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Monday, July 26, 2021

Poole Sailor Battles to Finish Line of the Vendée Globe

After 95 days alone at sea, Poole-based professional sailor Pip Hare has completed her marathon race across the globe. The 47-year-old yachtswoman arrived in her boat, Medallia, in Les Sables d’Olonne, France on 12th February…

Pip Hare crossed the finish line to take an excellent 19th place out of the 33 sailors who entered this year’s Vendée GlobeThe non-stop solo sailing race around the globe is considered one of the world’s toughest sporting challenges.

Sailing coach, yachtswoman, and journalist Pip was inspired to enter the race by the fact that more men have walked on the moon than women have completed the Vendée Globe.

Having fulfilled her lifelong dream, she becomes the eighth woman to finish the Vendée Globe and the first British skipper to cross the finish line of this year’s race.

RELENTLESS WEATHR OBSTRUCTED THE JOURNEY

Ultimately finishing just a day later than Dame Ellen MacArthur’s famous 94-day run from 2001, Pip spent the final stretch of her voyage struggling against brutal Atlantic weather.

Writing on her blog, she described the weather as “relentless”.

“We’ve had squall after squall, multiple wind shifts, waves coming from every direction,” she said. “It’s impossible to stand or move around without holding onto something. Going forward in the dark to reef the mainsail, I am just crawling on hands and knees.”

The harsh Atlantic weather took its toll not only on Pip but on Medallia as well. The boat’s fractional gennaker halyard broke on Tuesday during an overnight squall. The accident severely hampered her captain’s progress during the final stretch of the race.

For Pip, the frustration of these setbacks were magnified when she was close to home. “I am looking forward to walking on a surface that does not move,” she joked in a blog post. “These conditions are not fun, but they are part of the race. I have not sailed 97% of the way around the world to be broken now.”

AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY AROUND THE GLOBE

The Vendée Globe is not the first time Pip Hare has endured a difficult finish to a race. In 2017, her team came in third in the Three Peaks Yacht Race. Just six miles from the finish line Hare broke her ankle that time.

The Vendée Globe, however, has presented unique challenges throughout its gruelling 24,000-mile course. Founded in 1989 by Philippe Jeantot, the race takes place every four years. Competitors must sail alone and continuously around the world, through some of the most dangerous and remote seas on earth.

It is a voyage famous for being risky and unpredictable. In the average Vendée Globe race, only around 55% of entrants cross the finish line. This year’s race alone has seen eight retirements. During her voyage, Pip Hare herself has experience setbacks and unpredicted events. She was stung in the back by a Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish and had to replace Medallia’s rudder in the massive swells of the Southern Ocean.

She has documented her journey through regular blogs and videos. In the process she has gained some famous fans. Hollywood star Russell Crowe surprised Pip by sending her a card on her 47th birthday. Along with the birthday wishes, he urged her to keep going. The actor advised her to focus on ‘the amazing feeling you’re going to have when you can say you’ve claimed the globe’. Pip admitted that, after being on her own for 87 days, the message ‘made her week’.

LATE DRAMA AS BESTAVEN CLAIMS VICTORY

Pip Hare heads towards the finish line as the Vendée Globe recovers from the closest and most complex finish in its 42-year history. The final day of the race dawned with five sailors still in contention. French sailor Charlie Dalin narrowly led close rivals Boris Herrmann and Yannick Bestaven.

Both Herrmann and Bestaven had been awarded time advantages. Earlier in the race, the sailors turned back to assist fellow Kevin Escoffier, whose boat sank in the Atlantic on 20th November. Despite Dalin being the first sailor to cross the finish line, Herrmann seemed on course to become the first non-French winner of the Vendée Globe thanks to his ten-hour time advantage. However, Herrmann’s Sea-explorer collided with a fishing vessel just 90 miles from Les Sables d’Olonne. It allowed Yannick Bestaven to overtake him and claim the ultimate victory.

Pip Hare described the finish as “intense drama” in a blog post. She congratulated all three sailors for an “incredible race fought so closely through so many thousands of miles.”

For the Poole-based sailor, the frantic finish was a reminder that even this close to home, in a race as wild and unpredictable as the Vendée Globe, “anything could still happen.”

For more on Pip Hare, check out her website. Click here for more local Sport stories. Also, don’t forget to follow HQB News on our socials. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube

Tom Carter
Tom is an Oxford university graduate and budding journalist from Southampton. He studied history as an undergraduate at Wadham College. Music and culture, politics, local news and history are his among his favourite subjects to write about. And when not writing, he spends time playing guitar, reading, and walking his two dogs.

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