This site documents the lead up to, the achievements and success of sailor Steve White in the 2008/9 Vendee Globe.
Sailor Steve White had set himself the target of competing in the Vendee Globe. This is a single handed, non-stop round the world race. This race starts at Les Sables d’Olonne in western France, goes south down the Atlantic, circumnavigates Antarctica and then back up the Atlantic to the starting point in France.
In order to satisfy the Vendee Globe organizers that a potential participant has the required sailing competence, a single handed trip equivalent to a transatlantic crossing must be completed. Steve satisfied this requirement by participating in the 2008 Artemis Transat race.
However, to confirm adequate competence for participation in the Artemis Transat race, their rules required a single handed 1000 mile sea trip. Steve achieved this requirement with a trip from Weymouth harbor to the Fastnet rock, a small islet at the south of Ireland, and back. – It was in fact his 28th time round that route!.
To do all of the above, you need a good capable boat meeting the Vendee specifications that can stand the horrendous weather conditions that will be encountered in places like the Southern Ocean. A boat like that needs money – lots of money. For that you need good sponsors.
Steve had mortgaged his house and found a sponsor that enabled him to purchase a suitable, proven boat and to complete the Fastnet trip and the Artemis Transat race, but more sponsorship would be needed to suitably refurbish and equip the boat for the Vendee Globe.
With literally hours to spare, Steve's Vendee success was finally only set in motion due to last minute sponsorship under the name of Toe in the Water.
Steve commented 'I have dreamed of participating in the Vendee Globe for many years and have been building towards November 9 for the last four years. We managed to qualify by completing The Artemis Transat in May this year, but have struggled to find sufficient sponsorship. We arrived in Les Sables D'Olonne in October, unsure as to whether we could even keep hold of my family's home, let alone sail alone around the world. With these new funds, we can finish the necessary preparations, and I am delighted to carry the name and colours of Toe in the Water around the world.'
The result was that Steve was forced to do preparation that would normally take weeks in merely a few days. Starting in a field of 30 participants, Steve finished in eighth position despite having to do some major maintenance whilst en route. He returned to Les Sables-d'Olonne to welcome by an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 supporters.