By now multihulls no longer hit the headlines and the Europe 1 STAR had turned into a French battle, at least for overall victory. There were no new trimarans except for Banque Populaire. The 60ft IMOCA monohulls shunned the event to concentrate on the Vendee Globe. Amateurs took advantage to come back in force in the smaller classes while observers already knew that the podium would be a contest between Peyron, Bourgnon, Vatine and Joyon. But it was the latter who created the surprise by choosing a route not used by anyone since Blondie Hasler in 1960, the Northern route. Joyon went far to the North passing over the top of the centres of the depressions that were slowing his adversaries on the direct route. He had more than a 300-mile lead by the time he had reached the Newfoundland Banks and nothing seemed capable of stopping him from breaking the record for the crossing. But it was without counting on the unstable breezes that knocked him down just over 400 miles from the finish. A similar fate befell Laurent Bourgnon.
Loïck Peyron was able to savour a second successive victory, with a time very close to Philippe Poupon’s 1988 record in spite of significantly less favourable weather conditions. Paul Vatine came in just four hours behind the winner.
Devon pub landlord Peter Crowther was rescued when, on his fifth race, his junk-rigged Galway Blazer hit an object and sank.