A sorry end to the 2nd placed solo skipper's valiant race


I’m doubly sorry to be wrong about Bilou managing to finish the Vendée Globe without a keel bulb. But to push on with a forecast of 10m seas – what sensible option was there, insured or not?

What a sad end to his race, and another statistic to add to merciless record of this event. At a stroke it increases Mich Desj’s winning margin to an incredible 1,600 miles or 5-6 days.

On the subject of Bilou, I had this comment from designer Allen Clarke. ‘Not sure how Bilou could have finished the Vendee with his missing bulb as he would no longer rate as an IMOCA 60’.

Not so, according to race director Denis Horeau. Mike Golding finished and was ranked without keel four years ago, and Denis says the rules have not been changed.

In any case, saying to someone who had sailed to the finish line that he was disqualified wouldn’t have been understood by the public and run counter to the spirit of the race, which has always been as much about the resourcefulness and seamanship required to complete the course as about performance.