Gabart wins Vendee Globe in record time
Frenchman Francois Gabart won the seventh Vendee Globe round-the-world race on Sunday after a two-and-a-half month epic journey which saw him set a new record for the course.
- Published: 27/01/2013 at 09:44 PM
- Newspaper section: news
French Skipper Francois Gabart competes on his monohull during the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe in Les Sables d'Olonne, western France, on November 10, 2012. Gabart won the round-the-world race, setting a new record for the course.
Gabart, at 29 the youngest skipper in the race, sailed back into the port at Les Sables d'Olonne in western France in mid-afternoon to a rousing welcome home from thousands of spectators gathered along the shoreline.
In all, he covered 24,000 nautical miles (44,450 kilometres) in just over 78 days, smashing the previous record of 84 days 3 hours and 9 minutes set by another Frenchman, Michel Desjoyeaux, the last time the race was held in 2009.
"I am happy and contented because until you cross the finish line you never know what can happen," Gabart said.
"I began to harbour thoughts of winning when we were in the Indian Ocean. I told myself it was possible.
"But you could not afford to take a moment off. You need a lot of energy, a lot of hard work and willingness to do well."
His compatriot Armel Le Cleac'h took second place, coming in several hours after Gabart had crossed the line. Le Cleac'h had fought out a thrilling duel with the winner for a large part of the race.
In third place was Welshman Alex Thomson and he looked sure to be the first non-Frenchman to come home on Tuesday evening.
Of the 20 boats that set off on November 10, only 12 remained on Sunday after a course that rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Australia, New Zealand and Cape Horn before navigating back up the Atlantic Ocean to France.
The win for Gabart means that French sailors have won every Vendee Globe since the first edition in 1989/90 when Titouan Lamazou was the victor. Gabart though at 29 is the youngest winner in what was his first participation.
"It does not get any more emotional than this," he said.
"Four years ago I experienced it as a spectator, but all the same I was surprised by the extent of the welcome home.
"I knew then I could win it one day, but I did not think it would be so soon as four years later."
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency