Now, it’s really over. The arrival of Sébastien Destremau, the 18th and last competitor among the 29 skippers left last November 6th from Les Sables d’Olonne, marks the end of the eight edition of what is called the “Everest of the seas”, that is Vendée Globe, a round-the-world solo non-stop yacht race.
After 124 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds, yesterday, at 13:00, the French skipper crossed off the same line where he had left from more than 4 months ago, completing the race with an average of 8.2 knots.
The fact that Destremau is the last competitor closing the solo round-the world race is far from a defeat. The value of the challenge lies in the ability to finish it. The arrival occurred 50 days after Armel Le Cléac’h, who was the first to cross off the finish line in front of the coasts of the French Vendée, still represents the victory to have completed a very hard sailing experience at southern latitudes, where, under the Capes Horn, Leeuwin and Good Hope, oceans meet no land able to stop them and generate waves any other sailor can encounter.
Along the quays of Les Sables d’Olonne, thousands of people and many journalists welcomed the arrival of the last competitor celebrating him like a champion in the most traditional nautical spirit.
And, in his own way, Sébastien Destremau has won his Vendée Globe. The Techno First-face Ocean skipper faced the competition with the precise goal of going through with it. With no chance to step to the podium, Destremau set his race with consistency and a conservative strategy which, since the first days of sailing, placed him behind the whole fleet.
Three weeks after the departure, a problem with the starter contributed to slow down the race of the Techno First-faceOcean. A serious problem which risked to compromise the whole race considering that the boat was unable to charge batteries. However, the skipper managed to solve the problem and restore the system with the help of his team aground.
The hardness of the race and some doubts about the boat’s conditions led Destremanu to a choice which resulted into an advantage of 1,000 miles for his closest competitor. Before facing the Pacific, the skipper decided to get an anchorage in Tasmania where he stopped three days for a complete hull and equipment check.
From that moment on, Techno First-faceOcean was irreparably behind the rest of the fleet. When on January 29th, Sébastien Destremau rounded Cape Horn and entered the Atlantic Ocean, the first six competitors of Vendée Globe had already arrived at Les Sables D’Olonne.
Sébastien continued to sail alone even when Pieter Heerema, who was sailing 1,200 miles further north, was forced to withdraw in Argentina. He sailed the ocean for other 6 weeks. With extreme awareness, he claimed: ” We’re just normal guys but we’re doing something superhuman“.