I’ve been avidly following the Vendee Globe since the start of the race, and have been itching to get down to Les Sables d’Olonne especially now I’m so close, in Lorient.
Alex Thomson was due to finish early Wednesday evening and I’d made vague plans to head down after a day of working on the boat.
I got home and checked on the tracking – ETA 6AM!
I made my preparations (mostly preparing my music) and hit the road just before midnight. After a slight detour around the unknown due to a slight miscommunication from my sat nav. Having thought I had maps down to La Rochelle – in reality it stopped working from Nantes and kindly suggested that whichever way I went was the right way (not useful)!
I arrived in Sables D’Olonne just gone 3am, parked my car and wondered towards the race village to find out what was going on.
ETA now 7AM! I kindly got taken into the Press Office and met Christophe Le Godec who looked after me until it was time for Alex’s arrival at now 8AM.
I ran down to the end of the pier in Les Sables and caught the first glimpses of Alex’s arrival storming towards the canel – a real tearjerker. The atmosphere was amazing with thousands of people lined up on the sea walls – all here to watch Alex finish his epic journey around the world. People cheering, foghorns blowing, support and press boats everywhere and a helicopter flying around above, it was absolutely buzzing with excitement.
Watch a video shortly after the finish here!
Having seen Alex sail into the canal and followed him down most the way I raced back to the race village to get to the pontoon to see him moor up. Feeling very privileged to be standing next to Alex’s family, friends, support crew and press as he arrived. It was great to share the moment with him and be part of the celebration and to see first hand the look on his face – pure happiness and joy!!
A great achievement and thoroughly deserved.
It has certainly got me thinking about – what’s next for me? Could I be lucky enough to be sailing down that same Canal in 8 years time, having just sailed around the world? One step at a time Nikki! Lets concentrate on the Mini for now, let’s tick off the Atlantic first!!!