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Gabart & Le Cléac’h Finish Vendée

François Gabart became the fastest solo monohull circumnavigator when he crossed the line in under 80 days.

© Jean Marie Liot / DPPI

Vendée Globe rookie François Gabart sailed MACIF across the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday after just 78d, 2h, 16m, setting a new solo monohull circumnavigation record. At 29, he’s also the youngest winner of one of the most difficult races on the planet.

Just three hours later, Vendée vet Armel le Cléac’h followed his nemesis across the line aboard Banque Populaire, and received a hero’s welcome. "There is no great winner without a great runner-up," fellow racer Jean Le Cam said, and his statement was proven true as there is no doubt Gabart couldn’t let up for a moment for fear ‘The Jackal’ would pounce. 

Armel le Cléac’h followed Gabart by just a little over three hours.

© Vincent Curutchet / DPPI

Meanwhile, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) has taken over third place from Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) after shadowing the latter during heavy weather the pair experienced. With Dick comfortably sailing his now-keel-less boat slowly toward the finish, Thomson has put the pedal to the metal.

We’ll have a full report of the race in the February issue of Latitude 38, due out on Friday, but in the meantime, you can stay up-to-date at

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