British solo skipper Pip Hare crossed the 2020 Vendée Globe finish line at just before 0100 on 12 February, fulfilling her long held dream

Pip Hare has finished the 2020 Vendée Globe, crossing the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne with a race time of 95d 11h 37m 30s.

The 47-year-old has come 19th in the solo round the world yacht race, sailing on the 21-year-old IMOCA 60 Medallia.

She is only the eighth woman to have completed the Vendée Globe.

Greeted by Jean Le Cam at the finish

Legendary skipper Jean Le Cam, who came fourth in the race, was one of the first to congratulate Pip on her finish. Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/Alea

Throughout the race, Hare shared every high and low, winning her legions of fans with her honest and enthusiastic race reports; her passion for competing in the race, a long held dream, was infectious.

The last 24 hours saw her continue to push hard, as she made ground on Alan Roura and Stéphane Le Diraison, despite gear failure.

‘The last six hours were the most stressful of the whole race. I was doing pretty well, really catching the boys up and then the sea state started to get quite slammy and my keel lines have broken three times and literally I just went over a wave, bang, and I knew straight away it was the keel lines,’ explained Hare.

‘And I have run out of spare keel lines. And so I had to get down inside the boat to the keel and work a solution with the old lines. But there were fishing boats everywhere and then I came up on deck and the starboard side of the pulpit which had got bent, that broke off.’

A skipper holding flares to celebrate finishing the Vendee Globe

A dream fulfilled for Pip Hare, who says she will be back for the 2024 race. Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/Alea

Hare narrowly missed out on beating Dame Ellen MacArthur’s record for the fastest woman to sail solo around the world in a monohull, which had stood at 94 days 4 hours.

This was broken last week by Clarisse Cremer, who was the first woman home in the 2020 Vendée Globe with a race time of 87d 02h 24m 25s.

But Hare was always realistic about her Vendée Globe campaign.

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In an interview with Yachting Monthly before she left, Hare was honest about the challenges of sailing such an old boat.

Medallia has no outside protection. She had to go to the mast every time to reef, and to tack her canting keel, she had to use a block and tackle taken to an electric winch.

But, she still loved sailing the yacht.

‘You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get some woe-is-me creeping in there but I honestly, hand on heart, can say I can never remember not wanting to be out on the water.

‘Even when it’s really bad it’s only a moment in time.’


Pip started sailing Medallia in 2018 and had to finish three qualifying races in 2019 to win her Vendée place. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Hare faced plenty of challenges during her Vendée – the loss of a hydro generator, a broken wind sensor, leaving her with no reliable wind information and a cracked port rudder stock, which she replaced.

She overcame all of these issues with her typical practical approach to problems; and her happiness at being back racing warmed the hearts of all who watched.

Speaking after crossing the finish line, Hare said: ‘I am really, really happy. I feel just a little bit that it would have been amazing to have been ahead of a foiling boat, it was there definitely. But I am happy. I made mistakes but I have learned from them and the main thing is I could see where I made the mistakes and where I can improve, where I can do better. I can’t believe the race I have had. I never thought it would be like this. I never thought I would be with foiling boats. It has been incredible.’

She said her high points of the race were when she was pushing the boat hard.

Pip Hare smiling after replacing her port rudder stock during the Vendee globe

Pip’s race looked like it was over when her port rudder stock cracked. But with her typical can do attitude, she replaced it, and shared the moment with her fans. Credit: Pip Hare Ocean Racing

‘There were times like my first 400 mile day and then when I looked at the rankings and I saw that I was the fastest boat of the fleet, it was days like that when I got such a buzz out of doing things like that. And just being at sea is where I love it, It is where I belong,’ she said.

Hare said she had pushed Medallia ‘hard but you know it is the right boat for me.’

‘It is a bit clunky and so lot of extra effort to sail, but it is simple which meant I could keep on top of looking after it and I could focus more on the big things, the navigation which is where I am with my sailing. And so I can tell you I do not want to sail a boat that you have to walk four times to the mast back and forth to reef. And I want a roof. And I want a little button that you press to move the keel,’ she added.

Pip lying on her back with a selfie stick onboard Medallia during the 2020 Vendee Globe

Her passion for taking part in the race was shared via her regular video updates which won her legions of fans. Credit: Pip Hare

Hare has also announced that she plans to be back for the 2024 race:

‘2024 I am coming back. Now I have seen it, now I know what to expect….now I know where I can improve I have to be back, and also it is just an incredible race. It stretches you so much as a person, why would you not want to come and do it again?’ she added.

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