Almost all the skippers are around Cape Horn as retirement propels Sam Davies into third

Sailing more than 28,303 miles, averaging around 13.2 knots, French solo skipper Michel Desjoyeaux has shattered the Vendée Globe race record today by 3 days 7 hours and 39 seconds on his way to becoming the first skipper ever to win the solo non stop around the world race twice.

After winning the race in 2000-1 on PRB, eclipsing the young emerging British skipper Ellen MacArthur by 1 day 28 minutes, Desjoyeaux joined the 30 strong field for this race, the biggest entry ever for a round the world race in sailing history, as one of the clear favourites.

After a successful odyssey into big racing multihulls, Desjoyeaux returned to monohulls in 2007 when he won the highly competitive Solitaire du Figaro, going on to win the Transat Vabre in late 2007 on his return to the IMOCA Open 60 class in which the Vendée Globe

Desjoyeaux crossed the finish on Sunday 1st February at 15:11.08 GMT , after 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes of racing. Foncia completed the race in twenty knots of breeze under sunny skies, greeted by a massive armada of spectator boats before being warmly welcomed by huge crowds who gathered along the waterfront and harbour area of Les Sables d’Olonne, where the race departed at 1202 GMT November 9th 2008.

Jourdain retires
After 84 days of sailing, second-placed French Vendee Globe skipper, Roland Jourdain took the decision this morning to bring his Vendée Globe to an end and stop racing at the Azores.

After losing part of his keel last Thursday, the skipper of Veolia Environnement has done his utmost to ensure the stability of his boat and his own safety in some difficult sea conditions. He is currently continuing towards Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel, some 50 miles away, which he is due to reach this afternoon. Two members of his shore team will help him over the final miles.

“Once the decision was taken, that was it. I would have found it more difficult to come to this decision if the forecasts had indicated light winds, but it’s the exact opposite. For 3rd February, they are talking about 50-knot winds with a ten metre swell. I’ve been lucky to have come this far without capsizing, particularly in yesterday’s storm, so I’m not going to push my luck. I have gambled enough. It’s no use now and it would be unreasonable to continue. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it would be even harder, if 24 hours after passing a port, where I could have stopped, I capsized and had to abandon the boat.”

Sam Davies into third
British skipper, Sam Davies (Roxy) commented on Michel Desjoyeaux’s win from her position west of the Cape Verde Islands around 1,200NM from the finish:

“Every time I have been asked who my sailing hero is, I answered Mich (as everybody calls him) Desjoyeaux. I now think that many more people will understand why.

He was always my favourite to win the race so I felt sad for him three months ago when straight away after the start he had to turn back for repairs. But I always knew that it wouldn’t be enough to stop ‘Mich the machine’!

Roxy and I have a special connection with him because my old lady is no other than the boat he won the race in for the first time eight years ago. Mich and I have been communicating by email through the race and it has been very important for me. In hard times, a little message from his Foncia would come to Roxy and encourage me and give me motivation. He has inspired me and I always try my best in his wake.

Mich has just showed again what the sailing world already knew, he is one of the world’s best sailors of all time.”