American sailor Rich Wilson has finished the Vendee Globe, becoming the second American in history to do so. Wilson finished ninth among the eleven skippers who remained in the race (from a starting fleet of 30). He was also, at 58, the eldest racer in the fleet.
While his first race into the inhospitable wastes of the Southern Oceans proved the biggest physical challenge for Wilson, his weeks since rounding Cape Horn have tested his mental durability. In the South Atlantic he struggled with constant headwinds and occasional difficult low pressure systems which generated strong winds and confuses seas and the complex weather pattern in the North Atlantic meant he had to make detours of nearly 1000 miles to get west around successive high pressure systems.
At one point in the middle of the Atlantic he was nearly 500 miles closer to his home in Boston than he was to the finish. His race has been more limited to a test of stamina since the south of Australia and New Zealand when his nearest rivals, first Canadian Derek Hatfield (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) and then Jonny Malbon (Artemis) retired successively with rigging damage and with mainsail damage respectively. That left Wilson feeling more isolated with his next nearest rivals 1000 miles ahead and astern.