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Asymmetric Sailing by Andy Rice
Asymmetric Sailing by Andy Rice

Michel Desjoyeaux wins the Vendée Globe

by Vendée Globe media 1 Feb 2009 16:32 GMT 1 February 2009

Desjoyeaux’s second Vendee Globe win

Sailing a course distance of 28303 miles, averaging 14.02 knots, French solo skipper Michel Desjoyeaux has shattered the Vendée Globe solo round the world race record today on his way to becoming the first solo skipper ever to win the solo non stop around the world race twice.

After winning the race in 2000-01 on PRB, eclipsing the young emerging British skipper Ellen MacArthur by 1 day 28 minutes, Desjoyeaux joined the 30 strong field for this race, the biggest entry ever round the world race in sailing history, as one of the clear favourites.

From successful odyssey into big racing multihulls, Desjoyeaux returned to monohulls in 2007 when he won the highly competitive Solitaire du Figaro, going on to win the Transat Vabre in late 2007 on his return to the IMOCA Open 60 class in which the Vendée Globe is contested.

Desjoyeaux crossed the finish on Sunday 1st February at 15:11.08 GMT , after 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes of racing. Foncia completed the race in twenty knots of breeze under sunny skies, greeted by a massive armada of spectator boats before being warmly welcomed by huge crowds who gathered along the waterfront and harbour area of Les Sables d’Olonne, where the race departed at 1202 GMT November 9th 2008.

The gruelling race has taken a high toll of the 30 skippers who started the non stop solo round the world race. As Desjoyeaux finished this afternoon, nine are climbing northwards in the Atlantic ocean while some 7,700 miles behind two are expected to pass Cape Horn and leave the Pacific tomorrow. Eighteen skippers have been forced to abandon. In early December Yann Eliès had to be evacuated off his Generali when he sustained a broken femur while working on the bow of his boat, and Jean Le Cam was rescued when he capsized off Cape Horn by Vincent Riou, the 2004-5 winner of the race.

Desjoyeaux’s win in figures:

Les Sables-Equator : 13d15h 41’ (behind leader Loïck Peyron by 1day 06h 43’)
Les Sables-Cape of Good Hope : 27d 00h 34’ (behind leader Sébastien Josse : 4h 56’)
Les Sables-Cape Leeuwin : 37d 07h 23’ (ahead of Roland Jourdain : 50’)
Les Sables-Dateline/Antimeridian : 43d23h 33’ (ahead of Roland Jourdain : 2h 55’)
Les Sables-Cape Horn : 56d 15j 08’ (ahead of Roland Jourdain : 8h 50’)
Les Sables-Equator : 71d17h 12’ (ahead of Roland Jourdain : 3days 05h 52’)
Finish: Les Sables-Les Sables: 84d 03h 09’08’’ (ahead of 2nd Roland Joudain : 1345 miles, 3rd
Armel Le Cléac’h : 1632 miles), average 12.3 for the actual race course.

Desjoyeaux 2008 compared with Vendée Globe 2004:

Les Sables-Equator 2004 : 10d 12h 13’ (Michel Desjoyeaux : 3d 03h 28’ behind)
Les Sables-Cape of Good Hope 2004 : 24d 02h 18’ (Michel Desjoyeaux : 2d 22h 16’ behind)
Les Sables-Cape Leeuwin 2004 : 36d 11h 48’ (Michel Desjoyeaux : 19h 35’behind)
Les Sables-Cape Horn 2004 : 56d17h 13’ (Michel Desjoyeaux : 2h 05’ ahead)
Les Sables-Equator 2004 : 72d 13h 58’ (Michel Desjoyeaux : 20h 46’ ahead)
Les Sables-Les Sables 2004 : 87d 10h 47’ (Michel Desjoyeaux breaks record by : 3d 07h 39’)

Michel Desjoyeaux’s first quotes:

"It's incredible, this little ray of sunshine is making it magical. I may have done it eight years ago, but it's still incredible. I can't take it in. I have been two months trying to understand what's going on, how I'm doing it and so here I'm just enjoying it then we'll think about it afterwards.

I never really worried about being behind I won this Vendée Globe before the start with the choices I made, with the team and the experience I have built up. Eighty percent of the end result is before the start of the race. But it is a whole lot of things, and the other twenty percent is during the race itself, in believing, having faith, in doing it, manoeuvering, in punishing yourself, when I had to push a bit, but I never really suffered. I am always in the action, making the boat go fast.

I don't think I have been cocky. We've had rough conditions in the south but I felt I was at ease and enjoying it a lot, so everything feels a lot easier that way, not to be too hard on yourself and just keep going.

Even on 25th December with my rudder problem, I didn't sit around crying about what had happened. Everyone knows the Vendée Globe is hard and it's only normal there aren't many of us finishing. It's the hardest race that exists, simply, so it's normal that there are not a lot of us left at the finish line.

Jules Verne had visualized 80 (days) and I think that's do-able even with our boats, so I think in four years it'll be doable. The world hasn't shrunk, but it is certainly possible to sail around the world in under 80 days, and it would have been possible this time without the ice this time.

I didn't manage to sleep last night.

Sam Davies onboard Roxy comments on Michel Desjoyeaux’ victory

“Call him ‘Mich the Machine’”

Today at 15:11 GMT, after 84 days of sailing solo and non-stop around the world, French sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux has won the Vendee Globe for the second time. The first person in history to ever do so.

Still lying in 4th position and 2,600 nautical miles from the finish, leading British Sam Davies has commented on the one she calls ‘her hero’s’ achievement:

“Every time I have been asked who my sailing hero is, I answered Mich (as everybody calls him) Desjoyeaux. I now think that many more people will understand why. He was always my favourite to win the race so I felt sad for him three months ago when straight away after the start he had to turn back for repairs. But I always knew that it wouldn’t be enough to stop ‘Mich the machine’! Roxy and I have a special connection with him because my old lady is no other than the boat he won the race in for the first time eight years ago. Mich and I have been communicating by email through the race and it has been very important for me. In hard times, a little message from his Foncia would come to Roxy and encourage me and give me motivation. He has inspired me and I always try my best in his wake. Mich has just showed again what the sailing world already knew, he is one of the world’s best sailors of all time.”

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