Le Cléac'h Wins Vendée Globe

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Amel Le Cléac'h, 39, from Brittany, France, crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe Race in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, earlier today at 1537hrs UTC after 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds at sea aboard his 60ft racing yacht Banque Populaire VIII.

Le Cléac'h’s time sets a new record for the race, beating the previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition by 3 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes.

Le Cléac'h, the runner-up in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions of the Vendée Globe, completed the 24,499-nautical-mile course at an average speed of 13.77 knots, which began on November 6 last year when 29 boats set out from Les Sables d'Olonne on a sunny day with a perfect sailing breeze.

[Second-placed Alex Thomson, who has been dogging Le Cléac'h since around the Cape of Good Hope despite having lost one of his two daggerboard following a collision with an unidentified floating object, is expected to cross the finish line on his boat Hugo Boss around 12 hours behind Le Cléac'h.

“My feeling is that this is a dream come true,” Le Cleac’h said after crossing the finish line. “I hoped to win this race 10 years ago but I finished second. Today is a perfect day. My team has been amazing they're the dream team, and this is their day too. I'm very happy for Alex, it's a great second place. It has been very difficult with him behind me, he gave me a really hard time in this Vendee Globe.”

For more on the race, including coverage of Alex Thomson’s finish, go to http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/live.

January 2017

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