Geneva native Alan Roura has become the youngest sailor to complete the Vendée Globe race, sailing all alone without stopping or any assistance for almost 106 days at sea. He came in 12th place.
The 23-year-old, who set out on November 6 last year from Les Sables d’Olonne, near Nantes on France’s western coast, crossed the finish line at 09:12 on Monday morning after 105 days, 20 hours, 10 minutes and 30 seconds of arduous racing.
“Twelfth. It's funny because basically I found a racer inside of me. I am more than proud of this position,” Roura said.
The youngest of the 29 competitors, Roura arrived 31 days after race winner Armel Le Cléac’h of France, who set a course record of a little over 74 days. Roura’s second-hand boat “La Fabrique” was originally built to compete in the Vendée Globe between 1997 and 2000.
“With this boat, which is now 17 years old, I don’t think we could realistically have expected to do much better. To finish as first of the 'older generation' boats, that just seems a bit nuts to me, a bit unreal. But really it feels like a great victory,” he said.
Roura celebrated his crossing of the Equator in style.
Roura suffered some setbacks on his over 45,063-kilometre (28,000-mile) epic journey. They included loss of broadband connection near the coast of Brazil, problems with his starboard rudder including a collision with an unidentified object, and flooding that affected his food provisions and necessitated rationing. He also lost his razor, which forced him to sport a thick beard on his way back.
The young sailor is only the second Swiss to complete the Vendée Globe race. His compatriot Dominique Wavre has finished the race three times in the past, placing fifth in 2001.