The eighth edition of the Vendee Globe sailboat race got underway on 8th November with 33 racing yachts and a fleet of Highfield RIBs orchestrating the security and organisation of the start.
As they were in 2016, Highfield Boats was again an Official Supplier of support boats to the organisers of the round-the-world race, providing 46 aluminium hull inflatables ranging from 6.6m to 8.6m and powered by Honda outboards ranging from 150hp to their new 250hp V6.
Held every four years, the Vendee Globe is considered the Mount Everest of the Seas, with sailors tackling a solo, 24,000 mile journey through some of the world’s harshest weather and seas without assistance.
The 46 boats were delivered to Les Sables d’Olonne France in mid-October, and docked front and centre in the Vendee Globe village where hundreds of spectators visited to see the teams and their boats and the intense preparations for the race.
On Sunday morning the Highfield patrol fleet was among the first boats away from the docks in early-dawn light to ready the start area and provide security for the race boats until the start – delayed until 2:00pm – due to heavy sea mist.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the start of the event did not have the huge spectator fleet on-hand which normally accompanies the racing yachts to the start line and for first few miles of the race, but the low visibility provided its own challenges for the support boats working hard to prevent any chance of collisions.
Primarily fulfilled by Highfield’s French production operation, the order for the 46 support boats entailed a significant mobilisation of technical, human and financial resources by the company to deliver the fleet with turn-key specifications.
Those specs included coordination with Highfield partners, including:
Proxam for engine accessories, including SeaStar Solutions hydraulic steering and Solas propellers
MC Technologies, supplying Lowrance GPS navigation electronics manufactured by Navico.
Highfield Boats is a leader in the construction of tenders and Ribs with Aluminium Hulls, with more than 4,700 boats delivered in 2019. Models range from 2.4 metres through to 8.6 metres – including the new Sport Range (link) — offering a solution for both the leisure customer and the heavy duty professional user.In business for 9 years, the builder has now delivered over 25,000 boats since 2011 and is present in over 40 Countries.