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French sailor Clarisse Cremer makes history in round-the-world Vendée Globe race

French sailor Clarisse Cremer made history at this year’s Vendée Globe by becoming the fastest solo woman to ever complete the round-the-world race.

The 31-year-old finished on Wednesday in a time of 87 days, 2 hours and 24 minutes, smashing Dame Ellen MacArthur’s previous record of 94 days and 4 hours, set in 2001.

Cremer finished 12th overall in this year’s race, which was won by Frenchman Yannick Bestaven, and played down the fact she was the fastest woman to do so.

“We know that being a woman in ocean racing becomes a differentiator on land,” she said after enjoying jubilant celebrations at the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

“But this is a mixed race and a mixed sport and (it’s) about the breadth of ocean racing together. There is no female classification.

“At sea, I am a sailor and I don’t tell myself that the sailor in front is a man or a woman, I don’t think about that at all.”

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‘I really learned during this race’

The 24,296-mile Vendée Globe, known as the “Everest of the seas,” is a grueling, solo endeavor where sailors battle tempestuous weather and extreme loneliness.

The 2020/21 race was the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe with a record 33 skippers taking to the start line on November 8.

“I really learned during this race, it almost makes you want to take the boat away, now that I’ve learned a lot about it, and go and do it again,” said Cremer, who gave up a career in business to focus on sailing.

“I realize that at the start of the Vendée Globe, I didn’t know how to use the boat so well and I discovered ‘the beast’ as it went. It’s nice to be more comfortable on your machine.

“The preparation time was a bit short, I felt it the first week, I was a little intimidated about everything there was to do.”

MacArthur was quick to congratulate Cremer on her achievement, saying it was “great to see you at the finish line. It’s truly an exceptional lap. Well done for everything you have done!”

Despite having only just finished, Cremer seems determined to go again now that she’s got to grips with her boat. “If I could set off again around the world immediately, I would,” she said.

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