HAMPSHIRE round the world yachtsman Mike Golding said it was “a dream” to finish his third Vendée Globe, becoming the first person ever to do so.
The 52-year-old from Warsash completed the non-stop solo challenge in France at 6.38pm GMT tonight, crossing the Les Sables d’Olonne finish line in 88 days, 6 hours and 36 minutes.
Golding took sixth place, his second-best result in the race after finishing third in 2004 and seventh in 2001, narrowly breaking his 2004 race record by around nine hours.
The only person who could have challenged Golding’s new world record of three Vendee Globe finishes was fellow veteran racer Dominique Wavre, but the Frenchman just missed out and was due to finish in seventh place tomorrow.
Golding waved as he sailed his 60ft yacht Gamesa into the marina to applause from onlookers, bringing to an end what he promised was his last Vendée Globe.
“I didn’t do this Vendée Globe, or any other, to stack up the numerical supremacy,” Golding said.
“I did them to compete, and to win it would have been a dream.
“I haven't done that but in pursuing that dream I have made several others come true, including this one of having finished the race successfully three times.
“It's an honour to hold that accolade.”
Golding has sailed through some of the worst environments known to man including the feared Southern Ocean – but even within a hundred miles of the finish, the Bay of Biscay threw up 50 knot winds in one final challenge.
“It is a relief to finish,” he added as he stepped ashore to meet his wife Andrea and nine-year-old son Soren.
“It has not been the easiest of Vendée Globes – in fact it has been the hardest without any question, because of the weather.”
He has has been plagued with problems during the 27,281 miles he sailed including damage to a vital sail as well as his yacht's keel, the part of the boat that keeps it upright.
Golding has also had to contend with close competition from his Vendée Globe rivals, especially Frenchman Jean Le Cam who finished fifth just hours ahead.
Prior to the start of the race, Golding said he had intentions of winning – but in finishing sixth, 10 days behind race winner Francois Gabart, he has still secured his place in the record books.