Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), in winning the Vendee Globe by more than five days from Armel Le Cléac´h (Brit Air), who is due to finish today, reminded me of a very different yacht race finish.
In the 1982 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by just seven seconds, to win the battle for line honours. If you’re not familiar with it, the Sydney-Hobart is a 630 nm race.
The Race Directors of the Vendee Globe calculated the total distance this year, using great circle and taking in the marks of the course, as 24,840 nm. But when Desjoyeaux finished he had sailed 28,303 nm at an average speed of 14 knots. The average came down to 12.30 knots when calculated for the Race Directors’ distance.
For Brit Air to have finished as close to Foncia as Apollo did to Condor, the margin would have been only 4.5 to 5.25 minutes. That would have been truly exciting yacht racing!