Huntingdon's Pip Hare hails Vendee Globe yacht race as 'best three months of my life'
- Credit: JEAN-LOUIS CARLI/ALEA
A sailor from Huntingdon has become only the eighth woman to complete an epic solo round the world race.
Pip Hare pulled into Les Sables d'Olonne in the early hours of Friday morning to finish the Vendee Globe, 95 days after she set off, and described the feeling as "incredible".
Her "sporting objective" at departure on November 8 had been to better fellow British skipper Ellen MacArthur's 2000 benchmark of 94 days and four hours and although she fell just short of that, she was still pleased.
She said: "I felt it was attainable. At times during the race I was far ahead of [the target] and level-pegging most of the time.
"Right up until the last five days it was within my reach to beat it and I could see where I went wrong, where I could have made up time so I overall am pleased with how I did relative to that.
"I've no regrets. I started with nothing in January 2019, really nothing. I started with a personal loan from the bank and I built this campaign up out of nothing.
"To be sitting here now, coming in 19th having raced the way that I did, I can’t have any regrets. I did the absolute best with what I had in the time that I had.
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"It was the best three months of my life."
She has captured the imagination of the public with her communications during the race, providing regular updates and she even received a personal video message from Hollywood star Russell Crowe to wish her happy 47th birthday earlier this month.
That strategy she says was born out of life in landlocked Huntingdon.
She said: "It started that I came from an area in the UK where no one sails and I left school and went sailing which my friends did not understand. I used to write letters and communicate with them in a way that they would understand.
"From there I got used to the story telling and I feel that if we want this sport to grow and want greater interest from the public and more investment from the sponsors then we have the responsibility.
"That is a good return for my sponsor but I am also paying it forward for the sports and sailors in the future."
She says she learned a lot about herself personally from the rigours of the race,
"I am not as much as a rubber band as I thought," she said. "I take for granted my ability to carry on and on and on and I didn’t completely compute the toll these big events had on me physically and mentally, like changing the rudder.
"I guess the learning there is that humans are not rubber bands and you have to give yourself time to recover from those events.
"[The race though] was almost exactly as I imagined it. I always imagined it to be the hardest sailing races you could possibly to, and maybe one of the toughest things you could choose to do in your life.
"t was but you have options. In the race, I could choose to push harder and take extra risks or back off. I chose to push as hard as I could and that is always how I envisaged it so it is everything I imagined it would be."
And she is not ready for a life of feet up by the fire just yet.
"There is always more to come," she said. "You can never reach your limit can you? There is always a question in my mind, could I do better. I mean that is what life is about isn’t it, just trying a little bit harder?"