Off Lorient, Brittany, the Dutch crew on SEC HAYAI made up of Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt, crossed the finish line of the 8th and final leg of the GLOBE40 at 19:41 UTC this Wednesday. The Anglo-American crew on AMHAS, Craig Horsfield and Oliver Bond, preceded them at 15:05 UTC after 19 days at sea. SEC HAYAI’s second place in this leg gives the crew the outright win in this first edition of the GLOBE40, whilst AMHAS posted her 3rd line honours. Ultimately then, just two points (33 and 35 points) separated the two competitors after 8 legs and 9 months of racing. This victory for the Dutch was secured after 161 days at sea, having covered 33,311 nautical miles at an average speed of 8.62 knots.

AMHAS takes line honours in a perilous final leg.

Setting sail from the island of Grenada on 24 February, the GLOBE40 competitors had to cover 3,600 nautical miles in this transatlantic sprint back to the European winter. After climbing northwards along the Caribbean arc, the fleet ended up becoming ensnared in a zone of calm conditions close to the Bahamas for nearly a week. Finally shaking themselves free of its clutches, the crews set a course for the Azores gate and had to contend with a succession of meaty depressions generating winds of more than 60 knots and seas with 6 to 8-metre waves. Making their approach on the Azores archipelago, conditions were no more favourable with the crews having to face up to yet another string of low-pressure systems, making this leg the toughest they’ve had to contend with weather-wise, worse even than the legs negotiating the Indian and Pacific Oceans. One final massive gale on the eve of their finish even forced the first two boats, AMHAS and SEC HAYAI, to take their foot off the gas to avoid the 10 m waves being served up in the Bay of Biscay. Taking line honours in this leg, AMHAS has managed to rack up three leg wins in all, following on from that in the 2nd 7,700-mile leg from Cape Verde to Mauritius and that of the 6th leg from Ushuaia to Recife.

SEC HAYAI: a victory built on rigour and intelligence.

The Dutch victory is the result of rigorous work built upon with great intelligence. Given that their Class40 was the oldest boat in the fleet and hence theoretically the slowest, the crew had to work on all the aspects, which might enable them to make up for this initial handicap: a complete refit of the boat prior to the start, very comprehensive technical preparation in the run-up to the event, a competitive approach focused on consistency (a single yet very important leg win as it involved the long 3rd leg spanning 7,000 miles from Mauritius to Auckland) rather than a blistering pace, a good quality of life aboard to ensure they would stay the course, with a very strong bond between the 2 skippers, who completed the entire course together, and finally highly complementary personalities. Indeed Frans brought all his enthusiasm and his rigour as a business manager to bear, and professional sailor Ysbrand provided the competitive know-how throughout the campaign.

SEC HAYAI: a team reminiscent of the GLOBE40

Just like the GLOBE40, this team is keen to take things to another level at the end of this first edition. Indeed, the two winners made no secret of the fact that they want to come back and participate in the second edition with a new or more modern Class40, the search for which is already underway. Securing a number of second places at the start of the event, Frans and Ysbrand saw their ambition grow and grow throughout the event, until they could finally believe that the top spot was within their grasp. Their victory also demonstrates that performance in a round the world race involves a different way of thinking to other offshore races and transatlantic races in particular: you have to stay the course, there’s never a shortage of damage that you have to deal with, you need the psychological strength to overcome the inevitable downturns, plus you have to be able to get yourselves and the boat back in shape during what can be very short stopovers at times due to random factors. SEC HAYAI managed to handle all of these aspects to perfection and always with good humour both at sea and on land. The result is this truly exemplary victory, which really does this first edition of the GLOBE40 justice.

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