Please select your home edition
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - LEADERBOARD

Switzerland's Alan Roura (La Fabrique) finishes 17th in the Vendée Globe

by Vendée Globe 11 Feb 12:13 PST 11 February 2021

Alan Roura, the young Swiss skipper of La Fabrique, crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe at 19:29:56hrs UTC today (Thursday 11th February) to secure 17th position after 95 days, six hours, nine minutes and 56 seconds of racing.

Completing his second Vendée Globe today at just 27 years of age, Roura was the youngest competitor among the 33 solo skippers who left Les Sables d'Olonne on Sunday November 8th.

In the 2016-17 edition, Roura made history, then at 23 years old, as the youngest ever sailor to finish the race. This time, and racing a more modern, competitive boat than in 2016-17, Roura suffered technical problems with his keel hydraulics early in the race which reoccurred until he finally had to fix his keel in a central position resulting in a loss of performance.

Roura grew up very much as a child of the oceans graduating from his native Lake Geneva as a typical six-year-old in an Optimist to extended blue water family cruising from the age of eight where his classroom was learning the lore and the skills of ocean passages. Encountering Mini Transat competitors in Lanzarote in 2001, Roura was inspired and bought his own Mini 650 on which he cruised extensively at the age of 15 around the Caribbean Islands, learning and training on his own.

Roura did the Mini Circuit from 2009 before moving to the IMOCA class with the Superbigou on which he did the Route du Rhum (2014), the Transat Jacques Vabre (2015, finishing 10th) and then his first edition of the Vendée Globe (2016).

To be considered an adventurer does not sit well with Roura; he regards himself as racer and his solo North Atlantic record of 7 days 16 hours and which he set in 2019 underpins his competitive drive. He is a tough, accomplished skipper capable of incredible feats when fate is against him. Four years ago, the skipper crashed into an unidentified floating object near Point Nemo and replaced his rudder despite 45 knots of wind.

For this 2020 edition, Roura set up his programme to be more competitive, taking on the 2007 Finot Conq design which finished second in 2009 with Armel Le Cléac'h. His aim was to finish in the top third of the fleet and he fitted foils to enhance the boat's performance.

In the first days before the intertropical depression Theta, which sweeps the Atlantic, the fronts followed one another. The skipper of La Fabrique spoke of his doubts at the time, confiding: "Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here."

But he held firm until at the end of November, Roura faced his first major oil leak from his keel rams. "With every movement of the keel, oil spurts out," he explained. With difficult repairs to make, the gaps to the leaders got bigger all the time.

Roura struggled with the disappointment that he was no longer competitive within the front runners and at losing touch with the top group. "I have a sadness deep inside me that I find hard to accept," he explained when racing south of Madagascar.

After entering the Pacific on Christmas Day, he was the victim of another oil leak on the 26th December. And so, he began another repair session that took him more than 12 hours to get the keel hydraulic system fixed with the keel in the middle of the boat. Then he had to climb the mast and also repair his hydrogenator whilst always keeping an eye on his keel problems. "I'm in survival mode," he said at the time.

The climb back up the Atlantic wasn't good either with tough and changeable weather. But a stoic Roura observed: "My rivals out here probably have their worries too, but I really feel that my situation is the worst possible. I really see this Vendée Globe as such a mental and physical test."

Finally, after over 80 days of racing, he was rewarded over the final ten days with a close battle. His match race with Stéphane Le Diraison saw them side by side for the final 48 hours before the finish. "It adds spice, it's really cool," Roura reported.

It is not the first time the two skippers have found themselves in such a situation, and two years ago only 4 minutes and 43 seconds separated them on the finish line of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. Roura won that match between the near identical Finot Conq designs and was able to repeat the feat again today, after gaining in the final miles of the race.

Although he was not spared his troubles on this Vendée Globe, the Swiss racer finished it for the second time in a row and that is a feat in itself. And he is already dreaming bigger again.

The stats of Alan Roura's race:

  • He covered the 24,365 miles of the theoretical course at an average speed of 10.66 knots.
  • Distance actually travelled on the water: 28,603 miles at 12.51 knots of average speed

The great passages:

Equator (outward): 18th on 20/11/2020 at 14h53 UTC after 12d 01h 33min of racing, 2d 01h 34min after Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS)
Cape of Good Hope: 14th on 06/12/2020 at 14h38 UTC after 28d 01h 18min of racing, 5d 15h 27min after Charlie Dalin (Apivia)
Cape Leeuwin: 15th on 21/12/2020 08h13 UTC after 42d 18h 53min race, 7d 20h 47min after Charlie Dalin (Apivia)
Cape Horn: 15th on 11/01/2021 13h01 UTC after 63d 23h 41min of race, 8d 23h 18min after Yannick Bestaven (Maitre CoQ IV)
Equator (back): 16th on 27/01/2021 14h58 UTC after 80d 01h 38min of race, 10d 19h 46min after Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2)

His boat:

  • Architect: Finot - Conq
  • Builders: Multiplast
  • Launched: 2007

Find out more...

Related Articles

Sam Davies completes solo Vendée Globe route
Thousands of well wishers turned out to pay tribute to an inspirational solo round the world passage After being forced to abandon her race on 5th December following a violent collision with a floating object, British skipper Sam Davies sailed back into Les Sables d'Olonne in beautiful spring sunshine to a rapturous welcome this afternoon. Posted on 26 Feb
Big Hearted Sam Davies Leaves Her Mark
Set to arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne very early this afternoon Sam Davies will enter the channel back into Les Sables d'Olonne very early this afternoon, around 1215hrs UTC (1315hrs local time) and is expected to get a warm welcome for her remarkable solo round the world achievement which she completed last night. Posted on 26 Feb
Vendée Globe: Getting back to 'normal' part 2
Didac Costa has returned to work with the Fire Service in Barcelona It is more than two weeks now since Pip Hare finished her Vendee Globe and she is now back at home in Poole, England. Didac Costa has returned to work with the Fire Service in Barcelona and Kojiro Shiraishi has flown back to Japan. Posted on 25 Feb
Isabelle Joschke completes solo round the world
After she fought for 16 days to bring her boat to safety into Salvador de Bahia Franco German skipper Isabelle Joschke was rewarded with beautiful spring sunshine and a big, warm and affectionate welcome back to the Les Sables d'Olonne channel today after completing her solo circumnavigation outwith the final Vendée Globe rankings. Posted on 24 Feb
Vendée Globe: Alain Gautier interview
"Isabelle had the potential to finish very well" Alain Gautier: "We must be careful with this home straight because there can still be problem. It was windy last night, there are cargo ships, she crossed the Cape Finisterre TSS and I think the night was not very restful". Posted on 23 Feb
Vendée Globe update: The sting in the tale?
The last miles are often the most tense Nearly every Vendée Globe, including this ninth edition, has delivered a sting in the tail of one sort or another to unfortunate solo skippers. Posted on 22 Feb
Manuel Cousin finishes 23rd in the Vendée Globe
'You have to live your dreams not dream your life away' 'You have to live your dreams not dream your life away' - That was the maxim that drove Manuel Cousin to leave his life as an executive selling forklift trucks to major accounts with Toyota, to move from his native Normandy to Les Sables d'Olonne. Posted on 20 Feb
Vendée Globe: Manuel Cousin due Saturday morning
Joschke and Davies slow to avoid worst of the storms Manuel Cousin will bring his IMOCA Groupe SÉTIN across the finish line of the Vendée Globe tomorrow morning - estimated for between 0500hrs and 1000hrs UTC - and return back into Les Sables d'Olonne the town where he has lived for 12 years. Posted on 19 Feb
Manuel Cousin next to finish in the Vendée Globe
Merron talks of her race in Les Sables d'Olonne After the finish of Britain's Miranda Merron the next finisher on the Vendée Globe should be the French skipper Manuel Cousin, the 53 year old former motor industry executive who is expected to cross the finish line off. Posted on 18 Feb
Miranda Merron 22nd in the Vendee Globe
British skipper on Campagne de France finishes after 101 days at sea With her usual quiet, understated efficiency British skipper Miranda Merron completed the Vendée Globe solo round the world race quest this Wednesday night, breaking the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne, France at 22:16:51hrs UTC Posted on 18 Feb
Official-Event-Store-Navy 728x90 BOTTOMVaikobi 2021 - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER