British skipper Sam Goodchild (FOR THE PLANET) maintained his remarkably consistent form when he completed his first ever solo IMOCA race, the 3,500 nautical miles inaugural Retour à La Base from Martinique to Lorient in third place.

In taking his fourth consecutive third position, Goodchild wins the 2023 IMOCA Globe Series championship and is the first British skipper ever to do so. 

Goodchild crossed the finish line at 23:43:21hrs UTC this Saturday night (00:43:21 FR Sunday morning). His elapsed time is 9d 07h 43min 21s and he finishes 7hrs 39mins 33secs behind winner Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa) and 1h 49 min 50 secs behind second placed Jérémie Beyou (Charal)

Third place tonight on his first solo caps a dream 2023 season for the British racer who left his native Falmouth more than a dozen years ago to pursue his solo ocean racing dreams in France. After successes in Class40 and wining the Ocean Fifty Pro Tour representing Leyton, in February this year he moved to Thomas Ruyant’s TR Racing program when his campaign sailing in the colours of the Leyton Sailing Team joined forces to fast track Goodchild’s aspirations of winning the Vendée Globe. He took control of Ruyant’s 2019 Verdier design, formerly Linked Out. 

Goodchild sailed The Ocean Race on Holcim PRB before leaving to ramp up his own IMOCA programme which is supported by Ruyant and one of the most talented, accomplished technical shore teams in the French ocean racing arena. 

He immediately highlighted his potential with third on late July’s Fastnet Race, setting the tone for a third in the Defi Azimuth before the most recent third on the classic Transat Jacques Vabre, always racing with co-skipper, naval architect Antoine Koch. 

Now very much the complete ocean racer Goodchild has sailed a measured, confident race across solo back across the Atlantic, finding his solo IMOCA marks he showed his ability to sail both fast and smoothly, drawing on all of his experiences in offshore and ocean racing classes from the Beneteau Figaro 3 to the Ultim giant multihulls, and most recently in the Southern Ocean on The Ocean Race. 

Goodchild was actually the first to break the start line when the race started in light winds and beautiful Caribbean sunshine on Thursday 30th November. He held his own on the northwards climb before getting to the front of the 32 boat fleet as the leaders transitioned around the Azores high. When Richomme made what proved to be his winning move to the north, into stronger winds on the first low pressure, Goodchild chose to minimise the risk to himself and his boat. He closed to within 18 miles of Beyou in the final 36 hours but was unable to close the gap but is finally content with his solid third place. 

Source Retour à La Base

IMOCA season for Sam Goodchild skipper of For The Planet

Return to Base - 3rd
Transat Jacques Vabre - 3rd
Azimut-Lorient Agglomération Challenge - 3rd
Rolex Fastnet Race - 3rd
The Ocean Race - 2nd (with Holcim-PRB)
Guyader Bermuda 1000 Race - 3rd

IMOCA 2024 Championship podium

1 - Sam Goodchild (425 pts)
2 - Yoann Richomme (417 pts)
3 Jérémie Beyou (384 pts)

The rest of the rankings will depend on the sequence of arrivals in Lorient and the battle is on from the Azores to the Bay of Biscay!