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MICHEL DESJOYEAUX (PRB) WINNER OF THE VENDEE GLOBE 2000/1

by Philippe Jeantot on 11 Feb 2001
Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper of the Open 60 ŒPRB¹, crossed the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne at 2008hrs and 32 seconds UTC of the 4th edition of the Vendée Globe single-handed,
non-stop, around the world yacht race. He has spent 93 days 3 hrs 57 minutes and 32 seconds at sea.

He has smashed the existing record of 105 days and 20 hours, held by Christophe Auguin, by 12 days, 16 hours, 33 minutes and 51 seconds, and has just become the first man to
achieve a solo, non-stop circumnavigation in less than 100 days.

Out of the 24 skippers who started out from Les Sables d¹Olonne on the 9th November 2000 at 1611hrs (French time), there now rests 15 skippers still racing.

As far as 3 miles from the line, broad-reaching towards Les Sables d¹Olonne, PRB was lit up by helicopter search lights, and surrounded by a buzz of small boats following him in. After
crossing the line, the sky was alight with a grand display of fireworks to celebrate this momentous occasion.

The boat slipped majestically into the port, thousands of onlookers cheering, whistling and blowing horns, while Michel stood at the bow with two red flares held aloft, a big smile from
ear to ear.

As soon as PRB docked and the first line was thrown to land, Michel celebrated by spraying several bottles of champagne over the amassed crowd of media virtually sinking the
pontoon.

His first impressions heard from the pontoon were: 'Ellen, well what a mystery ­ I¹ve been saying to myself Œwhat have I been doing for ten years?¹ Yves was impressive at the start
but now I know why I held slightly back and didn¹t push as hard. I said to myself then, Œwell, that¹s one less competitor¹ even though it¹s not sporting.'


Extracts of the interview with Michel Desjoyeaux on the podium in front of the public:

'I was following the countdown to my arrival for a few hours on my computer on board. I was looking for the buoy and just as if I was in a round the can regatta race I still had to cross
the line so I didn¹t have to do it twice.

'We knew we could do this in less than 100 days with these boats. Christophe Auguin, four years ago, was sufficiently ahead at Cape Horn to slow the pace a bit. For us, the race in
the Atlantic was wild the whole time. And then managing the boat through the Southern Ocean. I felt the change rounding Cape Horn, all the manoeuvres became easier to do. The
Southern Ocean was tough but just three days ago it was equally hard upwind nearer to home as well.

'Thanks to my sponsor and Isabelle Autissier, who had the confidence in me to take the helm of PRB. An amazing team in competence and human character, 80% of this race was won
before the start. I just had to finish off the other 20%, the boat was well prepared and the skipper had some fortune on his side too.

'I¹ve spent 93 days knowing that I shall get off this boat and explain what I did out there. It¹s not hard for me to get off the boat as I¹m used to racing.

'Ellen for me is a great mystery. She is ten years younger than me and she could have beaten me. She came so close to me in the Saint Helen anticyclone, and she came back on me in
the Doldrums and the Azores high. She has displayed a great deal of courage and determination and has threatened me right until the end.

'Professionally, it¹s a big moment in my career. The last turning point for me like this was the Mini Transat. If today 80% of the Open 60¹s have a swing keel it¹s because I won the
second leg of the Mini with this system.

'You can¹t come back unchanged after three months at sea. I¹ve learned a lot about myself and what I do. I was never afraid for myself, only for the boat! Fear of breaking the mast! I¹ve
become an Œearthling¹ again and will remain so until the next time I step on a boat!

'I want to thank all the guys who have come here to welcome me tonight and I hope you will do the same for all the other skippers right to the end as the last one deserves the most
honour for being at sea the longest!'

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For further information:


Go to the official race website: http://www.vendeeglobe.com - click on the English flag
Positions are updated at 0830, 1230, 1730hrs GMT daily on the site.

To access just the latest news online go to: http://212.83.129.122/vg/news.asp?us

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