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Exhaustion and euphoria for Vendée Globe challenger

Wavre celebrates after crossing the finishing line at Sables d'Olonne

(Keystone)

Wavre was speaking after he completed one of the toughest yacht races in the world, taking fifth place in the Vendée Globe round-the-world challenge after 105 days alone on the high seas.

Wavre came in 12 days behind French winner Michel Desjoyeaux, who was one of three sailors to smash the 100-day barrier.

At the end of an incredibly fast race, Wavre himself finished the 46,000-kilometre course in a time 17 hours faster than the record set by France's Christophe Auguin at the end of the last Vendée Globe race in 1997.

Greeted by more than 1,000 spectators at the French port of Sables d'Olonne, despite arriving in darkness, Wavre said that his arrival had been the best moment of all.

"I'm happy that I've done it," he added, "and I'm also delighted with my performance."

The 47-year-old Genevan said that the last 10 days of the race had been the toughest with bad wind conditions delaying his arrival by around five days.

The Vendée Globe's fearsome reputation stems from the competition rules which prevent participants from stepping onto dry land and receiving any outside help or medical assistance.

swissinfo with agencies


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