Cambridgeshire's Pip Hare is first Brit to cross the finish line in 2021 Vendée Globe

  • Pip spoke to us from France earlier today. Watch the video to find out about her experience in the Vendee Globe Race, and to see her virtually re-united with her proud parents in Suffolk.

In the early hours of this morning, Pip Hare from Cambridgeshire crossed the finish line in France of the gruelling Vendée Globe solo non-stop race around the world.

It took her 95 days, 11 hours, 37 mins and 30 seconds, and took her to the toughest places to sail on the planet, but her achievement is much greater than the time it took.

Her boat was 21 years old - the oldest to finish. She became only the 8th woman ever to complete the race, and the first British skipper to cross the finishing line this time round. 

The Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm, who built Hare’s boat over 20 years ago, said she was his 'hero'. 

The Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm, who built Hare’s boat over 20 years ago, said she was his 'hero'.  Credit: ITV News Anglia

The 45-year-old, who lives in Huntingdon, has sailed 24,000 miles, non stop and with no help from others in some of the world's most remote and extreme environments. 

Pip learned to sail on the Suffolk coast and it has long been a dream of hers to compete in what she called one of "the greatest sporting challenges on the planet."

Speaking at the finish line, Pip said:

Pip Hare competing in the Vendee Globe race. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Hare has been giving daily video reports online throughout the race, something that the Vendée committee have credited with 'demystifying solo ocean racing'. It's also seen her global following grow exponentially, especially in the race's ancestral home of France. Veteran French ocean racer, Jean Le Cam, who finished fourth, said:

Pip Hare hugs Jean Le Cam at the finish line Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/Vendee Globe

Her race was not without drama though- she overcame a deadly technical problem in the depths of the Southern Ocean when she had to replace one of her rudders at the Earth's most remote point. Here's what she had to say about it:

"I never ever had a moment where I thought I can't go on, but one of the toughest moments was definitely when I broke a rudder in the Southern Ocean, because I was closest to Point Nemo, which is the most remote place on the Earth.

"At Point Nemo you're closer to somebody in the International Space Station than you are on a continental land mass, and I broke a rudder there, and in the middle of the ocean on my own I had to replace a rudder, and normally this is something you do on dry land and by lifting the boat out of the water."

Pip pulled back 100 miles in the last 36 hours. Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/Vendee Globe

Even today just over one month on from her rudder damage, Hare was still pushing to close every last mile on the pack ahead of her.

She was less than 50 miles from 18th placed Stéphane Le Diraison at the line, having pulled back more than 100 miles in the final 36 hours.

Her performance has drawn comparison with Dame Ellen MacArthur whose 94 days and 4-hour time from the 2000-2001 race was one of Hare’s benchmarks on a boat built in the same year and launched in the same month as MacArthur’s.

Pip grew up in a typical sailing family. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Hare grew up in a typical sailing family in Cambridgeshire and became a sailing instructor, professional sailing coach and journalist.

While she only took the plunge into solo racing with the OSTAR race to Newport RI in 2009, the Lightwave 395 racer cruiser she raced across the Atlantic was her home for 13 years.

She sailed tens of thousands of miles as far as Patagonia and Uruguay before sailing the boat home solo across the Atlantic.

Pip at the finish line in France this morning Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/Vendée Globe

Completing the race puts Pip's name up there with the world's greatest sailors - and she's not done yet. Asked if it was her last Vendée Globe she said: