Desjoyeaux triumphs

The Vendee Globe has been won by the favourite

Saturday February 10th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The ManMichel Desjoyeaux won the fourth Vendee Globe at 20.08.32 hours local time, on the 10th February, 2001 - officially that's 93 days, three hours, 57 minutes and 32 seconds to sail round the world. A quite staggering achievement, when you consider that only four years ago, Christophe Auguin took 105 days, 20 hours and 31 minutes. That was less than a four day improvement on Titouan Lamazou's first race win time eight years earlier.

Just four years after Auguin, Desjoyeaux has improved the time by 12 days, 16 hours, 33 minutes and 51 seconds, and has become the first man to achieve a solo, non-stop circumnavigation in less than 100 days. And it only seems a few years ago that we were getting excited about the possibility of a crewed multi-hull going round in eighty days ... will we now be asking if it can be done solo, in a mono-hull?

It was a cold dark night, not the best of conditions for a finish, and Desjoyeaux was dressed in black for the occasion. But hundreds of spectator boats, floodlights and fireworks greeted the man as he sailed across the line on starboard gybe, with full main and gennaker set.

While conditions may have dampened the celebrations a little, there was still a huge crowd on the shore watching the finish on a massive screen in the race village. PRB was being escorted by an armada up the channel, returning to the marina where they were all moored before the start. And they were lined up deep on the pontoons to welcome home the conquering hero.

Philippe Jeantot arrived with champagne and Desjoyeaux - with a garland of flowers around his neck - sprayed the dockside. He looks in incredible shape for a man who's sailed around the world, and appears to be really enjoying the moment, a very emotional scene

His boat, PRB, looked in good shape from a distance, though she was missing some stanchions - indicative of serious wave action somewhere along the line. But now Desjoyeaux has disappeared under a wave of French media.

Meanwhile, the massed ranks of the British press are already gathering to welcome home Ellen MacArthur - along with everyone involved in the Kingfisher project from Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, the chairman of Kingfisher, downwards. It's going to be a big couple of days in Les Sables.

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