73-year-old Frenchman Wins Solo Round-the-world Sailing Race

A 73-year-old French sailor has won an unusual, around-the-world yacht race after 212 days alone at sea without modern instruments — his first sailing victory.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede arrived Tuesday in the harbor of Les Sables d'Olonne in western France in his Rustler 36, the first to finish the 30,000-mile Golden Globe race. Of the 19 sailors who started out last July, only five were still in the race Tuesday.

French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, 73, waves aboard his Rustler 36, Matmut, after winning the Golden Globe Race, a single-handed round the world yacht race, after 212 days alone at sea, in Les Sables-d’Olonne harbor, western France, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

Among those greeting Van Den Heede was British sailor Robin Knox-Johnston, who won the only other Golden Globe race — 50 years ago.

The race involves solo sailors navigating with a sextant and paper maps, and communicating only occasionally with the outside world via short-wave radio.

French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, 73, right, aboard his Rustler 36, Matmut, is congratulated by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston of Britain, after winning the Golden Globe Race, a single-handed round the world yacht race, after 212 days alone at sea, in Les Sables-d’Olonne harbor, western France, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

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