After almost 65 days at sea, Innovation Explorer co-skippers Loïck Peyron and Skip Novak have arrived in Marseilles to claim second place in The Race

Innovation Explorer crossed the line at 1132 this morning, giving her an official time for her non-stop circumnavigation of 64 days, 22 hours, 32 minutes and 38 seconds. Although this is two days, 16 hours longer than Club Med took, the winner sailed a more direct route, covering 27,408 miles at 18.3kn on average compared with Innovation Explorer’s 28,764 miles at a slightly better average of 18.4kn.

She briefly wrestled the 24-hour distance record away from her nemesis with 629 miles in the day but Club Med struck back just under a week later with a mighty 655 miles to reclaim the record; that record still stands. Although Innovation Explorer never took the lead, she was at least close enough to make The Race look something like a race. Without her presence, Club Med would have suffered an embarrassing lead of several times zones.

Peyron, Novak and crew have yet to express any views on their extraordinary voyage nor has anyone got close ebough to the boat yet to see how hard-fought their second place was. But Club Med bears the scars of a voyage that could have ended in disaster. Padeyes were her biggest Achilles heel. These metal hoops built into the deck are designed to hold turning blocks, standing rigging and crew harnesses – at least six tore out of the deck and had to be replaced by spectra strops.

Like Team Adventure, Club Med’s carbon structure couldn’t take the upwind work. Heading north through the South Atlantic, the relentless headwinds raised big seas that slammed into Club Med again and again, loosening the bond between the hulls and the crossbeam. With their boat threatening to break up beneath them, Ed Danby was despatched to hunt for repair materials. Having robbed the boat of its cabin doors, savaged a few bulkheads and removing as many non-critical bolts from all over the boat as possible, repairs were effected.

Team Adventure is third at present, just a shade under 5,000 miles behind as of 1500 – hardly knife-edge stuff.
Click here for The Race website.