Yesterday (Tuesday 8 February) saw Dominique Wavre finish fourth in the Vendée Globe

Swiss skipper Dominique Wavre was the first to arrive in the chilly early hours of the morning on Temenos to take a deserved fourth. He was followed around six hours later by the youngest skipper of the fleet, Sébastien Josse on VMI.

Arriving in Les Sables d’Olonne at 0515 GMT Tuesday 8 February 2005, the 60 foot monohull crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe 2004. Wavre covered the 23,680 miles in 92 days 17 hours and 13 minutes and 20 seconds at an average speed of 10.64 knots.

By lunch time French skipper Sébastien Josse finished at 1204 GMT under clear blue skies. VMI’s race time was 93 days 00 hours and 02 minutes and 10 seconds at an average speed of 10.61 knots.

Dominique Wavre spoke of his race upon arrival: “For this Vendée Globe my goal was to fight it out in the leading pack so I was really disappointed with my sailing the first week. I had problems with my foresails off Madeira during the first week. After that I lost a fair number of miles on the leaders in the Doldrums and then again in the Saint Helena High. Later on I managed to make up some ground and there were five or six of us grouped together in the Indian Ocean. It really felt good and together with the rough weather it really was a total pleasure to be on the water.”

“Four years ago we didn’t have any real storms but this time around there were three occasions when you could honestly say that the sea conditions were dangerous. Anything could have gone wrong and we were really on a knife edge. Making high speed in very rough weather – Temenos was just fantastic. I was a bit stressed but it calmed me down to see how well the boat was handling it. She’s a great boat.”

But will he go again? Wavre replied: “I have no idea whether I’ll do the Vendée Globe in four years time or not. Who knows what they are going to do in four years time? These projects really depend on your sponsors.”

About six hours later the youngest skipper of the fleet passed the finish line under bright skies and barely a whisper of wind. It was an emotional Sébastien Josse (VMI) addressed a huge crowd of local supporters, friends and family, minutes after stepping onto dry land for the first time in three months.

The French skipper said: “The memory I’ll hold onto about this race is that I’m happy to have done it. Unless you’ve done this race you can’t imagine what it’s like. I feel very emotional. It’s difficult to explain. Lots of things go through your head. It’s a pleasure and a joy to finish. It doesn’t bother me at all to have been on my own for three months – in fact I could go off again tomorrow and I certainly hope to be able to do the Vendée Globe 2008.

“Before hitting the growler my motivation was the competition, afterwards I had to change my objectives and just wanted to finish. I know I could have kept up the rhythm of pure regatta racing. My entry into the Indian Ocean was pretty difficult as it felt much quicker than on other boats. You quickly have to adapt to that. After the growler I felt stressed all the way to Cape Horn with my damaged rudder but I think I handled the situation well. It was also difficult to have to lose Bilou (Roland Jourdain – retired with keel problems). The positive thing about my race is to be here in Les Sables d’Olonne today! We knew from the start that given the conditions, it wasn’t the time for going slow.”

“Some would say it was the youngsters like Alex (Thomson) and I that were going to go off like that but it was the ‘old hands’ that set the pace and we simply followed. You knew if you broached that you’d gone too far that’s all.”

There are now eight competitors still out racing. British skipper Conrad Humphreys (Hellomoto) has overtaken Joe Seeton in Arcelor Dunkerque by 27.3 miles. Humphreys is 1960.5 miles from the finish averaging 10.6 knots at 1000 GMT today (Wednesday 9 February), but is still 837.5 miles behind Jean-Pierre Dick in Virbac-Paprec.