Mike Golding crossed the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne of the 4th Vendée Globe at 0833hrs French time.
His race time is officially 110 days 16 hours and 22 minutes, taking into account the 8 day and 4 hour delay after his unfortunate dismasting just hours into the race. Counting from the second start, he has completed his solo circumnavigation in 102 days and 12 hours 22 minutes, thus beating Marc Thiercelin's time by 7 hours and 15 minutes. Mike Golding has recorded the fourth fastest solo circumnavigation. Moreover, he is the first sailor to have completed a round the world voyage, both ways, single-handedly, in a monhull.
Mike's first impressions, after receiving a fantastic welcome by the people of Les Sables d'Olonne lining the dockside in their hundreds clapping and shouting, showed that despite all the setbacks, finishing was one of the best moments of the race. "What a reception! Even a week ago I wasn't sure I'd get into Les Sables d'Olonne. When the genoa failed a second time it just seemed like too much. I had no food, cigarettes, power problems. The highlight of the race was when the rig fell down and I came back in, the amount of support from people who had nothing to do with the team, who got behind us, incredible! And this reception, it's incredible, from people I don't even know, it's enviable in this sport how public sailing is in France."
On the pontoon, Golding described one of his most terrifying moments in this Vendée Globe, when he had to fix his genoa furler fitting: "I had to go up the rig once in the Southern Ocean, in a quiet spot, very small, at Marion Island. The boat was sailing at 4 knots towards the big Southern Ocean swell, it was getting dark and I had trouble working up there. As the boat moved into the swell it started pounding and I was thrown off the mast. I was unable to catch the mast again, I must have been 15 - 20 foot away, when I came careering smack into it. I got big bruises all over my arms and legs. Afterwards I was shaking so much I couldn't do the repair change and we were moving deeper into the swell and I thought here we go! It was terrifying. I lost a lot of confidence after that to climb the rig, even in the calms."
Bernard Gallay (Voilà.fr) & Josh Hall (EBP - Gartmore), Thursday during the afternoon
Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), Friday night
Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) - 15th March