Vendee Globe Preview

Simone Bianchetti- TNT-Italia Telecom
Bianchetti will sail the Briand designed Open 60 that Phillipe
Monnet sailed to the east/west around the world record. Although not
of current design or construction the boat has a recent record for
reliability.
Bianchetti has a spotty past record. He dropped out of the 
1994 Around Alone and has some middle of the pack finishes in smaller 
solo racing.
Considering that the boat is not new, and Bianchetti has no
significant wins, the combination is not a threat to win.

Patrice Carpentier - VM Materiaux.
This French sailor and journalist will sail Pete Goss' Open 50. 
Know then as Aqua Corum this boat completed the prior Vendee Globe. 
Patrice sailed the first Vendee. He did not finish as he had to stop 
in the Falkland Islands to make autopilot repairs. Patrice must still 
complete a 2500-mile qualifying sail. Carpentier will have a tough 
time beating many of the new generation 60's. Still his boat is 
tested and reliable and Carpentier has much experience to draw on.

Catherine Chabaud- Whirlpool
Catherine is one of two female skippers. She is the only 
women to have finished a solo around the world race, placing 6th in 
the 1997-98 Vendee Globe. Since then Chabaud has built Whirlpool a Mar 
Lombard designed Open 60. Her best results include an overall win in 
the Fastnet and a 2nd in the Jacques Vabre Transat. This summer's 6th 
in the Europe 1 Transat was not up to expectations. None the less, 
Chabaud's boat should be fast and she has one lap under her belt 
putting her near the front of the ranks.

Thomas Coville- Sobedo
Thomas Coville, the 31-year-old sailor, has quite an impressive
resume. In 1997 he was on board Sport Elec when it claimed the Jules 
Verne Trophy for fastest time around the world. In 1998 sailing with 
Yves Parlier he won the Gold Race, which starts in New York and finishes
in San Francisco. 
Later he filled in for an injured Yves Parlier and won the 
monohull title in the 1998 Route de Rum. This year he took over the 
Finot Open 60 Sobedo and with Herve Jan as crew was the monohull 
winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
His major preparation in 2000, the Europe 1 Transat was cut
short by a dismasting.
He completed his qualification in September. He had to change
Sobedo's canting rig. These are prohibited by Vendee Globe rules.
Still, Coville's record is quite impressive. He is one of 
the favorites.

Pasquale De Gregorio - Wind
This entrant is also sailing a 50 footer. He is Italian, 
and is 59 years old. De Gregorio will sail a new Open 50 designed by 
Italian Umberto Felci. Wind's major shakedown for the Vendee was this 
summers Europe 1 Transat. In the Transat De Gregorio finished 4 days 
behind the boat that Patrick Carpentier will sail. This race 
qualified him for the Vendee.

Patrick De Radigues- Lightning
Patrick came to sailing from the world of high-speed motor 
sports. His sailing resume includes working with Eric Tabarly and 
competing in the previous Vendee Globe. De Ragigues will sail a 
Berret-Racoupeau designed 50 footer. In its debut, this boat won 
the 50-foot class in the Quebec-St. Malo. Lightning should be fast 
for a 50 footer, and De Radigues should have a chance to beat some 
of the older Open 60's.

Michel Desjoyeaux- PRB
He will sail a new PRB. If the name is familiar, it is the 
same company that sponsored Isabelle Autissier. Desjoyeaux has an 
extensive sailing resume. He was sailed with famous French mariners 
such as Maurel, Tabarly and Jeanot. He was been highly successful in 
the Figaro solo ranks. Now he carries a famous name on a boat that 
has a Finot deck and a Lombard deck. Among the features of the new 
PRB are exterior rudders for easy repair and a single daggerboard. 
PRB's debut race was used by Michel as a qualifier for the Vendee
Globe. So we still don't know the full potential of this combination

Raphael Dinelli: SOGAL-EXTENSO
Currently Dinelli is most famous as the sailor that Pete Goss 
rescued in the previous Vendee Globe. Since then Dinelli has competed
in several transats. 
He will be sailing a 1996 vintage Nandor Fa design. This is
one of 2 Fa designs, the other being sailed by Fedor Konioukhov. 
Hopefully for Dinelli's sake his boat will complete the lap 
and he can gain an identity as a finisher.

Thiery Dubois Solidares
Dubois sailed the last Vendee Globe. He capsized in the 
Southern Ocean and was part of one of the that contests dramatic 
rescue stories.
Since then has built and launched the Nivelt designed 
Solidares. With it's light blue and white paint job, she stands out.
This summer he finished 4th in the Europe 1 Transat. He also
completed a trans Atlantic passage in 1999.
With miles on his boat and a solid record, Dubois should be 
near the front.

Eric Dumont - Un Univers de Services
This French pro returns for his 2nd Vendee. In the last 
edition he finished 4th. For this Vendee he will sail an Open 60 
with the sail number FRA 2000. His boat was launched in 1991. 
Alain Gautier sailed it to victory in the 1992 Vendee Globe. 
Dumont was dismasted during this summers Transat. A well sponsored 
effort the boat is set up with 3 webcams to relay images directly 
from the boat. A tested boat and skipper may not be fancied, but 
could put up good results in this ultimate endurance race.

Bernard Gallay Voila
At age 40 Gallay has one around the world lap- the 1992-93 
Vendee Globe. His prior sailing experiences range from crewing 
during the 1986-87 America's Cup to sailing with Robin Knox Johnston. 
Gallay's boat was formerly known as Geodis. Sailed by Chrisophe Augin 
Geodis won both the 1994-95 Around Alone and the 96-97 Vendee. Its 
last competitive outing was 1998 in the Gold Race. It was beaten 
by Aquitaine Innovations and Isabelle Autissier's PRB that was lost 
during the 98-99 Around Alone. Gallay may have a better chance than 
some of the older boats, but he will lack the speed to be right at 
the top.

Mike Golding: Group 4
Golding enters the Vendee with a number of miles on himself 
and on his Finot designed Open 60. Golding has been around the 
world twice as a skipper in the British Steel Challenge. His 
finishes were 2nd and 1st. Group 4's debut was the 1998-99 Around 
Alone race. He won Leg 1 and was fairing well when a grounding off 
New Zealand put him out of the race. In the 1999 Transat Jacques 
Varbre Group 4 was 3rd. He also placed 3rd in this summers Europe 
1 Transat. Perhaps Golding and Group 4 are not as fancied as some 
entrants. Their track record is as solid as anyone's, they rate 
as a top favorite.

Josh Hall EPB
This British sailor will sail the same Finot designed Open 60
that he entered in the 1998 Around Alone. In that race he dropped
out on Leg 3 after dismasting. Since that he has not raced the
boat overly much. The one outing was in last years Jacques Vabre
when a southerly routing option did not pay off.
The boat is similar to Mike Golding's Group 4. The main 
difference is its conventionally stayed mast.
Since launching in 1998, the boat has shown potential but few
hard and fast results. Hall has been quiet this summer, readying
his boat.
Considering Hall's experience and Gartmore's design, a good
result is not out of the question.

Roland Jourdain- Sill Competition
Jourdain and Sill have been a winning combination since 
launching in 1999. 4th in the '99 Jacques Vabre and 2nd this year 
in the Europe 1 Transat. Jourdain is the epitome of a professional 
sailor. This weekend he competed in an Open 60 trimaran Grand Prix 
regatta. The combination of Jourdain and the Marc Lombard designed 
boat, could be enough to break the Finot design teams hold on winning 
around the world races.

Fedor Konioukhov: Modern University for the Humanities
This Russian sailor is part adventurer, part sailor. In 
addition to sailing he has been to both poles of the earth. Don't 
expect him to sail rapidly, but do expect him to finish and to 
be entertaining while doing so.

Ellen Macarthur- Kingfisher
Macarthur enters the Vendee off a win in Kingfishers debut 
in the Europe 1 Transat. This race came just a few months after 
Kingfishers launching. At age 24, she is on the fast track to the 
very top of her sport. Kingfisher was designed by a team. A 12,000 
mile delivery from New Zealand proved the boats reliability. The 
Transat proved the speed. With speed and reliability on her side 
Ellen is one of the very top favorites for this race.

Didier Munduteguy
Hailing from Spain, but based in France, Didier will attempt
his first Vendee Globe. He was entered in 1996, but dismasted shortly
before the start and so could not compete.
He has offshore experience dating back to 1979 and sailed with
noted Canadian multi hull skipper Mike Birch.
His Open 60 was designed by Phil Morisson and was launched in 
1991. The age of this design is shown by the transom. Rather than the 
square open transoms of the new designs, it has a sloping transom that 
gives the boat overhang. 
This is a case of a grizzled skipper in a boat that is not up 
to pace as shown by its 12th place in this summers Europe 1 Transat.

Yves Parlier- Aquitaine Innovations
Parlier is one of the race favorites. Parlier has a strong 
record of results and so does his boat. The boat Aquitaine 
Innovations has won the Gold Race, Round Europe and the Jacques 
Varbe Transat. Sailing boats previous to his current one Parlier has 
won the Route de Rum and the Europe 1 Transat. He has started 2 
previous Vendee Globes finishing 4th in 1992-93 and withdrawing in 
1996-97. For the upcoming lap around the world Parlier has added 
weight to the keel bulb and increased the draft to 4.5 meters/14.8 
feet. Also, a new carbon rotating wing mast has been built to replace 
the one lost in this summers Europe 1 Transat. Aquitaine dates to 1996 
but has been kept up to date. Parlier has thousands of miles and 
prodigious weather prediction skills. For him to win would be no 
surprise.

Javier Sanso- Old Spice
Sanso will sail a 1992 built Open 60 designed by Ricard Teixdo. 
He has been preparing this summer. He completed his qualifying voyage 
from Gijon Spain to Saint Pierre Canada and return via the same route 
in conjunction with Bernard Stamm.

Joe Seeten - Elge
Frenchman Seeten will sail Jean Luc Van Den Heed's famed 
'cigar' Harle-Mortrain design. Seeten is a 4 time winner of the 
sailing version of the Tour De France. His Open 60 which is yawl 
rigged has 110,000 miles under her keel. These miles include a 2nd 
in the 92-93 Vendee Globe, a 3rd in the 94-95 Around Alone and a 
6th in the 96-97 Vendee Globe.


Bernard Stamm -Superbigou
Stamm a multi lingual Swiss skipper will be sailing a new Open 
60. Stamm has experience in the Mini Transat arena and this experience 
informs his new Open 60. The naval architect is Pierre Rolland. Stamm 
built the boat himself in Lesconil France on the Brittany Peninsula 
in France. Stamm completed his qualification September 14th sailing 
with Javier Sanso. Stamm has many solo miles. However, his new boat 
is a bit of an unknown and so is his race outlook.

Marc Thiercelin: Active Wear
Thiercelin starts his second lap of the world on his 1998 
Finot Open 60. He has good success in Around Alone until a 
dismasting in the South Atlantic. Since then his results have 
been mixed. However, Thiercelin finished 2nd in the prior Vendee 
Globe. This gives him a record of finishing and finishing well.
Although his results might not show it, Thiercelin is a fine seaman
and will compete as hard as anyone.

Dominique Wavre- Union Bancaire Privee.
Wavre is an experienced sailor. From winning one of 4 
Whitbread's he has sailed in to coaching the French America's Cup 
team Wavre has done it. He launched his Finot design in 1999. It's 
racing debut came in this years east to west Transat. A broken 
boom was one reason for a 9th place finish. Wavre is experienced, 
but with scant form to look at it is hard to predict how he might do.