Jérémie Beyou (Charal) won the inaugural Vendée – Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne when he finished at 20 hrs 44 mins this evening Tuesday July 14 after an elapsed time of 10 days, 5 hours and 14 minutes of what proved to be a completely engaging contest which started last Saturday from Les Sables d’Olonne and which never saw any one skipper gain a conclusive lead at any point on the triangle shaped course which took the fleet to 62 degrees north, turning off the SW of Iceland.
Even at the finish line off the legendary South Nouch buoy the second Beyou was ahead of Charlie Dalin (Apivia) by fifty minutes and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).
This first edition of the Vendée - Arctic - Les Sables d'Olonne proved exceptional in terms of constant engagement, suspense and regular changes of leader. With their routes requiring them to cross several different weather systems the Imoca skippers have experienced a little bit of everything: strong upwind, areas of light winds in high pressure ridges, a succession of Atlantic low pressure system, long fats reaches and most of all the climb northwards to 62 ° N, the northernmost point ever reached in an Imoca race.
Over the course of the race the cards were shuffled regularly, Jérémie Beyou, Thomas Ruyant and Charlie Dalin all took turns taking the lead. At the IOC-UNESCO mark off the SW of Iceland, Ruyant lead by just one mile. And Dalin lead at the final waypoint, the Gallimard buoy 500 nautical miles from the finish. But Charal and Ruyant on LinkedOut went further north, gained an optimum angle to the wind and overhauled Dalin.
There was suspense until the end of the course, with the top five skippers all within 50 nautical miles of each other, guaranteeing a busy and entertaining night to conclude 14th July, France’s national day.