28 January 2021: Well, it's over and again a nail-biter finish! Vendee Globe around the world race is in the record books and for the second (race) year in a row, the top finishers came in within hours of each other. Until the leaders had actually crossed the line, no one knew who actually won due to time corrections. As it turned out, it was not the boat that actually crossed first. From several European sources, the following amalgamation:
Frenchman Charlie Dalin was the first to cross the finish line first off Les Sables d'Olonne, western France, on Wednesday evening at 8.35 pm CET, surrounded by an armada of boats that glittered in red, green and blue.
The 36-year-old, who led the ranking for more than half of the course aboard his latest generation flying boat, had to wait to see if he would be declared the winner of the 2020 Vendée Globe.
Two other competitors, the German Herrmann, who arrived third, and Bestaven, who came in fifth, also crossed the line were also in contention for the race.
Greeted by 300 volunteers, Dalin said: "For sure it has changed me, I don't know in what way yet... it's so many emotions, it's incredible emotions, it's emotions of a strength that I had never felt before..."
Third-placed Burton said: "It's a great joy, a great pride to be among the first to cross this finish line. (It is) seven days less than four years ago [when he finished 7th], 75 days more than eight years ago because I had given up after five days".
Both skippers had time compensation in hand for helping to rescue competitor, Kevin Escoffier, whose yacht sank in heavy seas off Cape Horn on November 30.
These bonuses - six hours for Herrmann and 10 hours and 15 minutes for Bestaven - could only be taken into account once the line had been crossed.
This was Bestaven's second attempt after he lasted just 30 hours in 2008. The 48-year-old, from La Rochelle, finished eight hours behind leader Dalin but snatched victory thanks to his time bonus.
"It's a joy, I don't realise yet what's happening, I'm still in my race, even though it's over. It's a child's dream come true."
Dalin, who finished in 80 days, six hours, 15 minutes and 47 seconds - officially placed second followed by fellow Frenchman Louis Burton, who crossed the finish line second four hours later but came third overall.
He actually took the gun for third place off Les Sables d’Olonne, France at 03hrs 19mins 46 secs early this Thursday morning (28 Jan).
With a time compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes, awarded by an international jury for his role in the search and rescue of fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier, Bestaven takes overall victory.
Finishing 2hrs 31mins 01secs ahead of Charlie Dalin and 6hrs 40mins 26secs of Louis Burton who both finished ahead of him and take second and third respectively.
Germany’s Boris Herrman was in contention for a podium position until he struck a fishing boat at 90 miles from the finish line. He is bringing his Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco to the finish at reduced speed.
The standings as of today:
Vendée Globe Leaders – Day 81 – Thu 28 Jan – 08:00 hrs UK
1st FRA Yannick Bestaven – Maître CoQ IV – Arrival date: 28/01/2021 03:19:46
2nd FRA Charlie Dalin – APIVIA – Arrival date: 27/01/2021 19:35:47 – Race time: 80d 06h 15m 47s
3rd FRA Louis Burton – BUREAU VALLEE 2 – Arrival date: 27/01/2021 23:45:12 – Race time: 80d 10h 25m 12s
4th FRA Thomas Ruyant – LinkedOut – Arrival date: 28/01/2021 04:42:01 – Race time: 80d 15h 22m 01s
5th FRA Boris Herrmann – SEAEXPLORER – 20 nm to finish
6th FRA Damien Seguin – GROUPE APICIL – 51 nm
7th FRA Giancarlo Pedote – PRYSMIAN GROUP – 54 nm
8th FRA Jean Le Cam – Yes we Cam! – 184 nm
9th FRA Benjamin DUTREUX – OMIA – WATER FAMILY – 371 nm
10th FRA Maxime SOREL – V and B-MAYENNE – 598 nm
19th GBR Pip Hare – Medallia – 3256 nm
22nd GBR Miranda Merron – Campagne de France – 4535 nm
Nicolas Troussel, Alex Thomson, Kevin Escoffier, Sebastien Simon, Sam Davies, Fabrice Amedo, Isabelle Joschke, Sébastien Destremau
These men (and women) are ferocious competitors and obviously infused with an inner strength that is almost incomprehensible to most of us. Congratulations to these finishers - a significant accomplishment in itself!
Until next time - and maybe some America's Cup news by then!