Cheating allegations in Vendée Globe

Published on February 14th, 2024

The prestigious Vendée Globe sailing race, held every four years, is under investigation following allegations of cheating during its latest edition. As reported by BNN, an anonymous email was sent to the French Sailing Federation, providing evidence suggesting that a competitor had benefited from illicit routing information during the 2020-21 race.

Using the 60-foot IMOCA boat, it is the greatest sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. While race rules allow for a skipper to utilize their support team to resolve technical onboard problems, it is forbidden to send or receive information to analyze and improve the choice of a boat’s trajectory.

Upon receiving the incriminating email, the French Sailing Federation requested for the Race Committee to appoint a jury to analyze the evidence’s veracity. The information primarily consists of screen captures, which supposedly depict the exchange of messages between a sailor at sea and another individual on land, offering personalized weather assistance and routing.

The two individuals implicated in the matter have remained silent. The IMOCA Class reports how they are aware of the situation and is letting the authorities review the allegations.

“It is currently in the hands of the competent institutions responsible for regulating and monitoring competitions within the Fédération Française de Voile,” said the class statement. “We express our full confidence in their ability to carry out impartial and thorough investigations.

“The use of personalized weather assistance and routing from sources external to the boat is prohibited in the context of IMOCA racing. This rule is a fundamental pillar of our commitment to fairness and sporting integrity.

“With this in mind, we stress the importance of a procedure that is carried out with a good knowledge of our races and their rules, in a calm and exhaustive manner.”

The nine race editions have enabled 200 contenders to take the start, with 114 of them completing the 24,300 nm course which starts and finishes from les Sables d’Olonne, France. The 2024-25 race has record interest for one of the 40 entry slots, with the lowest elapsed time of 74 days and 3 hours set during the eighth edition in 2016-2017.

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