I left you a few hours before crossing the finish line, 20/ 30 miles before the island of Cabrit.
I'm back on track at the end of the race. The wind remains steady at around 20 knots and the boat is gliding along well despite the sargassum slicks that are becoming denser as we approach the island.
Soon the land passes on my starboard side, they are the first lights since Cape Finisterre.
It is a special moment to see the land appear after such a journey and the emotion is there. I pass the tip of the island, marked by the lighthouse of the Cabrit small island, luffed 30° and activated the WP du Diamant.
The sea is flat to leeward of the island, the boat is stable and well set at 10/12 knots, under big spinnaker at 130° to the real wind, the boat is " flying ". I have just had a chat on my iPhone with Jacky who is waiting for me in the Coves of Arlet on "Equilibre" from Sail Paradise.
I pass the Diamond rock, massive and very impressive in the dark night. It heads and some gusts hurt me a bit. I keep my spinnaker as late as possible and empty my last bottle of rum, to keep my race time to a minimum, because soon the last tacks are coming up close to the Mitan finish buoy. I meet "Equilibre", shouts of joy, spotlight, foghorn. It's so good to be back with the ones we love...
The start still seems so close and yet so much has been experienced...
I am aiming for the northern cardinal of Mitan, that's it, the line is crossed.
All goes well and I arrive at the dock where a great welcoming committee applauds me warmly. I did not stifle my pleasure.
Flowers, a glass of ti punch in my hands, Sophie, my friends and also my cousin Liz who surprises me by being there. I am overwhelmed and happy. That's it, it's done! What a race, so many memories already. Alex is here of course, what a racer, what a winner.
I lost the race in the first three days and never managed to make up for that 25/30 mile deficit at Cape Finisterre.
No regrets, I gave everything I could afterwards to come back. I sincerely believed in it until 2 days before the finish but the "Sapristi" was too tough.
1h40 will be the gap between Alex and me! It's not far off !
A big thank you to my friend Hervé who prepared me to manage my nav and always supported me in case of problems.
Thank you to the family and friends who have sent me all these messages of support and encouragement. To my children who are always with me. To Quentin and the team at the yard for preparing a 100% reliable boat for me. And of course to Jacques, our brilliant architect, because this 1030, what a boat!
After a few hours of sleep, we will welcome the 3rd and 4th solo sailors, also on JPK 1030. Stéphane Bodin who led for 10 days and persisted too long on a direct route and finished 15 minutes ahead of Hervé Chataignier who also had a splendid race.
The first doubles arrived a few hours after the first solos. "Solenn", the JPK 1080 owned by Ludovic Gérard and Nicolas Brossay, was the winner, ahead of the 1010 "White Spirit".
For the site, the score is at the top and that counts too.
Now it's time to enjoy the sweet Caribbean. Thank you for following me on this transatlantic journey, receiving messages from the boat was a pure pleasure.
Long live the adventure!