Vendee victory, VOR and Rio gold - Sailing News from the UK and Beyond

Vendee Globe finish for Francois Gabart (FRA) / Macif after 78D 02H 16MN 40SEC / Winner
Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe ©
The Vendee Globe has played out well for skipper Francois Gabart - sailing alone aboard his IMOCA 60, 'Macif'. The 29 year old has now claimed his first ever Vendee Globe win! Impressively, Francois made his first full 'lap' of the globe in just shy of 78 days, making his passage the fastest in Vendee and singlehanded monohull history.

Of course, having the Grand Master, two-time Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux, mentoring his campaign didn’t hurt Gabart’s chances, but there’s simply no getting around the fact that the young French sailor has stunned the world with his performance and his impressive new distance records, which he set en route to returning to Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

Second place was claimed by Armel Le Cléac´h (Banque Populaire). Armel sailed across the finish line on Sunday 27th January 2013 at 17 hour 35 min 52 seconds GMT. He finishes the race 78 days 5 hours and 33 minutes after Francois Gabart.

British sailor Alex Thomson is at the time of this writing 946.7nm from the finish with fellow countryman Mike Golding (currently sixth) 2581.0nm from Les Sables d'Olonne.

There has been increased buzz regarding the Volvo Ocean Race in recent days. The first two stopovers for the 2014-2015 edition in which Volvo 65ft yachts will be sailed have been announced as Recife and Itajai. Two teams have been publicly announced so far for the Race and they are the SCA all-women’s team and a team from the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

Team SCA - Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Meanwhile, the quest for Olympic gold continues for sailors around the world with big news being announced recently for one British sailor. Stuart Bithell - who claimed 2012 London Olympic Silver in the 470 class with teammate Luke Patience - revealed that on his road to the Rio 2016 Olympics, he will join up with fellow ex-470 sailor Chris Grube and sail in the 49er class. Bithell and Grube have been racking up the training hours in the 49er since October getting to grips with their new boat, and up to speed in this fast and highly agile class.

20130117 Copyright onEdition 2013© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Stuart Bithell, who claimed Olympic sailing silver in 2012, has revealed he is to team up with fellow ex-470 sailor Chris Grube in his quest for gold at Rio 2016. Bithell, who partnered Luke Patience to 2012 podium glory and two World Championship silvers in the 470 class, has now made the switch to the high performance 49er skiff in a bid to realise his golden ambitions. The 26-year-old Rochdal

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has begun the search for the most inspiring volunteers in Britain by opening up nominations for the 2013 RYA Volunteer Awards.

'The RYA Volunteer Awards honour the people in our sport who week in, week out, often for a whole lifetime, give up their time to make their organisations successful,' explains Stacey Clark, Chairman of the RYA.

'These people are the backbone of our sailing clubs and these awards provide a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions, time and effort that these volunteers make to enable others to enjoy sailing and boating'.

Nominations open for RYA Volunteer Awards 2014