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Pip Hare: first British skipper to finish the 2020 Vendée Globe

  • Katy Stickland
  • February 12, 2021

British solo skipper Pip Hare crossed the 2020 Vendée Globe finish line at just before 0100 on 12 February, fulfilling her long held dream

Pip Hare having finished the 2020 Vendee Globe

Pip Hare finished the race in 95d 11h 37m 30s. Credit: Yvan Zedda/Alea

Pip Hare has finished the 2020 Vendée Globe, crossing the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne with a race time of 95d 11h 37m 30s.

The 47-year-old has come 19th in the solo round the world yacht race, sailing on the 21-year-old IMOCA 60 Medallia .

She is only the eighth woman to have completed the Vendée Globe.

Greeted by Jean Le Cam at the finish

Legendary skipper Jean Le Cam, who came fourth in the race, was one of the first to congratulate Pip on her finish. Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/Alea

Throughout the race, Hare shared every high and low, winning her legions of fans with her honest and enthusiastic race reports; her passion for competing in the race, a long held dream, was infectious.

The last 24 hours saw her continue to push hard, as she made ground on Alan Roura and Stéphane Le Diraison, despite gear failure.

‘The last six hours were the most stressful of the whole race. I was doing pretty well, really catching the boys up and then the sea state started to get quite slammy and my keel lines have broken three times and literally I just went over a wave, bang, and I knew straight away it was the keel lines,’ explained Hare.

‘And I have run out of spare keel lines. And so I had to get down inside the boat to the keel and work a solution with the old lines. But there were fishing boats everywhere and then I came up on deck and the starboard side of the pulpit which had got bent, that broke off.’

A skipper holding flares to celebrate finishing the Vendee Globe

A dream fulfilled for Pip Hare, who says she will be back for the 2024 race. Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/Alea

Hare narrowly missed out on beating Dame Ellen MacArthur’s record for the fastest woman to sail solo around the world in a monohull, which had stood at 94 days 4 hours.

This was broken last week by Clarisse Cremer, who was the first woman home in the 2020 Vendée Globe with a race time of 87d 02h 24m 25s.

But Hare was always realistic about her Vendée Globe campaign.

Continues below…

Pip_Hare_Vendee Globe

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Professional sailor Pip Hare and Yachting Monthly Deputy Editor Katy Stickland on the IMOCA 60 Medallia

The fastest I have ever sailed: 20.5 knots at the helm of a foiling IMOCA 60

Most cruising boats reach average speeds of around 5 knots, with tops speeds of 7-9 knots. Pip Hare's IMOCA 60…

In an interview with Yachting Monthly before she left, Hare was honest about the challenges of sailing such an old boat.

Medallia has no outside protection. She had to go to the mast every time to reef, and to tack her canting keel, she had to use a block and tackle taken to an electric winch.

But, she still loved sailing the yacht.

‘You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get some woe-is-me creeping in there but I honestly, hand on heart, can say I can never remember not wanting to be out on the water.

‘Even when it’s really bad it’s only a moment in time.’


Pip started sailing Medallia in 2018 and had to finish three qualifying races in 2019 to win her Vendée place. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Hare faced plenty of challenges during her Vendée – the loss of a hydro generator, a broken wind sensor, leaving her with no reliable wind information and a cracked port rudder stock, which she replaced.

She overcame all of these issues with her typical practical approach to problems; and her happiness at being back racing warmed the hearts of all who watched.

Speaking after crossing the finish line, Hare said: ‘I am really, really happy. I feel just a little bit that it would have been amazing to have been ahead of a foiling boat, it was there definitely. But I am happy. I made mistakes but I have learned from them and the main thing is I could see where I made the mistakes and where I can improve, where I can do better. I can’t believe the race I have had. I never thought it would be like this. I never thought I would be with foiling boats. It has been incredible.’

She said her high points of the race were when she was pushing the boat hard.

Pip Hare smiling after replacing her port rudder stock during the Vendee globe

Pip’s race looked like it was over when her port rudder stock cracked. But with her typical can do attitude, she replaced it, and shared the moment with her fans. Credit: Pip Hare Ocean Racing

‘There were times like my first 400 mile day and then when I looked at the rankings and I saw that I was the fastest boat of the fleet, it was days like that when I got such a buzz out of doing things like that. And just being at sea is where I love it, It is where I belong,’ she said.

Hare said she had pushed Medallia ‘ hard but you know it is the right boat for me.’

‘It is a bit clunky and so lot of extra effort to sail, but it is simple which meant I could keep on top of looking after it and I could focus more on the big things, the navigation which is where I am with my sailing. And so I can tell you I do not want to sail a boat that you have to walk four times to the mast back and forth to reef. And I want a roof. And I want a little button that you press to move the keel,’ she added.

Pip lying on her back with a selfie stick onboard Medallia during the 2020 Vendee Globe

Her passion for taking part in the race was shared via her regular video updates which won her legions of fans. Credit: Pip Hare

Hare has also announced that she plans to be back for the 2024 race:

‘2024 I am coming back. Now I have seen it, now I know what to expect….now I know where I can improve I have to be back, and also it is just an incredible race. It stretches you so much as a person, why would you not want to come and do it again?’ she added.

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Watch live arrival of Pip Hare in Vendée Globe

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Watch Pip’s press conference here:

Wach Pip Hare’s arrival live streamed with English commentary here:

British solo skipper Pip Hare, 47, fulfilled the dream that she has held since she was a teenage sailor in her native East Anglia, England when she crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe solo non-stop round the world race at 00:57:30 hrs UTC on the 12th February, emerging from a bitterly cold Bay of Biscay night off Les Sables d’Olonne on the west coast of France to take an excellent 19th place.

Pip Hare arrival

“She is a ray of sunshine, what she is doing in incredible,” is how veteran French ocean racer Jean Le Cam, who finished fourth in this race, described Hare, while Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm, who built Hare’s boat over 20 years ago, described her as “my hero”.

Her race was not without drama, and she overcame a significant technical problem in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Replacing one of her rudders in big seas and 25knots of wind allowed her to stay in the race and to still remain close to a group of four faster rivals, all sailing a newer generation of foiling boats, which she had worked hard to pass. Even today just over one month on from her rudder damage, Hare was still pushing to close every last mile on the pack ahead of her and was less than 50 miles from 18th placed Stéphane Le Diraison at the line, having pulled back more than 100 miles in the final 36 hours.

Her performance is all the more remarkable considering her first IMOCA class race was in August 2019 with the Rolex Fastnet Race. Her performance merits comparison with Dame Ellen MacArthur whose 94 days and 4-hour time from the 2000-2001 race was one of Hare’s benchmarks on a boat built in the same year and launched in the same month as MacArthur’s.

So too Hare’s enduring passion mirrors that of the English racer MacArthur who finished runner up in the 2001 Vendée Globe, both living in a variety of portacabins, small boats and vans when their hand-to-mouth budgets denied them the living standards of their rivals in their formative years.

Hare grew up in a typical sailing family in East Anglia, benefiting from a Swallows and Amazons lifestyle of dinghy sailing and cruising with her extended family on a wooden Folkboat and then a Moody 33 on which they sailed often with her grandparents to Holland’s Ijsselmeer. She became a sailing instructor and then professional sailing coach and journalist. While she only took the plunge into solo racing with the OSTAR race to Newport RI in 2009, the Lightwave 395 racer cruiser she raced across the Atlantic was her home for 13 years and she sailed tens of thousands of miles as far as Patagonia and Uruguay before sailing the boat home solo across the Atlantic.

pip hare yachting world

And although she has proven her ability to endure and always push to new limits on her first time in the Southern Oceans, Hare is pragmatic, prudent and largely risk averse. Certainly, although her initial budget to do this Vendée Globe was minimal, supported through crowd funding and her home port of Poole, she was always adamant that she would not go forwards into the race without the financial means to pay her costs. Her biggest decision was to charter the proven Superbgiou for the race, even if she was initially reliant on friends and favours to augment doing all the boatwork herself.

But in May last year a white knight sponsor appeared in the shape of Silicon Valley customer experience management system company Medallia. Their immediate input allowed Hare to fit a pedestal winch system and update the sail inventory of the IMOCA re-named Medallia.

pip hare yachting world

The Vendée Globe of Pip Hare After admitting to pre-start nerves, Pip Hare started the Vendée Globe as she meant to go on, pushing hard even if at first, she was not so happy with her initial weather strategies. But between the Azores and the Canary Islands she found a good route to the east and was able to keep pace with some of the faster boats in front. At the Canary Islands she was 22nd of the 33 starters and 16 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières pushing through the western fringes of tropical storm Theta, chasing Isabelle Joschke and close to Spanish sailor Didac Costa, who is racing Ellen MacArthur’s former boat on his second consecutive Vendée Globe, and who was a long-standing close rival when they both raced Mini 650s

But Hare had a painful Doldrums crossing, and she lost miles to the boats in front, a deficit which was then compounded in the reaching conditions in the SE’ly trades which were tough for her older less powerful machine against the newer boats.

At the gateway to the south passing Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha, she was over 600 miles behind Alan Roura and 500 miles from Stéphane le Diraison. Under the Cape of Good Hope that duo were slowed in high pressure and Pip and Didac caught back miles. She then pushed harder and increasingly fast along the AEZ in the Indian Ocean to get up to 19th, but all the time just a few miles apart from Costa. And by the Kerguelens she and Costa had caught all the way back up to Boissieres and Le Diraison again.

She lost one of her hydrogenators on November 29th and that meant keeping all her diesel reserves for power generation, meaning no heating and so she had to ride out the discomfort of being wet cold and damp in the south.

Her most annoying performance setback came on January 2nd when her wind sensor failed. The cups stopped rotating and the boat crash gybed as the information being sent to the autopilot stopped. Having lost her second wand during the first big front a few days after the start, this became a major issue as she could no longer have the pilot steer on wind mode and had no accurate wind information. Indeed, in the big winds that followed she compared notes with Alan Roura and with Boissieres. This situation left her almost always on a high state of alert, from there on the sharpness of her attack was definitely dulled.

pip hare yachting world

“But I put on my big girl pants on and went looking for a solution,” Hare memorably wrote.

Staying further south under east Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand paid handsomely for Pip and she was still keeping pace with Boissieres and managed to open up many miles on Costa. At Point Nemo she posted her best ranking at 15th and remarkably was ahead of the foilers raced by Roura, Boissieres and Le Diraison, leading the group of group of six that went on to fight it out to the very end.

It was here that she encountered her most significant problem, and on January 7th at some 1,000 miles to Cape Horn, she discovered a crack in the port rudder stock. Fortunately, she was not only carrying a newly made spare rudder, but she and her team had practised a replacement procedure. A weather window – a relative term for the southern Pacific – appeared and she was able to replace the rudder and get back under way having lost two places.

After her rudder problem she was 17th at Cape Horn and in the South Atlantic she had to slow to laminate a repair to reseal the rudder tube which was letting in significant amounts of water. She lost some miles to Roura and co., but still managed to gain on the Catalan sailor Costa.

Climbing the Atlantic she was once more very much punching above her weight and worked hard to stay with this group, even given her lack of horsepower in the hard reaching trade wind conditions. Predictably, she lost two places to the new generation foilers raced by Jérémie Beyou and Kojiro Shiraishi.

She and the group ended up with a detour of over 800 miles because of the position of the Azores high pressure which forced them west on a roundabout route but she stayed in touch and until the very last night, and was still pulling back miles on the foiling boats just in front before finishing 19th today.

Pip Hare

Distance actually travelled on the water: 27,976.87 miles at 12.21 knots of average speed

THE GREAT PASSAGES Equator (outward) 20th on 23/11/2020 at 12:48 UTC, 4 days, 22 hours and 59 minutes behidn the leader

Cape of Good Hope 17th on 6/12/2020 at 16:48 UTC, 5 days, 17 hours and 37 minutes behind the leader

Cape Leeuwin 17th on the 18/12/2020 at 07:30 UTC, 8 days 20 hours and 4 minutes behind the leader

Cape Horn 18th on 6/01/2021 at 01:56 UTC, 9 days, 13 hours and 12 minutes after the leader

Equator (back) 20th on 28/01/2021 at 05h43 UTC, 11 days 10 hours 31 minutes after the leader

His boat Architect: Pierre Rolland Builders: 1999, Bernard STAMM, Lesconil Launched: July 2000



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Pip Hare Ocean Racing

Book Pip for your event

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Pip has been a professional sailor since leaving school at 18 and has a career spanning close to 30 years. As well as a sailor, Pip is a journalist, author and a compelling speaker on topics such as overcoming challenges to achieve, authenticity, risk management, gender equality. Her vivid anecdotes bring the drama of solo ocean racing to life – whether you’re a seasoned mariner or an armchair adventurer. She continues to write for sailing magazines, produce coaching materials and to regularly blog.


Vendée Globe 2020/2021 finisher - only the 8th woman to ever complete the race

2 world-first endurance records

Winner of multiple international yacht races

Twenty years of experience ocean racing

3 world records set during 2022


Speaker - inspirational, motivational, engaging

Journalist - in print and online with international readership

Spokesperson - on message and passionate, experienced in TV and radio, able to give interviews in English, French and Spanish

Blogger - revealing the human story behind extreme sports


Professional coach – training international sailors for world class events

Online videos – author and presenter of Sail Faster Sail Safer (views in millions)

Producer and presenter of the new double handed sailing series as seen in Yachting World

Pip is a skilled communicator and is passionate about sharing her experiences and inspiring others. If you would like to get in touch regarding speaking engagements, please complete the form.

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SME Season: Pip Hare Ocean Racing and How to Stay Calm Under Pressure ...How to be a CEO podcast

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Pip Hare

Yachting World

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Bavaria C46 review: More accommodation and better performance?

  • Rupert Holmes
  • March 21, 2024

Bavaria claims more accommodation and better performance for its Bavaria C46 second generation c-line. Can you really have both on a mass market design?

Product Overview

Price as reviewed:.

It’s often thought that yachts with wide forward sections inevitably slam uncomfortably in head seas. But that’s not always the case as, when the boat heels, the hull’s immersed section changes shape and no longer presents the flat underside to the waves. Conversely, traditional hull designs with a V shape forward might slice through waves neatly when upright, but can slam badly when heeled as they present an almost flat surface that bashes down on the water after plunging off wave crests.

I tested a prototype Bavaria C46, used as a test bed for almost every conceivable extra (which made it over 70% more expensive than the base price model). For my first sail we had a cross-shore breeze of 8-15 knots, combined with an awkward short onshore swell generated by an approaching vigorous low pressure system.

On starboard tack we were therefore heading more or less into the waves, which led to an occasional soft bounce, but the motion wasn’t uncomfortable and there was no heavy slamming of the type that saps boat speed.

Bavaria’s now trademark V-bow helps create full forward sections that both increase space in the owner’s cabin forward and increase form stability. Maximum beam is carried almost right aft, where there are well defined chines. It’s a combination that creates very high form stability and excellent sail carrying ability.

The single rudder gives a very direct, light and balanced feel on the helm. Wheel pedestals are well configured, with space for big MFDs plus separate instrument displays alongside, and are angled so that you can easily see displays when sitting outboard, where there’s a great view of the jib luff.

Sailing upwind under full furling main and 106% jib in 8-10 knots of breeze at a true wind angle of 45° we averaged a shade over 6 knots boat speed.

pip hare yachting world

Broad forward sections, wide transom and chines for a spacious powerful shape. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

Bavaria C46 handling

While many of today’s yachts sail surprisingly well in very light airs, I found we needed 10 knots of true wind speed for the Bavaria C46 to really come alive, at which point the boat’s motion also became more stable. The only exception was tight reaching angles with the Code 0 set, when we averaged just under 7 knots with the true wind just aft of the beam in 8-10 knots of breeze.

The test boat has a furling main and jib, both made by Elvstrom from 95% recycled polyester with 5% Dyneema that increases strength and stretch resistance. Bavaria says for this boat pricing is on a par with a classic polyester laminate, but it’s stronger and has reduced elongation under load thanks to the Dyneema content.

Vertical battens to support the leech helped the main to set well and add a useful amount of area compared to a hollow leech battenless sail. This undoubtedly contributed to the good handling characteristics though there’s also an option for a smaller self-tacking jib.

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Boats equipped with a fully battened mainsail have around 5% extra sail area, therefore ought to perform slightly better in light airs, even upwind.

The coachroof-mounted double mainsheet system is controlled by winches just ahead of the helm stations and works well at controlling twist. They can also be used as a partial preventer to steady the boom in light airs. It’s an efficient set-up that allows accurate sail trim, doesn’t get in the way of those who would prefer to sit back and relax, and is much safer than cockpit-mounted mainsheets.

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Inboard edges of the helm pedestals have stainless steel grabrails. Photo: Nicola Brollo/Fivestudio.it

The Elvstrom permanent hoist Code 0 can be left up when furled without worry, thanks to its 50% mid girth (reduced from the 75% standard figure for a racing sail), a heavier cloth than standard, and a higher clew. The latter also makes it more suited to deeper reaching angles than a more race-oriented sail shape.

On the downside, if the code sail is hoisted and set up in advance, there’s some turbulence over the jib when sailing upwind. For most owners the advantages greatly outweigh the drawbacks, but the additional turbulence does make it a little more difficult to settle the boat into a groove when sailing upwind in lighter conditions.

pip hare yachting world

Sheeted in: there’s a choice of 106% genoa or self-tacking jib. Photo: Nicola Brollo/Fivestudio.it

Bearing away, unfurling the Code 0 and rolling the jib away in wind speeds of 12-15 knots we made 7.5-8.5 knots at a true wind angle of 120°, roughly keeping pace with a more performance oriented yacht of similar size. Hardening up to bring the true wind on the beam, and the apparent therefore well forward, boosted boat speed to an average just shy of 9 knots.

The Code 0 proved to be a very flexible sail for a wide range of wind angles and the convenience of being able to leave it set will be very appealing to many cruising crews. It offers the benefit of having the sail available for use without the need for foredeck antics at sea.

Life on deck

All lines on the Bavaria C46 are led to control stations just ahead of the wheel pedestals. It’s easy to reach the winches from the helm, while there’s also space for one person outboard and another in the cockpit ahead of the pedestals. Thanks to the coachroof-mounted mainsheet there’s also no danger of the sheet sweeping across this part of the cockpit and endangering those involved in manoeuvres. There are also good rope bins aft of the winches.

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Saloon area is opposite the galley, arranged around a table that lowers to form a daybed. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

The optional coaming winches on the test boat are not really needed, although if an overlapping jib is fitted, the sheet can be led back here. However, they are primarily available as an option for those who expect to sail with larger crews.

Bavaria has eschewed incorporating a tender garage in the Bavaria C46 on the basis they are inevitably a big compromise on a boat of this size, resulting in an undersized tender and smaller aft cabins. Instead it offers telescopic davits, while on-deck stowage includes two very useful shallow lockers under the cockpit benches, plus a big lazarette with access between the helm stations.

pip hare yachting world

Galley is well appointed but might prove difficult to use when heeled heavily on port tack. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

There’s also a large sail locker forward, although this falls short of being sufficiently spacious for an optional skipper’s cabin. The interior arrangement of our test boat also includes a useful walk-in storeroom near the foot of the companionway.

There are two cockpit table options, either a large central one or twin tables with folding leaves that almost meet in the middle, but frustratingly leave a small gap. The test boat also has a cockpit fridge, plus a barbecue aft under the helm seats that’s designed for use from the large, electrically-operated bathing platform. Retractable davits solve the issue of stowing the tender on shorter passages in settled condition, while it can be hauled onto the foredeck for ocean crossings or heavy weather.

pip hare yachting world

raised navstation puts you at eye level with anyone working in the galley. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

Smart volume

On descending the companionway the generous accommodation volume of the Bavaria C46 is immediately apparent in the wide open spaces of the saloon and impressively large owner’s cabin forward. The raised navigation station to port is a positive feature and puts you at eye level with those who are standing in the galley.

This is immediately forward of the navstation and has a huge amount of countertop space and stowage, plus options for plenty of refrigeration, including a large two-drawer unit and separate top-loading fridge. The test boat was also fitted with an optional compact dishwasher and cooker hood, in addition to a standard opening portlight above the three burner gas cooker and oven.

On the downside, it wouldn’t be easy to use the galley at all, even for making a cup of tea, when well heeled on port tack in a big breeze.

pip hare yachting world

Owner’s cabin with king-size double berth. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

Our test boat has a three-cabin, two-head layout, plus a big walk-in store room, making it ideal for private owners. In this version all berths are a full European king size, with 160cm width across their entire length. Two different four-cabin layouts are also offered, including a classic four-cabin/four-heads charter arrangement, with two doubles forward. The second option is a four-cabin/two-head owner’s version that retains the appealing master cabin forward, but adds a small Pullman cabin with bunk beds ahead of the starboard quarter cabin.

The Bavaria C46 owner’s cabin is a lovely open space, with separate toilet and shower compartment. On the downside, there’s not a huge amount of stowage here. The aft cabins are of equal size, though on the test boat the port one is set up as a permanent double, while starboard is configured as two singles that convert easily to a double. Both these cabins share the well-appointed heads near the companionway.

The storeroom will appeal to many private owners and has potential to provide plenty of well-organised and easily accessed stowage, as well as space for a washer/drier.

pip hare yachting world

Aft cabins can be double or twin configuration. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/imacis.fr/EYOTY

The standard of joinery is generally good, though our the prototype Bavaria C46 we sailed had some systems in the bilge, including the engine start battery, which are located on plywood bases whose edges were not sealed with epoxy. We’re told this arrangement will be revised for production boats.

There’s also some exposed sealant visible on deck, for instance, at the join of the coachroof and the mouldings that form conduits for the lines led aft. It’s neatly done, but even UV stabilised materials of this type can eventually turn yellow and therefore mar cosmetic appearances.

On the plus side, there’s neat and easy access under the cockpit floor to reach the quadrant and steering system. The 244lt diesel tank may limit autonomy for those who want to venture further afield, but there are options for up to a generous 800lt of fresh water.

Construction is of conventional hand laid polyester and E-glass, with PVC foam core above the waterline, reinforced in way of the chainplates and fore and aft bulkheads. The inner matrix is also hand laid in E-glass and polyester, with the keel area laminated to the hull.

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Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the C46 – it sails better than might be expected, particularly once the breeze reaches 10 knots, and sail handling systems are well thought out. Apart from a few caveats such as lack of handholds in the saloon and galley, the accommodation is lovely and spacious. Big selling points for private owners include the owner’s cabin and the storeroom that will help keep a plethora of accumulated kit well organised. Performance doesn’t match the best contemporary performance cruisers of similar length, but they tend to be significantly more expensive. On the other hand, the C46 is certainly equal to, or better than, most of those designed a couple of decades ago, yet has vastly more accommodation space both above and below decks.

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Pip Hare is first British skipper in Vendée Globe

Helen Fretter

  • Helen Fretter
  • February 12, 2021

Pip Hare has achieved a lifelong dream by finishing the Vendée Globe, the first British skipper in the 2020 race

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Pip Hare crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe at 0057 this morning to become the first British skipper to finish the 2020/21 race.

When the gun went, she jumped for joy. The grainy footage of a small red-clad figure leaping on the deck of her silver and purple IMOCA was undeniably emotional, this was watching someone’s lifetime dream come true. To complete the Vendée Globe was an ambition that Pip had poured her very heart and soul into , and hers was a moment of pure celebration.

pip hare yachting world

Pip Hare arrives after completing the Vendee Globe February 12, 2021. (Photo by Jean-Louis Carli/Alea)

Pip Hare finished the Vendée Globe on Medallia in 19th position, with a final time of 95d 11hr. Sailing the second-oldest boat in the fleet , the 21-year-old former Superbigou built by Bernard Stamm, she finished within a few hours of the two closest foilers ahead (Alan Roura’s La Fabrique in 17th, and Stéphane le Diraison on Time for Oceans ).

She is only the 8th ever female skipper to complete the Vendée Globe (four of which have been English). Before setting out, Hare had hoped to beat Ellen MacArthur’s record for a female skipper of 94 days. She just missed out on that (Clarisse Cremer has set a new female record this year in 12th place at 87 days); it doesn’t matter. This race has been a slower one than expected for almost every competitor, but everyone who has followed Pip’s race will know that she has sailed Medallia’s socks off.

“I never thought it would be like this, I never thought I would be playing with foiling boats,” she said in disbelief at the finish. “It’s been incredible.”

How Pip Hare overcame setbacks

Three weeks into the race, as she passed the coast of Brazil, she was surrounded by a pack that included several foiling designs. In her first ever race through the Southern Ocean, she hugged the ice limits to sail a fast direct line, and was in 17th place passing Cape Leeuwin, and a seriously impressive 15th passing Point Nemo.

pip hare yachting world

Onboard, however, her Vendée Globe was getting tougher and tougher. Medallia was well known to be one of the hardest boats in the fleet to sail, with mast base halyards, a block and tackle (rather than hydraulic ram) keel canting system, and negligible cockpit protection compared to the modern designs. At the end of November, Medallia lost one of its hydrogenerators, meaning Pip Hare had to save her diesel reserves for power generation, leaving her with no heating in the south.

More critically, on 2 January her wind sensor broke down, leaving Hare with no reliable wind information. Her only option was to set her autopilot to compass mode, sleeping with one hand on the pilot remote control at all times in case of sudden wind shifts.

Besides the exhaustion, the real stress for Pip was her inability to sail at Medallia’s maximum potential. “We are going slowly but safely,” she wrote on January 3 after attempting a wind unit repair. “I have never sailed Medallia like this. It feels so wrong, it’s not relaxing at all and I am miserable at the thought of all of those miles that I am losing against everyone on the course. I know this is the right decision for this moment but it hurts like hell.”


Then it seemed that disaster had struck mid-Pacific, when the port rudder stock cracked. It looked, briefly, as if Pip’s competitive race would be over. She was, she admitted, devastated. However, in a typical can-do attitude, Pip managed to remove and replace the rudder , and resumed racing having lost just two places.

The niggles continued, with Hare unable to set her fractional gennaker and suffering keel issues on the final approach. Nonetheless, Hare continued to push hard to the very line, reeling in over 100 miles from Le Diraison as she reached into Les Sables.

By sailing Medallia far beyond anyone’s expectations, Pip Hare has proven herself to be a serious competitor. She won praise from many skippers across the fleet for her smart decisions and impressive performance. Jean Le Cam was among the first to greet her into Les Sables, wrapping in her an enormous bear hug (it’s hard to to think of a more demonstrative sign that a British ‘rookie’ has fully earned their place in the IMOCA fold!).

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Pip Hare receives a welcome hug from fellow competitor and Vendée veteran, Jean Le Cam

However, equally impressive has been Pip’s ability to share her experiences. She’s written for Yachting World for years, and we know her to be modest, incredibly knowledgeable, and an excellent communicator. But her upbeat videos, honest blogs and the genuine enthusiasm she has for the whole experience shone through in every interview or social media post she made, winning her legions of fans far beyond the sailing world.

For her 47th birthday, her local radio station BBC Solent managed to persuade movie mega-star Russell Crowe to send her a birthday message mid-Atlantic, after it was revealed that she was a huge fan of Master & Commander . Sailing legends joined in, with everyone from Sir Ben Ainslie to Dame Ellen MacArthur adding to the birthday greetings.

pip hare yachting world

Pip Hare celebrates with Champagne after arriving back on the dock at Les Sables d’Olonne. Photo Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

Her sponsors Medallia, an American software company which signed up to support Pip in the final stages of her preparation, seem understandably delighted with their return on investment. CEO Leslie Stretch spoke to Pip mid-race on the race’s live video show, saying: “What’s next Pip? Let’s get to the end and then let’s go shopping for a new boat, shall we? Lets do that! What do you think about the next round?”

Pip, certainly, is keen. “2024. I’m coming back. I have to!” she said as she arrived on the dock.

“This race – and solo sailing – forces me to be the best version of myself,” Pip has said. This Vendée Globe has tested her hard, but has revealed the very best of her and the sport to legions of followers. She deserves to enjoy every moment of her phenomenal achievement.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams. Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.


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