At the prize-giving after Vendee Globe 2008-9, the ceremony was on a huge stage set up on the beach in front of Les Sables d’Olonne. The beach was the only place in town that could accommodate the expected 100,000 people. Scaffolding was set up the day before at low tide and supported the stage, the tide came in and swirled around the scaffolding but underneath the stage, then went out, another tide cycle came and went, then the people all arrived, the ceremony was held, everyone went home and the tide came back in, and the next day on low tide the stage and scaffolding were taken down.
For Vendee Globe 2016-17, it was deemed either too insecure or too expensive (we heard both) to do it that way. So the prize-giving would be given indoors in the auditorium at the Casino des Atlantes, and then the skippers would be paraded down the mile long beach on the top deck of a double decker bus/custom truck.
Presenting Didac Costa, the Barcelona firefighter and VG#14, with a GA4 Daily Flag. We raced and emailed up the Atlantic.
Into the auditorium for the prize-giving, the skippers were called up in groups, until the podium finishers were called up individually.
After the ceremony, the skippers boarded 5 vans and were driven a mile to the end of the promenade, where we boarded a double decker bus/truck, which then made its way through the cheering throngs back to the Auditorium. The happiness, participation, and personal encouragement of the French public, their participation in the race, its preparation and aftermath, are without equal in sailing.
Skippers of VG2016-17 board the bus for the slow drive back to the auditorium.
To see what it was like from the bus – see these videos!
On the starboard side…
and on the port side!
And then came the fireworks!
And then back inside where our team could assemble with their trophy!
And then there was the nightclub! Where in the early hours of the morning, the DJ called all Vendee Globe skippers onto the bar.
And next the DJ called for a Slam! The others went – then it’s my turn!
Full confidence in the crowd!
A few days later, of course, a video appeared…!
What a night! What an event!