off their balance sheets. If the IMOCA class is to grow, or even survive, it can’t be a solely French and English-based entity any more. It needs to go global.

And that is what Sir Keith Mills and Open Sports Management are here to accomplish. The über-successful English businessman and sports marketing magnate has made the internationalization of the IMOCA class his newest business endeavor. With the formation of the new Lausanne, Switzerland-based sports marketing agency Open Sports Management, the man who almost singlehandedly saved the 2012 London Olympic Games sees a winner in the IMOCA class and he’s prepared to bet the farm on it. On Saturday morning in Lausanne, Sir Keith, alongside OSM’s Vice President Giorgio Pauen and IMOCA Class President Luc Talbourdet held a press conference to outline their vision for growing the class.

Some of the biggest points made during the press conference:

18-month cycles

The IMOCA class will begin to revolve around two 18-month cycles in a 4-year period with two six-month breaks built in to allow for the formation of new teams, corporate and PR sailing and a breather for everyone involved. One 18-month cycle will be double handed, culminating with the non-stop round the world Barcelona World Race while the other 18-month cycle will be singlehanded, culminating with the Vendée Globe.

One-design rigs and keels

The class has voted to adopt one-design keels and masts. Using new 1-piece forged steel keel fins, the emphasis has been placed on reliability and cost savings, with another major goal of making the boats more insurable. The masts will be standard “classic” style rigs, removing the vulnerable deck spreaders and less reliable rotating wing masts from the equation. Again, a big part of this decision was said to be to make the rigs more insurable and reliable. Technical director (and the victim of two Vendée retirements due to having deck spreaders…) is none other than PRB skipper and 2004-05 VG champ Vincent Riou. The concept for the rule has been agreed upon, and the rule will actually be written in the next 3-6 months.

This new agreement on a class rule allows teams to invest in the future. OSM wanted an agreement on the new rules and racing program so that sponsors and commercial partners know exactly what they are going to get, years in advance. One of the biggest challenges in the past has been the uncertainty related to ocean racing such as vague dates, race locations, a less streamlined calendar of events, etc.

New events, formats and locations

New events will be added to the calendar, stopping in new destinations. These events will now include more grand-prix style events of 7-10 days in length in new stop over cities and ports that the class has not visited before. This is in addition to a handful of Trans-Atlantic race, the around Europe “Europa Warm-Up” and the two flagship round the world races.

Bringing the stories to life and sharing them with a global audience

An increased emphasis on “bringing the stories of the skippers to life and sharing them globally”. Sir Keith mentioned several times his desire to have cameras on the boats, possibly controlled from shoreside, that would capture the drama as it happens and then share it with the world. He insists that the technology is there to allow for 24/7 video streaming from the boats, as opposed to action happening (broach, dismasting, fast sailing, etc) and then having to wait for the skipper to have a chance to edit the video and upload it either hours or days after it’s actually happened. This will obviously create new technical challenges not just with video and satellite communications, but in power management and generation. Being the visionary that he is, he views these obstacles as “opportunities” to engage new technologies and truly global communications in the most adverse conditions. This will require partnering with several new technical partners, mentioned below.

Adding new partners to the class

Bringing in new partners such as a naming rights partner, more technical partners such as telecomm, insurance, nutrition partners, power generation, etc. Sir Keith reiterated “There exists a huge potential on the internet for this sport. It is a unique sport that takes place 24 hours a day for weeks on end. New technologies allow us the ability to leverage this phenomenon unlike any other sport to engage a worldwide audience and to tell their stories on a global stage”.

At the end of the press conference, Sir Keith showed IMOCA’s newest 6-minute promotional video and when it concluded, he offered one final statement, “I made my money selling products and I know a great product when I see it. This is a great product.” In one of those times where less is more, he was a man of few words, creating a moment of silence for his point to resonate with everyone in the room. Just then, the silence was broken by a thick French accent from a journalist in the back of the room who offered one final question, “Sir Keith, will these new rules, races, format and onboard cameras change the spirit of ze race?”. Sir Keith repeated the question one time for emphasis and then quickly looked around his room. With a move that has surely made him a sale or two over the course of his career, his eyes seemed to dart around and make contact with every person in the room. Again offering few words, he simply replied, “no”, which was met with universal praise and applause.

People are inspired. Change is happening, and a new journey is underway for the IMOCA class. Everyone that attended this weekend’s events in Lausanne realize that Sir Keith Mills, Luc Talbourdet, IMOCA and Open Sports Management have set a goal of promoting and growing the IMOCA class on an international level and these guys have the resources and the know how to get the job done. Look for big things to come from the IMOCA class over the coming months and years and with any luck, a couple of properly funded American entries! Title inspiration thanks to Faith No More.

-Ronnie Simpson

Vanuatu (Once is not enough ;)

Arrived to Vanuatu from Fiji – (my 4th time here) 1st when I was age 13 with my family while cruising, then at age 19 on my solo round the world, then a few years ago on my ex-Albin Vega 27 “ISIS” with Linda (when we raced James Finan to New Caledonia who was sailing my ex-Contessa 26 “Maimitivava’u” – and today aboard a Cal 39 – its still a fantastic pit stop 😉

Melbourne Osaka “Optimus Prime” Update

The boat, Jon, Linda & I are delivering is going well as you can see below – check out their awesome updates on the Melbourne Osaka race website!

Osaka Cup: Optimus Prime -on to the Equator.
Tuesday update from Trevor and Dan.


Thanks again to those of you that replied to my last set of ramblings and wishing us luck with Plan A.

The guy that sold me and the guy that fitted the dunny were surprised that it wasn’t working. The reason we stopped using it was because it wasn’t sucking the doggies doos away. It would send in the water but not wash away the ……. well you get the picture. The end result was I had to catch and release into a bucket and then throw it out over the side. It wasn’t quite so bad looking after my own mess but when I had to do Dan’s as well one morning it was time for us to start using the “Disney” method. However, on reading of the surprise from those in the know that it wasn’t working properly I decided to have another go at using it and did a number of flushing practice runs. All appeared to be in working order ready for the big test whenever it was next required. When the time came I decided to deal with it like a footy game though with a flush at quarter, half and three quarter time and then a double flush at the finish of proceedings. Whilst we got there in the end there were some anxious moments along the way. Anyway, we will persevere until the bucket has to come out again. Sitting back relaxed rather than hanging on tight is a much more comfortable way to start the day.”

Optimus Prime

Smokin’ Op’s

Below start of a great update on Sailing Anarchy website by my watch-mate Ronnie Simpson about our little Island Race together – check it 😉 …meanwhile, I’m in Fiji preparing the delivery of my friend’s Cal 39 to Bundaberg, Australia with Linda Pasquariello before flying to Perth to meet Jon Sanders at Fremantle Sailing Club for the May 4th start of the Fremantle Bali Race…

Smokin’ Op’s

Singlehanded sailor Ronnie Simpson did something bizarre – he went racing with other people!

“The 2013 sailing season has started with a bang! First was an early March delivery down the coast on the sexy R/P 45 “Criminal Mischief”, followed by the Islands Race on the Santa Cruz 70 “Holua”. Sailing with some of the top sailors on the west coast including Brian Caldwell, Bill Erkelens and navigator extraordinaire Skip McCormack, we took second in class and second overall, losing out on the win by just 9 seconds after more than 11 hours of racing!!! The mental image of a big fleet of sleds barreling down the California coast at 20 knots with their massive poled out a-kites on a windy night is now permanently ingrained in my memory. Good stuff…”

-“It was good for all of us ;)” – BJ

Below: Loading Paul’s one & only ‘souvenir’ aboard “Kipuka” from Tonga in Fiji for le grande depart ! Click to enlarge @ your own risk 😉