Michel Desjoyeaux doesn't care what anyone thinks of the unshaven look


I read Dee Caffari’s vision of Michel Desjoyeaux’s arrival in Les Sables d’Olonne today and smiled. ‘When he arrived?he would have looked cool. He would have had a shave and a wash and a change of clothes. He would not have come in looking like he’d spent 80 days at sea. He would have come in looking like he was going out for dinner.’

No way. That’s not Mich Desj’s style at all. He did arrive unshaven and salty. Red-eyed and weatherbeaten, he certainly did look like he’d spent 84 days hard at work and his boat was fully functional but far from squeaky clean.

It was obvious that man and machine had been at full tilt until the minute they crossed the line. There was no letting up for a wash and brush up and, if anything, it rather made the point that there is no room at the front to expend energy on keeping up appearances.

After the various interviews and press conferences, Mich Desj came to the media centre, still in his thermals and boots, drank champagne and greeted everyone he recognised. Then he did shower and change and headed to a Foncia party, where he joined friends, sponsors and journalists and danced until the wee hours.

Everyone else was a bit foggy this morning, but Mich Desj was up and bouncing around and soon back on board to give journalists a tour of his boat and open Foncia up to groups of schoolchildren.

The boat still hasn’t been cleaned up – we were allowed to see it exactly as it was when he stepped off yesterday: speckled with corrosion and burnt phosphor from the celebratory flares, a few puddles of water inside and bags of food and gear; a place of no real comforts – except for portraits of his team, snapshots of his family and a special pair of comfy corduroy slippers.