Roland Jourdain, skipper of the Open 60 'Sill Matines La Potagere', crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe in third position at 1713hrs and 33 seconds under a deep orange sunset.
After Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) & Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) the French skipper completed the podium of the 4th edition of this solo, non-stop, around the world yacht race. He spent 96 days, 1 hour, 2 minutes and 33 seconds racing, moreover he now holds the solo record for the most miles run in 24hrs with 435.3 miles.
Although the other two skippers will undoubtedly be the first people to greet their friend 'Bilou' at the end of his race, only PRB is sitting alongside the arrival pontoon in Les Sables d'Olonne. Tuesday morning at 1030hrs Kingfisher motored out of Port Olona, heading towards Southampton, in order for vital repairs to be done and for the British supporters and press to get a glimpse of their nation's sailing 'champion', before the boat returns to France again.
Marc Thiercelin, 1000 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne, is going along at 6 knots towards home port, plagued again by light airs from the anticyclone off the Spanish coastline. The worst hit were in fact Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privee) & Thomas Coville (Sodebo), who have run into a windless abyss, which is keeping them captive for a little longer. Looking back on their track record of weather in this race, it could be said that these two have had more than their quota of light winds.
The serene Swiss skipper is being philosophical about it. "There's not even a breath of wind out here. I covered 7 miles over night. I just have to sit this out patiently. I think that once Thiercelin has arrived you'll have to wait for us for quite some time. But it's not the end of the world, we haven't hit any cargo, it could be worse." His attitude seems to be wearing off on the younger, more impatient Coville. "It's the worst conditions for Sodebo, upwind in light airs, this boat was built for racing downwind in fresh wind. On the other hand, with Dominique, we have been regatta-style racing since the Equator."
Josh Hall (EBP-Gartmore), only 60 miles ahead of Bernard Gallay (Voila.fr) now, always cheerful just to be out on the sea, is still being hampered from getting to the bar in Les Sables d'Olonne by unfavourable heading and wind direction. "Mike has a better heading 2 degrees North of me so I hope the wind will change East for me. I hope the anticyclone won't block me before the final stretch."
Mike Golding (Team Group 4) has the wind on his side, reportedly beating through a big sea in 41 knots of breeze. No doubt, Golding was pleased to hear that the four boats ahead of him were struggling in light airs. Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind) is 536 miles from Cape Horn and is in two minds over what is keeping him going. "I don't know if I am more impatient to arrive at Cape Horn, because I will finish this long Southern part, because I know for that occasion one of the three cigars I put away is attending me. Honestly, the second motivation prevails the first one!"
Marc Thiercelin is expected in on Saturday and Dominique Wavre Sunday or Monday.
Ranking at 15.00 13/02/01
Note that SILL Matines La Potagere (Jourdain) has finished since these positions were polled.
Boat DTF DTL Speed
1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) Arrive - 93j 3h 57m 32s
2 Kingfisher (MacArthur) Arrive - 94j 4h 25m 40s 1d0h 28m 8s)
3 SILL Matines La Potagere (Jourdain) 14 0 1.04
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) 975 32 28.08
5 Union Bancaire Privee (Wavre) 1325 1311 2.59