Well, the first two boats home in the Vendee Globe have arrived back.
Armel Le Cléac'h arrived back just after 3:30pm yesterday, winning the race. Armel has been second twice in this race, so it's heartening to see him win after getting so close before.
But for us Brits, the big Story is Alex Thomson arriving back just before 8am this morning. After his boat was damaged and lost a foil on the way down to the Southern Ocean, it was a supreme effort to stay in touch with the leader and at one point in the final days to get within 40nm.
In the end it wasn't to be. But hey, he's a hero for getting to second.
Considering his boat, Hugo Boss almost didn't make it to the start line and the damage during the race. We all know he'd have won if he wasn't crippled on port tack.
I hope he goes again in 4 years time, although I suspect the advantage he had this year will be a lot less by then. I'm pretty sure after the outstanding performance shown by foiling monohulls in this Vendee, that all the boats in 4 years time will have foils. 3-4 years worth of development will make any performance advantage pretty small. I mean, just look at the amount of foil development in the past 5 years, first in multihulls and now in monohulls. God knows where they'll be in 4 years. I mean, a few foiling monohulls entered the Transat Jaques Vabre in 2015 and a number of them had failures of the foil and or the foil to hull joint. A year later there was none of the drama, apart from Hugo Boss being dismasted and damaged (Herculean effort getting HB back up together for the Vendee guys by the way.)
Just over 12 months after the issues and failures in 2015, a number of foiling boats have just sailed round the world.
The amount of effort to get a boat built, get the sponsors and actually sail the thing around the world is staggering. It's huge and fair play to The Hugo Boss team for doing so well.
<imagines stirring background music..>
Just like us Skint Sailors: finding a boat at the right price and getting in a seaworty state is an effort still worthy of some acknowledgement. It's not racing round the world single handed, but it's a worthy challenge that hundreds of us step up to. All you Skint Sailors out there, give yourselves a pat on the back for doing what you are doing, having the stamina to keep moving forward, at whatever pace you can afford, with little money and little reward. Those of you that don't yet have a seaworthy boat, keep on in there, you will get to your goal. Be positive!
Skint Sailors the world over celebrate! You are champions in your own right.
<okay, stop the music now, that's just silly :-) >