After leading the 28 boat IMOCA fleet since last Monday morning, and today holding a margin of over 300 miles over second place, French skipper Charlie Dalin tonight completed an emphatic victory on the 3200 nautical miles New York Vendee Les Sables d’Olonne solo race across the North Atlantic.


Finish time: 21:44:30 (UTC)
Race time: 10d 03h 44min 30s 
Distance covered: 3 169.88 nautical miles
Average speed (on the great circle route): 13.01 knots

© Jean-Louis Carli / Alea

His first reaction

"I’m really happy, we won and that’s what counts! It was a great crossing, it feels good to win! It was the last rehearsal before the Vendée Globe, and so an important race to show the competition that I am here, I am present. I used the lessons from the outward race to New York particularly in my sleep and self management. I found my level aboard this great boat in all conditions. upwind and downwind.. It was really a great race, I had a lot of fun! It all happened three days after the start with this trough to cross and then this front. I managed to pass while most were still caught by this system. I managed to pass it and not get blocked or sucked back into it, the wind shifted, I was on the right side... It didn't matter much. After that, I continued to sail with a high intensity to stay in what is a Vendée Globe rhythm over the long term by managing my sleep and my sail changes. And then I attacked until the end! I was still hitting 30 knots a few hours from the finish. The idea was really not to let up from start to finish and that’s what I did. I sailed with my foot flat on the floor and there is no structural problems, which is good."

© Olivier Blanchet / Alea

His race

The skipper of the Verdier designed IMOCA Macif Santé Prevoyance broke the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne on the French Atlantic coast, off the Vendée region, at 23:44:30hrs local time France (21:44:30hrs UTC) on a beautiful mellow early summer night. His elapsed time for the course is  10d 03h 44min 30s since leaving the start line – set some 90 miles offshore of New York – on Wednesday 29th May. 

Between last Sunday and Monday Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer) and winner Dalin were the only two solo skippers to break through a problematic low pressure trough. As soon as they emerged into the brisk southerly breezes on the other side they built a lead which simply grew and grew whilst all their rivals were left languishing in the mixed up air, unable to pass the weather hurdle which was effectively moving east with them. 

Dalin, who celebrated his 40th birthday in the later stages of the outwards Transat CIC race to New York, adds to a long catalogue of podium finishes on his CV. Most memorably he was first to finish the last Vendée Globe solo round the world race in January 2021 after an immaculately executed first solo circumnavigation. 

But he was displaced to second place by compatriot Yannick Bestaven who was given a time compensation for helping in the search for stricken Kevin Escoffier who had to abandon his sinking IMOCA in the Southern Ocean. Dalin was the perfect sportsman, accepting the result with elegance, empathy and understanding, never showing an ounce of frustration. Dalin won 2022’s race to Iceland, the Vendée Arctic and also triumphed on 2021’s double handed Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre sailing with Yann Eliès 

After taking fourth on the outwards solo race, his eight hour deficit behind winner Yoann Richomme largely attributed to a technical issues with his steering which required him to slow at a critical phase, Dalin rested up in the Caribbean, wing foiling and spending time with his family. Looking tanned and fit on the dock in Brooklyn Dalin declared, “My goal is to sail hard and go for victory. If there is a little psychological gain, so much the better, it’s now or never.”

His tactical move was a masterstroke

It’s Dalin’s tactical finesse, his analysis, perhaps just the right amount of risk which sets him apart. Whilst rival Herrmann – who was always north of Dalin – climbed away to the far north Dalin stuck to the middle course and built a margin. 

“I put the bow down to accelerate and get out of the system. Initially the break with the others didn’t amount to much.” But in the fleet, everyone saw MACIF Santé Prévoyance escape. “It was a matter of five miles, five miles which will turn into 500 miles,”noted rival Jérémie Beyou (Charal) who won the race in 2016 the only time it has been contested. 

His outstanding triumph tonight, only his second race since he had to miss last Autumn’s Transats due to a medical issue, enhances his rank as one of the outstanding favourites to this winter go one better and win the Vendée Globe.

Source: New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne