French skipper Marc GUILLEMOT and Britain's Sam DAVIES arrived in Les Sables d'Olonne over the weekend to take third and fourth place respectively, followed by Brian THOMPSON taking fifth on Monday morning.
Sam DAVIES sailing Roxy was the first of the three to arrive into the finish of the Vendée Globe solo non stop around the world race at Les Sables d'Olonne at 00:41:01 UTC on Saturday.
Roxy crossed the finish in the midst of a dark February night, in the small hours of St Valentine's day, having sailed 27,470 miles on the water at an average speed of 12.02 knots.
DAVIES was the first British competitor to complete this edition of the race, which began off Les Sables d'Olonne back on 9 November 2008. It is an exceptional result for the 34-year-old, who with her Roxy team prepared Finot Conq-designed boat which won the previous two races and is now nine years old.
DAVIES' sparky enthusiasm has been one of the constants of this remarkable race. Her effervescent moods, no matter the weather or her situation, belie a steely determination and a very accomplished attack around the race course. While she modulated her pace showing prudence when required, she equally proved capable of 'sending it' - keeping up high average speeds for long periods and she was also one of the few sailors in the race to cover more than 400 miles in one day (making 414 miles in 24 hours).
Reflecting on her achievement, DAVIES said her positive attitude was a key element in her strategy for coping with the demands of the race, "The Vendée Globe is a hard race, because it lasts so long. My way of dealing with it is to use positive energy. So even in difficult times, I keep smiling. It's my way of managing the difficult times. The hard times were when Jean capsized and Yann with his leg. You put yourself in their position. Normally when racing you don't think of those things, as you would just be too scared. But when that happens, it brings it home to you and it's hard to deal with that fear. The other difficult time was off Brazil, when I lost 700 miles when I was slowed down in the thundery low. I had worked hard to earn those miles in the south and it was very frustrating. I got an email from Yannick BESTAVEN offering his encouragement. At one point we were sailing alongside each other as our boats sailed at around the same speed. That made me think that at least I was still in the Vendée Globe and that there were people, who weren't so lucky. It was a way of looking at things positively."
Despite DAVIES arriving as the third boat into Les Sables d'Olonne, it was Marc GUILLEMOT (FRA) onboard Safran who took joint third in the race and completed the podium when he finished at 01:21:36 UTC on Sunday. Despite finishing behind DAVIES, GUILLEMOT was promoted to third as he was awarded a time compensation earlier in the race for standing by the badly injured skipper Yann ELIES (FRA) who was rescued from his Open 60 Generali on 20 December. GUILLEMOT ties for third place, along with Vincent RIOU (FRA), who was awarded joint third as redress when his boat was damaged whilst rescuing Jean LE CAM.
"The last week was very stressful and crossing the line was a great relief and the stress of the race all came out at that point,"
commented GUILLEMOT. "It was very strange seeing the motorboats surround me and I couldn't see the line very easily. You go from a quiet world of being alone to noise and people, although I like seeing my friends. I'm happier with the design choices at the finish than at the start! There were a lot of complementary ideas that came together and this evening finishing I really enjoyed sailing her. She's a great boat!"
To complete his first Vendée Globe, GUILLEMOT has had to sail for the final 1,000 miles, since he was just to the NE of the Azores, with no keel. His keel dropped out of his boat on Monday 9 February and since then the skipper from La Trinité has had to sail prudently but still managed to wrest third from DAVIES by a net 1 hour, 19 minutes and 25 seconds. GUILLEMOT received a time compensation of 82 hours for diverting from his course to assist in the evacuation of injured Yann Eliès 800 miles south of Australia in the Southern Ocean.
Accompanied by a fleet of media and spectator boats GUILLEMOT crossed the finish line on a chilly, dark night, ending his epic race having taken a net 95 days, 3 hours, 19 minutes and 36 seconds to complete the course.
Brian THOMPSON (GBR) sailing Bahrain Team Pindar, crossed the race finish line this morning at 08:31:55 UTC to secure a very creditable fifth place. THOMPSON, who fought to contain a keel problem through the final hours of his race, completed his first solo ocean race on IMOCA Open 60 in a time of 98 days, 20 hours, 29 minutes and 55 seconds, holding off the ongoing attack of his compatriot Dee CAFFARI (GBR) on AVIVA, who is due to finish later this morning.
After more than three months at sea THOMPSON was first and foremost looking forward forward to being re-united with his family, wife Natalie and his young daughter Genevive, 3 ½ and Tristan 1 ½.
Vendee Globe Leaderboard - 04:00 UTC 16 February 2009
1. Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA), Foncia finished after 84 days, 3 hours, 9 minutes, 8 seconds
2 Armel LE CLÉAC´H (FRA), Brit Air finished after 89 days, 9 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds
3 Marc GUILLEMOT (FRA), Safran finished after 95 days, 3 hours, 19 minutes, 36 seconds
4 Samantha DAVIES (GBR), Roxy finished after 95 days, 4 hours, 39 minutes, 1 seconds
5. Brian THOMPSON (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar finished after 98 days, 20 hours, 29 minutes, seconds
6. Dee CAFFARI (GBR), Aviva at 68.7 miles to finish
7. Arnaud BOISSIÈRES (FRA), Akena Vérandas at 1109.2 miles to finish
8. Steve WHITE (GBR), Toe in the Water at 1741.3 miles to finish
9. Rich WILSON (USA), Great American III at 3200.3 miles to finish
10. Raphaël DINELLI (FRA), Fondation Océan Vital at 4418.8 miles to finish
11. Norbert SEDLACEK (AUT), Nauticsport-Kapsch at 4859.7 miles to finish
RDG. Vincent RIOU (FRA), PRB, Awarded equal third as redress
30 boats started
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