Podium Complete in Virtual Vendée Globe

Published on January 17th, 2017


Matt Johnston

(January 17, 2017) – On his black and yellow boat, wearing the IMOCA Hugo Boss’s colours, Matt Johnston and his entry Mangina-PYR have won the 2016-2017 Virtual Vendée Globe Edition. At the end of a very tight race, and after more than 26,000 nm around the world, this virtual sailor arrives ahead of 451,000 players.

New Zealander Derek Watt (NZ-Eligo ‘’IST”) and Frenchman Didier Flament (Didflam) complete the podium.

After the start on November 6, it took 72 days, 2 hours 23 minutes and 10 seconds to sail virtually around the globe, which started and arrived in Les Sables d’Olonne. For over two months on the Virtual Regatta’s flag game, competitors tuned their settings, continuously analyzing the weather to select the best route. It’s a young Australian from Adelaide, in South Australia, who wins this virtual circumnavigation.

In 540th place at Cape of Good Hope, (which is the first of the three major capes in this circumnavigation), Mangina-PYR, as the boat is named, began its climb up the ranking. Moving up to 288th at Cape Leeuwin in the southwest of Australia, and then 142nd at Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of the American continent, the skipper has crossed the Equator and entered the northern hemisphere in 12th, then taking the victory today in Les Sables D’Olonne.

Johnston beats by 2 days and 10 hours the former Lilian Launay’s reference race time. On this circumnavigation, he will have sailed 26,592.20 nautical miles at an average speed of 15.4 knots.

“Shortly before the Vendée Globe start, I have been lucky enough to take part in a sailing championship with Michael Coxon of the Australia North Sails,” said Johnston. “His experience and his common sense have been very helpful to me. It mainly advised me to go as fast as possible in the different transition phases, but also to descent and climb up back as fast as possible in the Atlantic Ocean. That’s what I’ve tried to do and it worked pretty well. I’m very glad of this victory in the Virtual Vendée Globe. It’s incredible.”

Few minutes after Mangina-PYR, Derek Watt, skipper of NZ-Eligo « IST » has also looped the loop and seizes the second spot.

“I had started the race quietly but I quickly threw myself completely into it,” explained Watt. “I find the app absolutely exceptional. That’s what made me feel like keeping on going. Then I left my life a little bit aside during these 72 days. I was really on it daily and woke up regularly during the night. I set up my alarm clock every 3 to 4 hours in order to adjust my trajectory and my strategy. The game was really gripping. I think my wife should be very happy that this adventure is coming to en end. It was one in a lifetime adventure.”

Didier Flament, researcher in marine microbiology, is the first French sailor of this edition. His very conservative strategy and his intuition enable him to finish this circumnavigation on the third step of the podium.

“It was not my initial goal at all,” admitted Flament. “I have never put my work aside and to be sincere I used to log in in the evening for about one hour in order to analyse the weather and set my course, and then about 30 minutes every morning. It happened to me also to have a look into the app during the day to check if everything was fine. But the last night has been the only one where I woke up to manoeuvre my boat. I had to tack and I did not want to foul it. Being first at a certain time has made my friends laugh a lot and this is my great victory in the Virtual Vendée Globe. I’m really very glad of this rank. It has been a beautiful adventure.”

Virtual Regatta: With more than a million active players in 2016, Virtual Regatta’s main business is to create nautical events on the Internet. Thousands of sailing fans are able to follow the races in a unique and dynamic way: the players compete on their own boats. Details:

Vendée Globe: The eighth Vendée Globe, which began November 6 from Les Sables d’Olonn, France, is the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. Twenty-nine skippers representing four continents and ten nations set sail on IMOCA 60s in pursuit of the record time set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 race of 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.

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Source: Virtual Regatta

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