Monday, 23 February 2009
Arnaud Boissières crosses the finishing line off Les Sables d'Olonne. Image copyright Pierrick Contin/DPPI/Vendée Globe.
Arnaud Boissières pulls some pranks on the finishing line off Les Sables d'Olonne. Image copyright Pierrick Contin/DPPI/Vendée Globe.
by Vendée Globe media
It was at 14h35'50" GMT today (Sunday 22nd February) that Arnaud Boissières, the skipper of Akena Vérandas, crossed the finish line of the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe in seventh place after 105 days 02 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds of racing averaging 11.04 knots on the water covering 27,841 miles. He sailed the 24,840 theoretical miles at an average speed of 9.85 knots.
A teenage dream came true today. At the age of seventeen, he was present with his father at the start of the first Vendée Globe in 1989. It was a trip to Les Sables d¹Olonne to see the first Vendée Globe heroes and to forget for a while the leukaemia, which had been discovered six months before. After two and a half years of chemotherapy, Arnaud Boissières decided to earn his living from his passion for the sea. Cali raced in the 1999 Mini Transat when terrible conditions decimated the fleet. His boat was dismasted, but he completed the race after a pit stop in France.
Arnaud Boissières approaching the finishing line off Les Sables d'Olonne. Image copyright Pierrick Contin/DPPI/Vendée Globe.
He raced twice subsequently, finishing third in 2001. He also worked as a preparateur for Yves Parlier and Catherine Chabaud and sailed with Olivier de Kersauson on his Oryx round the world race attempt. Today, twenty years after the first Vendée Globe, his life has come full circle back to Les Sables d¹Olonne, where today he was welcomed by tens of thousands of spectators, as was the case for the six competitors, who finished before him.
In this particularly tough Vendée Globe, making it back to Les Sables d¹Olonne was already quite an achievement. Cali, as Arnaud is nicknamed, could never have imagined finishing seventh, when he set out. The icing on the cake after a round the world voyage that he managed perfectly on his boat launched back in 1998. A Finot-Conq design with a fixed keel that finished sixth and fifth in the hands of Thomas Coville in 2001 and Sébastien Josse in 2005. Apart from a ripped solent, a broken wind generator and a satellite dome ripped off in the Pacific, he did not suffer any major damage, in spite of going through some severe storms, including one at Cape Horn, which he rounded for the first time on 16th January.
Arnaud Boissières comes into the channel of Les Sables d'Olonne. Image copyright Pierrick Contin/DPPI/Vendée Globe.
After a long struggle with Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, Arnaud Boissières got left behind in the climb back up the Atlantic, where he was handicapped by his torn solent. After a final North Atlantic low on 6th February, Cali completed his Vendée Globe in light airs in the Bay of Biscay. A gentle finish, mirroring the character of the skipper, whose quiet determination ensured that the project was smoothly run from the beginning to the end.
Crossed the Equator: 13 days 22h38 (17th place)
Passed the Cape of Good Hope: 28 days 21h25 (17th place)
Passed Cape Leeuwin : 42 days 13h08 (13th place)
Rounded Cape Horn: 67 days 11h28 (8th place)
Crossed the Equator: 86 days 6h41 (7th place)
Finish in Les Sables : 105 days 2h 33 (7th place)
Meanwhile back in the fleet...
Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water tacked back to the NE last night at around 1730hrs is now about 300 miles to the NWW of Cape Finisterre, now with 609 miles to the finish this morning at 0330hrs GMT. He has had a decent night making 8-9 knots and still posting a solid VMG in excess of seven knots. He still has moderate N’ly breezes which will veer a little for him.
Another consistent night for Rich Wilson as he works the narrow band of breeze between two high pressure systems. The Great American III has been making 8.7 to 8.9 knots this morning and covered over 150 miles in the last 24 hours.
Raphael Dinelli crossed the Equator last night at 1945hrs GMT back into the Northern Hemisphere on Fondation Océan Vital and this morning is already 65 miles north of the line and making 8-9 knots and is well into the NE’ly trade winds.
And Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) is 150 miles off the NE corner of Brasil now, 460 miles behind Dinelli and will be getting towards the fringes of the Doldrums this morning.