Gracious, serene and with a smile which lit up his Press Conference, here are some of the words from Japan's Kokiro Shiraish
What is the outstanding thing about this Vendée Globe, is it your memory of the Southern Ocean or repairing your mainsail, what is the main thing that stands out?
“ The first thing is that I am really grateful to everyone who has followed me and enabled me to finish this Vendée Globe, there were a lot of new things during this race for me and the team. The first is I did this Vendee Globe with a new boat. And I had not talked about this before but one year before the start I had a big heart surgery. And there were other things but I never imagined my mainsail would tear as fast as it did during the race but with the good advice of my team over the period of a week I managed to find the time and the resources to repair my mainsail and go on to finish.”
Do you have any regrets?
I have been coming to France for over 30 years to meet top sailors and I am very grateful to all of them for their help and advice over the years. I had thought I would have time to concentrate on my French during the race but the foils were too loud so I am sorry
Your positive mental attitude is that something that has come to you in time, or does it just happen at sea or are you like that all the time?
Actually I am like this since I was child I have never grown and I have never changed.
The first Japanese skipper to finish the Vendée Globe it must make you very proud?
The biggest satisfaction I have now is when you go on google in Japan when you type my name it comes up with Vendée Globe and so I am so very proud of that. And now I hope other young Asian skipper will do the race
Is there a pathway in Japan to enable young skippers to follow in your wake?
Yes of course I was initiated to sailing by Yukoh Tada T who was at the time one of the only offshore racers in Japan and so I was able to do this Vendée Globe thanks to him and so why not in the future? The boat is going to Japan for this year and it will go around the country for PR events and so we hope to get some people interested and maybe bring them back to France.
Thanks to everyone the present is thanks to you and everyone in the VG organisation.
What was the greatest moment the most beautiful thing on the race?
When the mainsail tore and it took me a week to repair and I hoisted it up that was the most marvellous moment of this Vendée Globe
It is said that when you fulfil your dream it makes you happy and sad at the same time?
It is actually a very strange moment I am very happy and there will be new challenges and there is no sadness in this and it is so very important to welcome me with big smiles.
Who or what did you think about when you were about to cross the finish line?
Truly when I saw all the faces of my team at the finish it was the most heartwarming moment I just don’t have the words to express it
You said you were in total harmony with your boat so how was it touching land and stepping off?
The first thing I want to say to the boat is thanks for bringing me back to Les Sables it worked hard a lot if suffered a lot and I thank it I want to say sorry to it for not being able to exploit its full potential because of this mainsail problem.
The influence of Roland Jourdain (Bilou) who was project manager and consultant?
The first thing is that if Bilou had not been there to help me I would not have been able to finish this Vendée Globe. And after Yannick Bestaven and Maxime sorel I am his least good student and maybe if I had listened to him more closely I might have not had the mainsail problem!
Bilou responded to Koji
I want to say you are great man and it’s honour to have worked with you. 90 per cent of skippers would have turned left to go to the Cape Verdes or the Canaries after what happened to you and would have given up but it is tribute to you that you kept going and finished this Vendée Globe.