Pip Hare completes New York Vendee in 9th place

Pip Hare completes New York Vendee in 9th place

UK based British solo skipper Pip Hare completed a landmark result yesterday when she sailed her IMOCA 60 Medallia across the finish line of the solo race across the North Atlantic, the New York Vendée Les Sables d’Olonne race in ninth place. She crossed the finish off Les Sables d’Olonne at 1944hrs local time (1744hrs UTC) to give herself a huge confidence boost ahead of her second challenge for the Vendée Globe which starts on Sunday November 10th.

Image: Pip Hare (Medallia) © Olivier Blanchet/Alea/New York Vendée

Finish time: 17h 44min 22sec UTC
Elapsed: 12d 23h 44min 22sec
Delta to first: 2d 19h 59min 52sec
Distance covered: 4,136.73 miles 
Average speed (on the great circle route): 10.17 knots 


Since taking on the winning boat from the 2016 Vendée Globe which also took third on the 2020-21 race, Hare’s upwards trajectory since her 19th in the last race has been impressive. Thirteenth on 2022’s spring race to the Arctic, the Vendée Arctique, 12th on the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre and then 11th on the Rètour à La Base last December, this time she was competing in the main peloton from the second day of the course and has fought hard to deliver her best IMOCA result to date. 


According to Hare, who is based out of Poole on the south coast of England, her result very much validates the major investment she has made in making technical improvements to the boat, initially changing the bow section of the boat and then last winter fitting new foils, upgrades which have very much stretched her budget which has been hit by two key supporting sponsors withdrawing because of the global situation in their respective markets. 


She has been highly motivated by racing on terms with the likes of her French based compatriot Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) who recently took third on the outbound westwards solo Transat, Swiss racer Justine Mettraux (Teamwork-Team SNEF) and multiple Transat winner Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa). 


Hare finished 6h 47min after eighth placed Mettraux and she had around 100 miles in hand ahead of Frenchman Louis Burton who finished third on the last Vendée Globe. 


“I am so happy. It was just what we need as a team. I think three times now I have now just been outside the top 10 in the last three big races for me. Route du Rhum I was tenth right up until I was not at the end when I was overtaken by two boats in the less of Guadeloupe and then tenth in the Transat Jacques Vabre and then tenth in the Rétour à La Base when Romain overtook me in the last four miles so I feel like I have been knocking on the door of the top ten for a while but this race was different in that from the second day in I have been in the top ten. I wasn’t arriving there towards the end and now I have been consistently here. My performance has been consistent and I have been up sixth, seventh and eighth for a few days, pacing with Justine and a day with Sam and Yoann and so I am so, so pleased as it is next level for me and the boat. And it is a validation that as a team we really needed. Sometimes we forget that this is a team sport, it really is.  And I have pushed my team so hard on our project. We have always been stretching outside ‘comfortable’ for sure. We have made some really punchy calls to upgrade the foils and we have had a really brutal six months, the beginning of this year has been hard for everyone, starting with an outside refit as we could not get in a shed so working in terrible weather, and then our financial problems that I think also the volume of work for t every person on the team. So to have our work validated by a result that demonstrates we belong in the top ten, it is a result for the whole team, tech and operations, it is all the people that do every tiny thing that makes us step forwards. It is their result as much.”


“I have many key learnings. I have learned a lot about my comparative speed. I have always said it is difficult to be the lone team in the UK and I did try to do some two boat tuning with L’Occitaine over the Easter weekend but did not manage to make that happen. So we are very much in isolation. So I thought I was learning to sail the boat fast, but of course there is a benefit to all the boats in the one place, they can all go out and train together. So I have learned now about my pace compared to different generations of boat and I have been impressed with its performance, it has some holes as you would expect from a 2016 generation boat – we cannot forget that – but I was impressed in the conditions that it can hold its own. I think the key learnings overall have been my relative is that we have seen a good range of conditions relative to other boats. I need to work more on my self management. That has been the hardest thing. I was exhausted going into the race, I have not stopped since 2018 really and I am tired, I know I am tired. I know that and I struggled at the beginning and so it is all about my energy levels. It is evident the top skippers are doing a much better job than I am. I need to work on that. The writing is on the wall. I need to have a proper, proper break before the Vendée Globe so that I go into the race not exhausted. And I just love sailing this boat, I flipping love it!”  


“We still have quite a lot of work to do, we are going into another refit as soon as I get back. We have some things planned, tweaks rather than modifications. We changed the mast rake at the beginning of the season, it is not quite where we want it and so we will change that again. All of my sails – other than the new mainsail – were new in March 2022 and all have done six Transatlantics and so they are tired and were designed for a different boat. And so I have three sails on order now and I would like to complete the full set by the end of the summer if the funding comes in. My corssovers are difficult, the FR0 is a bit big, the J2 is a bit small…and I know this last leg in to the finish I suffered. I was either overpowered or underpowered.”


“I hope this sets the bar high and I won’t go back and it won’t be a one off, that comes with a certain pressure. I remember talking about the ‘second Vendée’, the question is always ‘where do you go? ‘ and the answer is always performance. I have always to build a team and find a boat that would be capable of delivering performance for me to develop and improve as a sailor. I have always aspired to be in the top ten. But you cannot click your fingers and get there. It is a hard, hard journey, it is a lot of work to get there.”