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Bestaven beats the clock to claim Vendee Globe victory

Vendee Globe

French solo skipper Yannick Bestaven on Maître Coq IV has won the ninth Vendee Globe solo nonstop around-the-world race after crossing the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, France at 0319 UTC this morning.


Bestaven was the skipper to finish – following line honours winner Charlie Dalin on Apivia and Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee – but because of his time compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes, awarded by an international jury for his role in the search and rescue of fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier, Bestaven was awarded the win by two hours 31 minutes and one second over Dalin in second and by and six hours and 46 minutes over Burton in third.

Bestaven finished his 24,000-mile circumnavigation in drizzly rain, surging in on a two-metre swell in 20 knots of westerly wind. Later in the Les Sables D’Olonne channel local well-wishers lined their balconies and the streets to acclaim the newest winner of the Vendee Globe.

Although not tipped as a potential winner before the race Bestaven excelled on his first time visit to the deep south. In the Indian Ocean he passed Australia’s Cape Leeuwin in third place, and then after an impressive performance in the Pacific, rounded Cape Horn with a 15-hour lead on the chasing pack.

A smart climb up the South Atlantic saw him pull ahead by 440 nautical miles (nm), before spending three frustrating days all but becalmed south of Rio as he watched his lead evaporate in the sweltering Brazilian sun.

But the skipper from La Rochelle on the west coast of France – an engineer as well as professional skipper – proved his race winning credentials as he fought back into contention by the Azores. His final key move proved to heading north as he crossed the Bay of Biscay on the heels of a low-pressure system. His long, faster, more direct track into Les Sables d’Olonne over the last 24 hours helped him hold his time to take the outright win.

Road to Gold

Over an ocean racing career spanning nearly 20 years Bestaven has tasted success in the Mini class – winning the Mini Transat in 2001 – and then in Class 40 where he twice won the Transat Jacques Vabre.

But he was one of the first to be forced out of the epic 2008 Vendée Globe when he was dismasted on the Bay of Biscay less than 24 hours into the race. He took his time to return to the Vendee Globe with a well-prepared programme which saw him put together a small, hand-picked team of specialists from all fields, including the America’s Cup.

Bestaven is also a successful entrepreneur who owns and runs Watt & Sea, a company which develops hydro generators fitted to most of the competing IMOCAs.

Although, in the 2015 VPLP-Verdier designed Maître Coq IV which was built as Safran, his boat is not one of the latest generation foilers, he was able to maintain high average speeds in the south and remained competitive in more moderate conditions.

Overall top three in the ninth Vendee Globe

1 – Maître Coq IV (Yannick Bestaven), finished 28/01/2021 03:19:46 UTC.
Elapsed time 80d 13h 59min 46s.
Time compensation : -10h 15min 00s,
Official corrected time : 80d 03h 44min 46s.
Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.60 knots.
Miles sailed 28 583.80 nm at an average of 14.78 knots

2 – APIVIA (Charlie Dalin) finished 27/01/2021 19:35:47 UTC.
Elapsed time 80d 06h 15min 47s
No time compensation.
Time difference to first 02h 31min 01s
Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.65 knots
Miles sailed 29 135.01 nm at an average of 15.13 knots

3 – Bureau Vallée 2 (Louis Burton) finished 27/01/2021 23:45:12 UTC
Elapsed time 80d10h 25min 12s,
No compensation.
Time difference to first 06h 40min 26s,
Time difference to APIVIA 04h 09min 25s
Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.62 knots
Miles sailed 28 649.99 nm at an average of 14.84 knots

Main image © Jean-Marie Liot/Alea