Vendée Globe final: Everyone’s a winner

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On January 27th at 20:35 the first yachtsman who crossed the finish line in in Les Sables-d’Olonne harbor became 36-year-old French skipper Charlie Dalin on the Apivia boat. It took him 80 days 6 hours 15 minutes and 47 seconds to make solo round the world race on the open 60 ‘(18 meters) yacht. Total distance was 28 thousand miles.

But at this stage it was impossible to predict who would be the real winner of the most incredible sailing race in the world – the Vendée Globe.

Previous race favorite Boris Herrmann, who represented the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) on the Sea Explorer yacht, came in 5th due to an absurd accident. A collision with a fishing boat and damaging to the right foil just 90 miles from the finish line turned his yacht from “flying over the waves” into just gliding at 6-9 knots.

And Charlie Dalin, who finished first, took only second place in the race. The jury compensated the other sailors for the time and extra miles they had earned for the incredible rescue of Kevin Escoffier after his yacht wreck.

On November 20th, Kevin Escoffier’s yacht crashed, hitting a wave, the ship actually split in half and sank in a matter of minutes.

“In four seconds the boat nosedived, the bow folded at 90 degrees. I put my head down in the cockpit, a wave was coming. I had time to send one text before the wave fried the electronics. It was completely crazy. It folded the boat in two. I’ve seen a lot before but this one”, – he shared then.

Escoffier was adrift in his liferaft for over 11 hours, some 840 miles south of Cape Town, at night in 25-knot winds and 3 metre waves.

Several skippers were in the vicinity of the crash site and they accepted the organizers’ offer to suspend the race, deviate from the course and assist the rescue operation. He was rescued by the “veteran” Vendée Globe French sailor Jean Le Cam.

Thus, on December 16, four sailors received compensation from the jury for the time and extra miles lost while searching for Kevin. German skipper Boris Herrmann received 6 hours, Yannick Bestaven 10 hours 15 minutes and Jean Le Cam 16 hours 15 minutes. Also, Sebastian Simon got a head start, but he retired from the race in December.

As soon as Dalin crossed the finish line, a new countdown began, which showed whether Bestaven or Herrmann would be able to overtake him in their temporary advantage.

Herrmann, as highlighted above, got into an “accident” and as a result he was overtaken by the French sailor Louis Burton on the Bureau Vallée boat (he completed the race in 80 days 10 hours 25 minutes 12 seconds), and 48-year-old Yannick Bestaven in Maître Coq IV.

Bestaven came in third, 8 hours after Charlie Dalin, but it was his finish that was victorious. 10 hours of compensation was crucial, reducing the actual result to 80 days 3 hours 44 minutes 46 seconds.

Finally, Damien Seguin deserves special attention. The Paralympian, a man without left hand, is the leader among all foilless yachts and even overtakes some foil boats! As a result, he came in sixth, leaving behind most of the fleet with the foils. Can you even imagine this?

They all are winners because all skippers who dared to take part in a solo round the world race and covered a huge distance and unthinkable obstacles are brave and fearless men and women. But human nature is reckless. This season the skippers failed to break the record set by Armel Le Cléac’h, who covered the distance in 74 days in the 2016/2017 season, although there were more foil yachts. Moreover, there were 8 completely new yachts which had been built specifically for this race. This is an absolute record for the Vendée Globe.

The competition over and over again raises the level of participants. The 2024/2025 season will surely turn out to be no less spectacular and intriguing. Some teams have already started to build up the new yachts with the future technologies of sails, masts, hulls, automatic winches, hydrofoils etc. The estimated cost of a 60-foot racing yacht will range from 3.5 to 4.5 million euros. By the way you can buy the used yacht after regatta at a significant discount.

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