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Destremau Closes the Door on The Big South

Sebastien Destremau (FRA), skipper Technofirst Face Ocean, at start of the Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6th, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee GlobeSebastien Destremau (FRA), skipper Technofirst Face Ocean, au dép

The French skipper, who pit-stopped into Tasmania to check and repair the rig of his TechnoFirst FaceOcean, may have rounded in 18th place 37 days after the race winner Armel Le Cléac’h and four days and 16 hours after his closest rival, the Dutch solo skipper Pieter Heerema (No Way Back), said today he could scarcely believe what he has achieved so far on his 1998 launched Finot design which first completed the 2000-1 Vendée Globe course as Josh Hall’s Gartmore.

Until he sailed his IMOCA home from South Africa in August 2015 Destremau had confined his racing experience to grand prix offshore and inshore sailing, commenting today:

“This type of sailing is not what I have done. Cape Horn has never been a goal of mine. It is something big boys do and I am not one of them. I can’t believe I am within 50 miles of Cape Horn this morning. It is very hard to take in. I have sailed this boat from Les Sables d’Olonne and now that seems bizarre. Pinch me I’m dreaming. I am so happy. I am so happy to have done this. We will start the long climb back to Les Sables d’Olonne.  It is special for the whole team and for my family, they are all watching and sending messages. I know they are all taking huge pride.”

Eric Bellion (CommeUnseulHomme) crossed the Equator in ninth place at 2343hrs UTC last night and looked set for a relatively straightforward passage through the Doldrums. He is looking to live every one of his last days on the race course to its fullest as he remains sure that his Vendée Globe is a once in a lifetime experience.

"Now there is the smell of the paddock, of home. When I passed over the line last night it was a bit bittersweet, I had mixed feelings, but here we are coming home. But this I will never do this again. I want to enjoy the last 15 days to the maximum.”  Said Bellion today.

Louis Burton is expected to be the next Vendée Globe skipper to finish into Les Sables d’Olonne, on course to arrive on Wednesday. He was making 17kts this afternoon some 80 miles north of the Azores on his Bureau Vallée.

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