The Vendée Globe around the world sailing race without any stops or assistance takes place once every four years. The next race begins and ends at the Sables d’Olonnes, France on Sunday 8thNovember 2020. Ulysse Nardin is a proud sponsor and the official timekeeper of this unique sailing event. It is the race of a lifetime, called by those who have sailed it, the “Everest of the Seas”. It is a thermic, social and physical shock unlike any other. The Vendée Globe is a mythical race, a challenge to be taken only by lion-hearted, intrepid explorers of the world’s ocean. Of the 167 skippers who have attempted the Vendée Globe since the race began in 1968, only 89 have made it across the finish line. 

Virtual Vendée Globe, a thrill-packed, online game has teamed up with Ulysse Nardin to mark this auspicious occasion. Developed by Virtual Regatta, Virtual Vendée Globe can be accessed in the form of an app or website and enables sailing and gaming enthusiasts to experience their own odyssey from the comfort of their homes or smartphones. Boats will digitally compete for first place, facing virtual dangers that mirror those faced by the skippers in the Vendée Globe Race. A vessel flying Ulysse Nardin’s colours can be found among them. 

Those brave enough to take on the Virtual Vendée Globe challenge will compete to win the Ulysse Nardin DIVER X CAPE HORN & DIVER X NEMO POINT. 


The first gamer that arrives in Les Sables d’Olonne after passing through the legendary Nemo Point will be awarded with a DIVER X NEMO POINT. 


 The Ulysse Nardin Challenge will reward the final overall winner of the virtual Vendée Globe with a DIVER X CAPE HORN.

Synonymous with bold exploration, ingenuity, patience and masterful strategy and similarly with most sports where strategy plays an important role, the excitement around virtual events is well established in sailing. In this race professional sailors and former skippers will compete alongside amateurs in a clever mix of conviviality and rivalry, which perfectly encapsulates the spirit of competitive sailing. 

“Virtual Vendée Globe is a game that respects the dynamics of real life as much as possible. E-sailing is a true occasion to escape from anywhere. We estimate that 50% of the gamers have never sailed before. Sailing is a very complicated sport to practice.” Said Philippe Guigné, CEO and founder of Virtual Regatta. He adds “We’re really excited to embark on this e-Vendée Globe with Ulysse Nardin, the official timekeeper of the race. We are extremely proud of this partnership since we share the same values through our deepest respect for the marine world, and our desire to continuously innovate.” 

The Vendée Globe race is set to start on Sunday, 8th November 2020. This challenge is first and foremost a journey beyond the seas and into oneself, a harrowing, solo course of navigation that takes sailors around three major capes: the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn. There are no stops, there is no external assistance and there are no time limits.

These modern Ulysses have to nap rather than sleep on their carbon-fiber boats where a simple turning maneuver burns over 300 calories. The food on board is freeze-dried, the washing facilities inexistent and the dangers too many to list. Using foils to lift their hulls out of the water, the drum-like cacophony created by the crashing waves forces some of the skippers to opt for noise-cancelling earphones, even alone in the middle of nowhere. Moreover, the participants sleep feet first, as deceleration from a falling wave could send them sliding forward and into an injury, such as a crippling broken neck. And then there are the dolphins, the sharks, and the whales.

Sebastien Destremau, friend of Ulysse Nardin and successful competitor in the 2016/2017 race, is planning to sail around the world once again in the 2020 race on his monohull, the Merci.

Destremau chose the name Merci for many – very personal – reasons. “I wanted to thank my family, my sponsors and the friends who believed in me for helping me to the starting line. It is a crazy undertaking, one that even my brother tried to talk me out of – for my own safety – although he became my number one supporter. I am thankful for having completed the first race and even more so for being able to undertake a second one. For this next Vendée Globe Race, I called my boat the Merci (Thank You) because it carries with it the notion of gratitude and the hope of tightening the bond between humans around the world. It is an intimate message – professional and planetary – of thanks that extend from my mother all the way to thanks for this that planet we live on. I want to give meaning to this bold adventure – one without any stops or assistance – and raise awareness of how precious a resource our ocean is and how important it is to preserve them and the wildlife that lives beneath the waves.” said Destremau. 

The Vendée Globe is not as much a challenge as it is a calling. It is a test, a bet one makes against oneself and the elements, the weather, a deal made with Mother Nature herself. Destremau considers his last race a roaring success, even if he finished in last place. The simple fact of having accomplished the Vendée Globe made him stronger, more confident, hungrier. “It is madness, desperation, insanity” said Destremau. “It is also the most satisfying, tremendous feat a sailor can accomplish in his lifetime”. Among the other flags he flies, Destremau is a ‘test pilot’ for Ulysse Nardin; on his wrist, he will be alternating between wearing the UN Diver X Nemo Point, the Diver X Antarctica and the Diver X Cape Horn. 

Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, concurs. “The Vendée Globe is a one-of-a-kind race. It is a challenge unlike no other on Earth. To conquer – and even simply finish – the ‘Everest of the Seas’ is an undertaking so vast and complicated that those who return safe and sound are all champions. The Vendée Globe encompasses many of the values we hold dear at Ulysse Nardin; respect for the seas, the willingness to navigate the Great Unknown and the desire to test oneself to the ultimate limit of human endurance. We are all Ulysses.”