French skipper Charlie Dalin has taken line honours as the first boat home in the Vendee Globe tonight. His bright yellow Apivia IMOCA 60 crossed the finish line in blustery winds and bumpy seas of Les Sables D’Olonne, France at five minutes after eight thirty PM after 80 days, six hours, and 15 minutes of racing since setting off from the French port on November 8, 2020.
Later tonight Dalin’s countryman Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee is expected to be the second skipper to finish the 24,000 11-week solo nonstop around the world race.
Although first home Dalin knew he was unlikely to lift the Vendee Globe trophy given the time allowances awarded to two of his rivals – third placed Boris Herrmann on Seaexplorer Yacht Club de Monaco (six hours) and fifth placed Yannick Bestaven on Maitre Coq IV (10 hours 15 minutes).
However Herrmann’s victory chances appear to have been extinguished after the German skipper reported colliding with a fishing boat around 90 nautical miles (nm) from Les Sables D’Olonne. Herrmann was unharmed in the incident but reported damage to a foil on his boat and is continuing his path towards the finish but at reduced speed.
It will have been a devastating blow for Herrmann who stood a chance of becoming the first non-French winner of the Vendee Globe.
This opens the door even wider for Bestaven who at 2100 UTC tonight had 124 nm to go and was sailing almost directly at the finish line at 18 knots.