Time bonuses decided the trophy between three Frenchmen, who finished within minutes of each other after 80 days sailing around the world
Yannick Bestaven, the 48-year-old French skipper, has been crowned the winner of the Vendee Globe yacht race in the closest finish of the event ever.
There is no such thing as an easy round-the-world sailing victory, and so it was that Frenchman Charlie Dalin actually crossed the line first at Les Sables d'Olonne first, ahead of compatriot Louis Burton on Wednesday (27th January).
Bestaven crossed the finish line in third, but took the overall race victory due to the time compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes he was awarded for his role in the search and rescue of Kevin Escoffier.
"I feel like I'm living a dream, hallucinating," said Bestaven, who was greeted by a fireworks display.
"We go from total solitude to this, to this party, to these lights. This result is beyond my expectations. After struggling as we struggled, a victory with Maitre CoQ IV is a dream!"
Dalin was awarded second overall, with Burton in third.
The ninth edition of the non-stop race began on 8th November 2020, with the solo skippers covering almost 29,000 nautical miles unaided.
But it was far from plain sailing in the maritime odyssey, where eight skippers did not finish.
Three days in, pre-event favourite Jeremie Beyou was forced to return 600 nautical miles to the start after colliding with a floating object and damaging his rudder.
On day 22, Escoffier was forced to abandon his yacht, after a huge wave off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa broke his hull in two.
The Frenchman spent 11 freezing hours in a life raft before being rescued by compatriot and fellow competitor Jean Le Cam, with other competitors also diverting as part of the rescue effort.
After suffering numerous sail problems, Burton recovered more than 800 nautical miles on Dalin after having to repair on the remote Macquarie island.
There was heartbreak for Germany's Herrmann, who was hoping to become the race's first German winner. He was quietly confident too, carrying a six-hour time compensation for the Escoffier rescue, before running into a fishing trawler 90 miles from home.
"I was sleeping and I woke up looking at this huge wall of the fishing trawler... I heard a sail ripping and I was bouncing a few times with the outrigger into the fishing vessel," said Herrmann, who limped towards the finish in a patched-up yacht.
Vendee Globe Arrival - Les Sables d'Olone
Full replays from the finish line are now available to watch on Olympic Channel, along with highlights from the 80 days of sailing.