Marc Guillemot expected to finish before midnight

Marc Guillemot (Safran) was expected to finish his epic Vendée Globe last night to collect a well deserved third place.

He has battled through disappointment and disaster. He stood by the injured Yann Elies in the Southern Ocean until the Generali skipper was evacuated by the Royal Australian Navy.

He pit-stopped twice – in the Auckland Islands and the Falklands Islands – to try and repair his damaged mainsail track. Up the coast of Brasil he dodged fishing nets, local shipping traffic and oil platforms and was just 20 miles off the coast as he sought better breeze while dueling with Sam Davies.

Suddenly on 9th February he told of a keel problem which had been worrying him and later that day Safran’s keel dropped out of the boat. Since then the skipper from La Trinité has been on edge, relying only on water ballast and careful sail control to keep Safran upright over the last 1000 miles.

Safran is was less than 70 miles from the finish line this afternoon, making 8.4 knots and was expected to finish before midnight.

Battling for a place on the podium and focusing on the finishing line in this sixth Vendée Globe, Guillemot’s typical generosity is underlined by his finish plans. The skipper of Safran has invited all those forced out of the race, who were unable to finish aboard their own boats to be on board in the channel.

Jean Le Cam, Roland Jourdain and Kito de Pavant will be aboard the grey and orange monohull as Guillemot makes his way into the harbour. They will share with Guillemot the pleasure of arriving in Les Sables d’Olonne and those magical moments.

Yann Eliès will also be taking part in the celebration aboard a RIB alongside Safran, making, as Guillemot shares his enjoyment widely.

Brian Thompson should secure his fifth place in the early hours of Monday morning on Bahrain Team Pindar. Thompson has been pushed hard to the finish by Dee Caffari (Aviva). The pair have been close since the South Atlantic but last night as they battled to the line Caffari was just 33 miles behind her compatriot and is due to finish during this morning.