The #VG2020 'race' may be over, but here's Kass Schmitt's pick of the videos from the skippers who were eclipsed by those further up the rankings


As I write this, #SuperHappySailor, a.k.a. Ari Huusela, the Finnish commercial airline pilot and first Nordic skipper to compete in the Vendée Globe Race, is in the lead onboard Stark IMOCA. The fact that this is due to his being the only competitor left does not seem to bother him, nor should it, as simply finishing this race is a massive achievement. Not that there’s anything simple about his finish, as the past few days have seen him sailing hard, only to have the routing suggest he still has a week to go. I’ve heard the next edition of the Finnish dictionary will have a drawing of him next to the entry for ‘sisu’.

And if there’s a French equivalent of this concept, I would suggest that Alexia Barrier on TSE – 4MyPlanet has provided an excellent demonstration of it, having sailed the final fortnight of her race in excruciating pain and unable to stand, due to a back injury. Throughout the race she has been a delightful ball of positive energy as she raced the oldest boat in the fleet around the world, gathering valuable oceanographic data, raising awareness of the importance of ocean health, and keeping a smile on her face until the very end.


Okay, I’m addicted to #VG2020 videos. I know I’ll eventually have to return to my favourite old standbys (including Uma, Vagabonde, Wildlings), but in the meantime I’m catching up on videos from the skippers who were eclipsed by those further up the rankings during the race.

In particular, I’ve been quite taken with Clément Giraud, the skipper of Compagnie du Lit – Jiliti who finished 21st. Raised on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, Giraud took up sailing simply as a means of transporting his mates and their surfboards to the best surf spots (and if YouTube autotranslate seems to struggle, it’s because he occasionally slips into Creole).

In addition to having a very impressive and varied CV as a professional racing sailor, he has also cruised extensively with his young family. It is clear that he simply loves being on or in the ocean, and his joy is infectious.

Additional highlights from the back of the fleet include:

Stéphane Le Diraison celebrates his exit from a particularly unpleasant depression in the south-east Pacific by singing along with Lily Allen’s F**k You:

Manuel Cousin’s magnificent rainbow:

Romain Attanasio tries to keep his cool while becalmed in the doldrums: