‘I was always racing, but for moments I had become a fisherman’ says Aquitaine Innovation’s distinctly thinner skipper

Yves Parlier’s epic Vendée Globe came to an end at 1447GMT yesterday after 126 days, 23 hours and 36 minutes of vintage singlehanded racing. Moments after crossing the line the emaciated skipper hugged his boat in celebration. He then caught and tore into a bagette and some chocolate from one of the dozens of spectator boats that swarmed around the stump-rigged Aquitaine Innovations. Distinctly thinner than when he set out, Parlier seemed jubilant as he approached the dock and caught sight among the huge crowd of his two apprentices, Ellen MacArthur and Thomas Coville, down at the dock to take his lines.

His mother was first into his arms and a magnum of champagne second, the latter was soon dispensed over the waiting media. Eventually, Parlier summoned up a few words to attempt to describe his feelings after such a voyage: “On the boat, once I’d crossed the line, I was immediately tossed a whole baguette and a bar of chocolate, which I wolfed down. There are some tastes I am longing to rediscover, like fresh meat and cheese from the Pays Basque.

“For me the first Vendée Globe was a chance to achieve a youthful dream. I came back the third time to relive this adventure. So in this edition, I was always racing, but for moments I had become a fisherman. It was my priority to fish: I donned my Arcachon T-Shirt and I dedicated myself to the art of fishing.

“When no fish took the bait, I would scan the horizon, looking for something that wasn¹t from the water and which could satiate my hunger. So I discovered seaweed! The first time I saw an immense mass of seaweed I filled the entire cockpit!”

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