Charlie Dalin was the first Vendee Globe skipper to cross the finish line, but it was Yannick Bestaven who took the crown. And disaster befell German skipper Boris Herrmann

Yannick Bestaven aboard Maître CoQ IV has won the 2020 Vendee Globe after one of the tightest finals of all time.

The French skipper crossed the finish line at 0319 on 28 January, behind Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton, but took the top podium position after his race time was amended to 80d 03h 44m 46s following his assistance in the rescue of fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier from the Southern Ocean in November.

Bestaven was awarded 10 hours 15 minutes time compensation by the Vendee Globe jury, while German skipper Boris Herrmann and French sailor Jean Le Cam were awarded 6 hours and 16 hours 15 minutes respectively.

Bestaven said his win was “a childhood dream”.

“It was not good to be the first in this Vendee Globe. I got caught, I also took enough hours from Charlie (Dalin), with the compensation time, it was a regatta on a planetary scale,’ he said.

“I’ve always believed in it, but where? I thought winning at Cape Horn, then I thought that if I finished 25th , that would be good. We prepared a lot for this Vendée Globe, I knew I had a reliable boat and I was able to shoot it.

“The weather conditions meant that it never started in front, it always regrouped, it was often tight. It’s historic,” he added.

Dalin aboard Apivia took second place with a time of 80d 06h 15m 47s.

Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee 2 came third with a race time of 80d 10h 25m 12s.

All the top three boats had foils.

The last 24 hours of the race was nail bitting, as the skippers pushed hard towards the final off Les Sables d’Olonne, the time compensations making every second count.

Boris Herrmann had been in third place last night before it was announced at 2000 that his IMOCA 60 Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco had hit a fishing boat, 90 miles from the finish.

Herrmann was uninjured but the boat’s starboard foil and the pulpit were damaged. The bowsprit had also broken off and one of the sails was ripped and in the water.

He had been sleeping at the time.

Continues below…

Herrmann, who at one stage looked like he might become the first non-French winner of the Vendee Globe, set up a jury rig and slowly sailing towards Les Sables d’Olonne, making speeds of around 7 knots.

He crossed the finish line at 1019 on 28 January and claimed a provisional fourth place with a race time of 80d 14h 59m 45s.

Herrmann’s final ranking was fifth after the 61-year-old veteran Jean Le Cam arrived nine hours later and claimed fourth place after his 16 hrs and 15 mins of time compensation was taken into account.

Vendee Globe rankings as of 1707 GMT on 3 February

Yannick Bestaven  – Race time: 80d 03h 44m 46s

Charlie Dalin  – Race time: 80d 06h 15m 47s

Louis Burton  – Race time: 80d 10h 25m 12s

Jean Le Cam –  Race time: 80d 13h 44m 55s

Boris Herrmann  – Race time: 80d 14h 59m 45s

Thomas Ruyant  – Race time: 80d 15h 22m 01s

Damien Seguin – Race time: 80d 21h 58m 20s

Giancarlo Pedote – Race time: 80d 22h 42m 20s

Benjamin Dutreux – Race time: 81d 19h 45m 20s

Maxime Sorel – Race time: 82d 14h 30m 15s

Armel Tripon – Race time: 84d 17h 07m 50s

Clarisse Cremer – Race time:87d 02h 24m 25s

The 2020 Vendee Globe saw 33 skippers cross the start line – the highest number of entrants in the race’s history.

An early casualty was French sailor Kevin Escoffier, who had to be rescued when his boat, PRB, broke in two in the Southern Ocean on 30 November.

IMOCO 60 PRB racing

PRB broke in two in 16ft waves within two minutes, 840 miles south west of Cape Town. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/PRB

The 40-year-old, who had been lying in third place, had just minutes to abandon ship in 16ft waves before PRB sank around 840 miles south-west of Cape Town.

Escoffier, who was wearing a survival suit, was left drifting in a liferaft and was eventually rescued by Jean Le Cam after 11 hours.

Three other Vendee skippers were involved in the search for Escoffier – Hermann, Bestaven and Sebestian Simon, who later retired.

British skipper Alex Thomson, who had hoped to better his second place in the 2016 race, was also forced to retire after a UFO hit HUGO BOSS, causing damage to the starboard rudder on 28 November 2020.

Alex Thomson on HUGO BOSS

Alex Thomson’s HUGO BOSS took 80,000 hours to design and build. Photo: Alex Thomson Racing

Sam Davies’ IMOCA 60 Initiatives Cœur was also hit by an unidentified object in the water a few days later, causing cracking to the longitudinal structure around the keelbox and knocking off the watertight seal of the keel ram, allowing water ingress.

After retiring from the race, she headed to Cape Town and made repairs, before continuing on her solo circumnavigation of the world.

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