The rookie skipper of Safran was in fourth place when one of his rudders was destroyed by a floating object south west of South Africa three days ago.
The collision immediately put an end to Lagravière's dreams of completing his first Vendée Globe, a tough thing to accept given the amount of work over the last four years that went into getting him to the start line.
But the same seas that ended his race dreams delivered a gift of condolence as the 29-year-old yesterday approached Cape Town at sunrise, in the form of a pod of whales.
Lagravière said the moment lifted his spirits, which were then raised even higher when he was met on the dock by the PRB shore team waiting for fellow race retiree Vincent Riou.
“Ultimately it’s been pretty good to make landfall in Cape Town as it’s an exceptional, magical place,” he said.
"As I came in, I had whales all around the boat, together with the beautiful colours as the sun rose with the backdrop of Table Mountain.
It was a nice transition from sea to land. The PRB team was there to take the lines so that what great to chat with them and have human contact.
We welcomed Vincent in last night and he has digested things now and has the same mindset as me.
Obviously it affects you deeply having to retire and we’re both disappointed, but the Vendée Globe is something else and you can’t control everything, especially the unpredictable.
We now have to concentrate on finding solutions and getting the boats home with good humour.”