Only Tanguy De Lamotte, Initiatives-Coeur, and Alessandra Di Benedetto, Team Plastique, remain racing in the Vendee Globe after Bertrand de Broc became the latest sailor to complete the round the world journey.
De Broc crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe off Les Sables d'Olonne at 17:12:14hrs UTC. He finished in ninth place overall, crossing the line 1day 15hrs after eighth placed Arnaud Boissières and 14 days, 14hrs 53mins 34 secs after race winner François Gabart (MACIF).
His elapsed time on the course is 92 days 05h 10min 14s. De Broc was given a time penalty of +12 hours by the International Jury for unsealing and using his emergency water supply since 5th February and so his amended time on course is 92 d 17h 10min 14s. His average speed on the course has been 11 knots. He has traveled 27,912 miles on the water at an actual average speed of 12.6 knots. The theoretical distance of the course is 24,394 miles.
Third time lucky
In finishing the Vendée Globe in ninth place Bertrand de Broc not only finally laid to rest his jinx that had plagued his two previous attempts, but his time of a little over 92 days is around three days quicker than the boat went round in 2008-2009 in the hands of Armel Le Cléac'h who finished second.
For de Broc, getting to the start line at all was a victory of sorts. He only launched the project in February 2012. He worked tirelessly over the next months raising funds, crossing France many times, speaking with hundreds of contacts and in the end raising his funds through public subscriptions, following the same formula as he did back in 1996, mobilising thousands of people to share his dream, to join his adventure carrying 'your name around the world'. Scepticism was rife from the start but not only did de Broc prove them wrong, but here he is today fulfilling that dream for the thousands of believers who have gone around with him.
Short preparation time
With the acquisition of the former boat of Armel Le Cléac'h, de Broc knew he had a good, reliable craft. But it was June when he got the boat and so his preparation time was necessarily short. Indeed it was really just the bare essentials which he had managed to cover off before the start and he was desperately shy on sailing miles when he started. And indeed his main, simple focus was just to have the boat ready to go on departure day. In total he had probably around three weeks of sailing before the start, but a tiny fraction of what the winners accumlated in the years prior to the start.
His Vendée Globe started with a bang. Minutes before the start gun went one of his semi rigid inflatable support boats struck the front of his boat. And so rather than start with a potentially weakened hull around the puncture, he took the hard decision to return immediately to Les Sables d'Olonne to repair and leaves again 20 hours later.
The door closes
But his delay in leaving Les Sables d'Olonne proves a weighty one as the weather conditions he then gets for crossing the Bay of Biscay when the favourable reaching winds which the fleet had become much lighter. In fact that rather sets the tone for his descent of the Atlantic. The 20 hour initial delay becomes small by comparison as he crossed the Doldrums and passes the St Helena anticyclone, the winds always favouring those in front of him.
Accentuate the positive, every cloud has a silver lining….
De Broc is always positive, the lighter winds give him a chance to learn his new boat progressively. The lack of training becomes less of an issue and by the Pacific he is pushing hard and making very good miles. And he makes the best of the passage between Cape Horn and the Equator and is only seven hours or so slower than the record set by François Gabart, second quickest of the fleet. And in the process he catches nearly one thousand miles on Arnaud Boissières who is in his sights.
But an finally his nearest rivals escape a little and it hurts him again when Boissières and Javier Sanso get to the trade winds first and Bertrand has to fight through a transition zone of light winds. So in the end he is left making sure that he can finally close the circle, completing the Vendée Globe for the first time. His final hours are suffused with concerns that he might suffer the same fate as in 1996 when he lost his keel within 100 miles of the finish. This time Les Sables South Nouch Buoy marks the end of a Vendée Globe driven by willpower, enough to take you to the other side of the world, and back .
Vendee Globe Website