1. ITV Report

Vendee world race challenge

The Vendee Globe race in action, 2008 Photo: PA Wire

If Britain really is planning to rule the waves in sailing then we have to win the world's toughest offshore race in which the French have beaten us six times out of six.

Vendee globe is a single handed non-stop sprint around the world and this year three British skippers from Hampshire are hoping to wrestle the trophy from our French neighbours.

I spent the day, today, at the launch in Paris. It's six weeks to go to the start - and there are 20 skippers confirmed in the Vendee globe.In previous years, the race has seen three deaths, countless capsizes, dismastings and collisions with icebergs since it began in 1989. It's not for the faint hearted.

Former winner Vincent Riou told me today: "It's very hard; the race and the preparation!"

It's now wonder the focus of attention was on Portsmouth's Sam Davies at today's launch - she's the only female skipper and is planning to improve on 4th place from four years ago.

Sam, Mike Golding and Alex Thomson are hoping to break the run of six wins in six races by French skippers. Mike, a former Berkshire firefighters, from Warsash in Hampshire, is here for his 4th and final attempt at victory.

Alex Thomson knows only too well how vulnerable you are alone in the southern ocean - he was rescued in dramatic fashion by Mike six years ago.