New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne
New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne

02 January 2024 - 11:28 • 1203 views



The year 2024 celebrates the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe, but also marks 20 years of partnership between the race and Sodebo, its major partner. A porcelain wedding anniversary that deserves a retrospective...

Initially a partner of Thomas Coville in his first Vendée Globe in 2000, the company, attached to its Vendée roots, became immediately passionate about this race. From the very next edition, in 2004, it became a major partner of this round-the-world race.

2000, the inaugural Vendée Globe

In 2000, aged just 31, Thomas Coville set off on his very first single-handed round-the-world race flying the colours of the Vendée-based company, which is still supporting him today. It was a milestone in the family company's relationship with offshore racing. However, this Vendée Globe was far from easy... After a collision on the way down the Atlantic, followed by problems with the automatic pilot in the Southern Ocean, Coville was on the point of retiring. Exhausted, he could no longer feed himself. While his wife played an important role in the continuation of his adventure, another woman also made a major contribution: Simone Bougro, the 70-year-old founder of Sodebo. On the phone, she said to him: "I don't care whether you win or lose. The only thing that interests me is that you start eating again. I'll make you a deal: every day at eight o'clock GMT, I'll go out onto my terrace and meet you there for a bite to eat together. This is how the sailor gradually managed to feed himself and regain his strength to complete his round-the-world voyage!

2004, the start of a fantastic story

Today, the Vendée Globe is part of the history of the company, which has been based in Saint-Georges-de-Montaigu in Vendée since it was founded in 1973. "Loyalty is an essential value for our company. We're committed to the idea of thinking long-term, giving people a chance and building quickly. It's hard not to want to continue this incredible adventure, which has brought out the best in some exceptional and inspiring men and women. It's no coincidence that the Vendée Globe is one of the 3 most popular sporting events in France," said Patricia Brochard, co-president of Sodebo, when the partnership was renewed in 2022.

Sodebo sailing news

On 7 January, Thomas Coville will set off on the Arkéa Ultim Challenge on his giant Sodebo trimaran. The Vendée Globe wishes him fair winds!