At 09:03 GMT this morning Thierry Dubois, at the helm of Solidaires, crossed the finish line on Leg 3 of the Around Alone

At 09:03 GMT this morning Thierry Dubois, at the helm of Solidaires, crossed the finish line on Leg 3 of the Around Alone.

Dubois is the most experienced sailor in the race. He has competed in two Vendee Globe campaigns (single-handed non-stop around the world), the first in 1996/97 and more recently in 2000/01. His voyage around the world in ’96 was cut short when he capsized in the Southern Ocean and had to be rescued. Not one to be put off by the experience, Dubois returned again with a new boat and was lying fourth when he was forced to make a technical stopover in New Zealand after electrical problems. He completed the race as an unofficial entrant. This is Thierry’s first Around Alone, an event he has sought to win for many years. While Bernard Stamm has outwitted him thus far, the race is far from over and Dubois’s day may yet come.

The passage from Cape Town to Tauranga has not been easy for Thierry. After taking an early lead cutting across the Agulhas Bank, Dubois watched his rival Stamm steam past him to the south and from then on it was a game of catch-up. When Bernard finished yesterday, Dubois revealed just how difficult this game of catch-up had been. His email reflects a frustrated sailor. Most of the frustration brought on by his overwhelming desire to win this race yet equipment failure and technical difficulties plagued an otherwise extraordinary effort. Here is Thierry’s log:

“Yet again victory has eluded me and I am getting so frustrated to always be just one step behind. So now I will let you know that since the Crozet Islands the reacher, its replacement and the brand new large gennaker have blown up and I have spent 4,000 miles sailing downwind with only the staysail and Solent. Also the magnetic South Pole, which caused my undoing in the last Vendée Globe, yet again screwed up my electronics despite assurances from the experts that it was all regulated, so my Northern route to the Tasman was not so voluntary. To top it all off, one of my rudders sheered off laterally, no collision, no explanation. I will be in a black mood when I arrive, worse than normal – so if you are at the arrival, just beware.”

In his New Year’s announcement Dubois indicated his intention to retire from professional ocean racing. However, there are still two more legs of the Around Alone to sail, and Thierry will keep pushing until the end.

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