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VENDEE GLOBE ELLEN & KINGFISHER- 94 DAYS 4HRS 25 MINS 40 SEC

by Philippe Jeantot on 13 Feb 2001
At 2036hrs and 40 seconds, Ellen MacArthur and ŒKingfisher¹ crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe in second place. Hundreds of boats went out to give her a heroine¹s welcome, despite the hazard of thick fog, which made it tricky for sometime to even find the young British skipper.

Finally, just a few miles from Les Sables d¹Olonne, Kingfisher appeared out of
the misty blanket. Suddenly all the supporters¹ boats swarmed to her side like bees to a honeypot, engines buzzing as they tried to keep pace with the majestic 60 ft yacht as she raced on
upwind at speed in the darkness, with 4 miles to go still. The Easterly wind had the last word as she was forced to tack twice in the final 2 miles, prolonging for what seemed an inexorable
amount of time the now euphoric anticipation of her actually crossing the line itself. At last, she did it ­ she finished her solo, non-stop, round the world race at 2036 hrs and 40 seconds.

Lining every jetty, harbour wall, pontoon and quayside in Les Sables d¹Olonne a crowd of thousands cheered Ellen & Kingfisher all the way down the channel, the name 'Ellen' echoed
repeatedly into the air. Ellen herself was dancing and jumping on the deck of her boat, no disguising her joy, waving at the throng of people chanting her name. Perhaps the charming
nature and naturalness that Ellen possesses, as well as the fact that she is just 24 years old and the youngest skipper in this race, heightened the intensity & elation, which the public
showed last night.

Ellen held first a press conference in English for the 100 plus international media camped in this French coastal port just for her sake. Immediately after her arrival she received a Œphone
call from British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who spent over 10 minutes chatting at length with her about her exploits at sea, enthusiastically congratulating her for her achievement. 'It¹s
incredible that I¹ve been followed by someone like him,' Ellen said. 'He really knew about the race, he knew what had happened to Yves and about the icebergs. He was genuinely
enthusiastic.'

Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagère) is now the third skipper expected into Les Sables d¹Olonne. Positioned at 1100hrs, 249 miles from the finish and sailing at 12.9 knots gybing in
with the following winds. He will soon reach lighter winds, he declared this morning: 'I¹m doing my best to arrive before the low tide at 1100hrs, but it may be at the end of the afternoon,
with the tide at 1730hrs. I¹m a little tired, my radar¹s broken down so I didn¹t really sleep last night as I¹ve been sailing through the cargo lane. I¹m helming a lot, staying on deck
savouring these final hours. Sill would like to go faster, always, but I say ŒNo, I¹m giving you the staysail and main sail and you just have to fly along with them.¹'

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) has gone West in his final push to negotiate the Azores anticyclone. It began paying as he picked up speed right away, but is now plagued with
unfavourable winds, and a string of unpredictable squalls. 'I had nearly 50 knots. As I can¹t furl my genoa, I had to get it in the shute rapidly which got my adrenaline pumping. Two
pretty hard days.'

For Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), the laborious upwind navigation is taking it¹s toll on her physically. Repeated shocks to the boat reverberate through her body, which has caused
her lumbago. 'Yesterday was one of the hardest days in this whole race: a chaotic sea, a NW swell and an opposing one from the NE, loads of rain squalls and manoeuvres on deck. It
was unbearable. I have real back pains now and my body feels tired to the bone. I slept so much in my bunk last night to get over it.'

Patrice Carpentier (VM Materiaux) climbs steadily up the Atlantic. This morning he was proud to tell of how he managed to climb the mast to repair the main sail halyard, which was
showing signs of wear and tear. He also confessed: 'Oh, I¹ve decided to stop smokingŠwell, actually, I¹ve run out of cigarettes!'

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations), in a good wind, is maintaining some good average speeds at the cost of not being able to fish sailing at such a rate of knots. He has received an
abundance of advice from people giving him advice on how to fish. One of the great favourites of the Vendée Globe at the start, Yves paid brilliant homage to Ellen MacArthur for the
performance which she has achieved. 'Ellen has raced exceptionally well. Give her a hug from me! Her strong point is her sheer motivation. She lives for nothing else except sailing, day
or night, 365 days a year. She doesn¹t ever hang back when she¹s out there racing. She was made for single-handed sailing.'

ETA

Depending on the weather conditions, for the following skippers:

Roland Jourdain Tuesday
Marc Thiercelin Friday
Dominique Wavre Saturday
Thomas Coville Sunday


Radio Chat Extracts

Roland Jourdain (Sill Matine la Potagère): 'I¹ve been spoiled, there was a huge chunk of moon out and I surfed on a golden carpet all night. I don¹t have any more radar or detector, and
everyone is at sea! But the night was so clear, I didn¹t encounter and cargo ships and all¹s well. My arrival: well, to be vague, around midday, depending on the wind, if it eases off or
not. My last hours? I¹m a bit behind on the office work so got some stuff to do. I¹m helming a lot, staying on deck savouring these final hours. Sill would like to go faster, always, but I
say ŒNo, I¹m giving you the staysail and main sail and you just have to fly along with them.¹ Apart from that I¹m doing the usual rounds, checking, cleaning ­ myself and the boat!
Clearly it¹s going to be a shock for me at the finish! To see so many people, really bizarre. I have a wife and two kids so even though I hate being torn away from the boat my family
deserve to have me back and I really so want to see them too.'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) : 'Yesterday was one of the hardest days in this whole race: a chaotic sea, a NW swell and an opposing one from the NE, loads of rain squalls and
manoeuvres on deck. It was unbearable. I have real back pains now and my body feels tired to the bone. I slept so much in my bunk last night to get over it. We spend all our time trying
to make sure the carbon fibre hull resists the shocks but we never think about ourselves. When you¹re ahead and cross the finish line, you don¹t suffer as much as the guys who are at
the back. I really do think about Didier Munduteguy, everyone should come and see him in. I¹ve followed the two arrivals. Coming in at night-time was just so magnificent according to
the reports I¹ve heard. Knowing that they have arrived helps me realise that I¹m not far away from home.'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP 60e Sud) : 'Apart from a little message saying that Ellen had arrived, I haven¹t followed the arrivals. I¹m slowly heading North passed the Falklands. I say to
myself that I have to keep up and sail well to get back to Les Sables d¹Olonne. I¹ve passed the three great capes and I hope the boat will hold up until I get back! Keeping up the morale is
more of a struggle than physical tasks. 56 days spent in the Southern Ocean is an endurance test.'

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) : 'Ellen has raced exceptionally well. Give her a hug from me! Her strong point is her sheer motivation. She lives for nothing else except sailing, day
or night, 365 days a year. She doesn¹t ever hang back when she¹s out there racing. She was made for single-handed sailing.'

Latest Ranking* polled at 0955hrs (UT):

Psn Boat Skipper Lat Long Headg Av. Speed** DTF***
1 PRB Michel Desjoyeaux Finish: 10 February 2008hrs 32 sec
2 Kingfisher Ellen MacArthur Finish: 11 February 2036hrs 40 sec
3 Sill Matines & La Potagère Roland Jourdain 44°39'N 07°29'W 77 11.4 253
4 Active Wear Marc Thiercelin 38°30'N 23°01'W 26

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