The prowess

Podium with Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA), skipper Banque Populaire VIII, (winner), Alex Thomson (GBR), skipper Hugo Boss, (2nd) and Jeremie Beyou (FRA), skipper Maitre Coq, 3rd of the sailing circumnavigation solo race Vendee Globe, in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on January 23rd, 2017 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee Globe

Arrivée de Jeremie Beyou (FRA), skipper Maitre Coq, 3ème du Vendee Globe

I have been lucky enough to be at the arrivals of the first two skippers of the Vendée Globe in Les Sables d’Olonne. What a scene! So many emotions! It is the accomplishment of years of work, the end of a journey, the relief for men who have sailed offshore on their own towards the sole objective of crossing the finish line...

What a magical time to see them return, to accompany them safely into port and to share their immense joy.

Armel Le Cléac’h who had finished second-placed twice in the last two editions has now written history by winning this unique solo non-stop round the world race. And the victory is made even more beautiful by the very hard battle he had to fight against Alex Thomson.

I have myself followed Alex’s race with great interest. I like the “showman” side of him and his boat looks amazing. His videos, the mast walk, the sky walk and the keel walk are what drew me to follow sailing and that’s when I realised the difficulty of the sport and the risks they were taking.

Incidentally, to be at the finish, we had to brave a biting cold at sea for a few hours and that is when I really measured the extent of the achievement. For these elite athletes, it has been 74 days of living in extreme conditions!

Like Alex said when he arrived, the race isn’t finished. We must continue to support the 15 skippers still at sea, and let’s not forget to acknowledge the 11 who have had to withdraw from the race.

Laura, in charge of products communication


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