Round-the-world solo sailor Pip Hare given ‘incredible’ home-coming reception

Pip Hare returns
Pip Hare returns
PA Wire

Well-wishers have lined the waterfront to welcome British sailor Pip Hare as she returned home having become only the eighth woman to finish a round-the-world yacht race.

The 47-year-old, waving flares in her 60ft yacht Medallia, was given a police escort and was met by a lifeboat and other small craft as she arrived at PooleDorset

Ms Hare came in 19th place in the Vendee Globe race when she crossed the finish line at Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, on February 12.

Taking the position of the first British skipper to finish, she had completed the solo round-the-world race in 95 days, 11 hours and 37 minutes while sailing in the race’s second oldest boat.

Speaking to PA, she said: “It’s great to be home, what a reception it was. I approached the coast and two boats came racing out and that was my police escort, that was joined by a lifeboat and a pilot boat and a Rib with my crew on board.

“There were loads of people with Union Jacks, waving and shouting and horn-blowing, we had asked people not to come and to stay safe but I am incredibly touched that people came out.”

Ms Hare said one of the hardest moments during the race was when the boat suffered a broken rudder in the Southern Ocean – one of the remotest spots at sea in the world – and had to carry out the repair between storms.

She said: “I never doubted that I could get round but the most important thing for me was the competition, I had the second oldest boat in the fleet and at times I was ahead of boats four generations younger than mine and any breakage could mean I couldn’t perform at the level I was.”

Ms Hare said that the solitude of solo sailing had not been a problem for her.

She said: “The main difference between my solitude and the solitude people are experiencing at the moment is that I chose it and I chose something I am incredibly passionate, for me I enjoy it.

“You are so focussed on what you are doing, you do not notice you are on your own and satellite comms are so good, I was able to contact people as much as I wanted, I had email, text message and I had a group of friends and family on shore whenever I needed them.”

Pip Hare returns

Ms Hare said she had been surviving on naps to get her sleep during the race.Describing what she had been missing most, she said: “I guess my coffee machine is definitely up there and for sure my bed, I have been sleeping on a bean bag on the floor for quite a while.

“I averaged about four hours in a 24-hour period but the main thing is you nap, you only sleep for about 30 minutes at a time. Effectively I have trained to do it, I have been sailing solo at international level for 12 years now and I had to learn to do it to start with but now it’s something I can do quite naturally.”

For her 47th birthday, Ms Hare received video messages from Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and other well-wishers organised by a local radio station.

She said: “It was one of the kindest things that anybody has ever done for me, for everybody who recorded a message, they didn’t know me but they took the time to record me a message.

“It came at a great time, it just followed a week where I was really struggling, emotionally I was wiped out and I had not been very well.”

Ms Hare said as an elite sportswoman she was not required to quarantine on returning to the UK.She said: “My body has been through quite an ordeal for 95 days so I need to be careful, to look after myself, I think my immune system isn’t as strong as it could be.

“I will do a family Zoom and see them face to face as soon as I can.”

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