Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield reaches land

Forced to retire from the round-the-world-race on December 28 after his boat was damaged by a huge wave, Derek Hatfield made landfall on Maatsuyker Island on Saturday.


AFP - Canadian yachtsman Derek Hatfield reached landfall off Australia's south coast on Saturday, drawing his Vendee Globe odyssey to a close.

Hatfield was forced to retire from the round-the-world race on December 28 after his boat Algimouss-Spirit was damaged by a huge wave some 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) from the island state of Tasmania.

After a week making his way to land, the Canadian skipper on Saturday reached the Tasmanian coast.

"I've just made landfall on Maatsuyker Island, one of the outer islands on the south coast of Tasmania," wrote Hatfield in an email about 2pm (0300 GMT).

"The landfall here has been a bit nerve-wracking as yesterday my GPS started operating sporadically and I have been expecting it to go down. I switched to the back-up GPS only to find it wasn't working as well."

Since making landfall Hatfield said he felt "much better" and would spend the night navigating his way up Storm Bay to the state capital Hobart.

"It will be a long night of motoring up Storm Bay but I am looking forward to getting ashore," he said.

The yacht is expected to dock about 1am, when Hatfield will reunite with his wife and two children, who have flown to Hobart to greet him.

The original 30-boat Vendee Globe flotilla left the western French port of Les Sables d'Olonne on November 9, heading down to the Cape of Good Hope before crossing the Indian and Southern oceans south of Australia. 

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