Jeremie Beyou was left wondering what might have been when he became the 13th skipper to cross the finish line of the solo round-the-world race just after 08h15GMT on Saturday.
The Frenchman completed the route in 89d 18hrs 55min which makes him the 13th finisher in Les Sables d'Olonne, 9d 15hr 11min behind the winner Yannick Bestaven.
But Beyou ought to have been one of the half-dozen challenging to win the race in its final exciting charge to the line.
His race, however, was complicated, and his bid for victory ended, by damage to his boat Charal two days in which prompted a return to the start.
After some rapid repair work, Beyou began for a second time, nine days behind the rest of the flotilla. For a month he was chasing the backmarkers before slowly picking his way through the field which is currently down to 25 from the 33 starters.
From the restart, therefore, he took 80d 16hr and 5min -- just 10 hours more than Charlie Dalin who was the first to cross the finish line.
"I'm super proud of what I did in the end," said Beyou.
"It's sport, it's racing, it's sailing, it can happen.
"What's certain in sport is that you should never give up even if the scenarios are not what you expected.
"It is not the Vendee Globe that I was hoping for but it is so beautiful to have arrived at the end that it was worth it."
Beyou was one of the pre-race favourites in his modern generation 'foiler' but after hitting an unidentified floating object off the coast of Spain he then lost his rudder and detection system.
He returned to port and considered giving up after this "punch in the face".
"I was there to win but I was forgetting about the human notion, the notion of pleasure, the notion of sharing, " said the 44-year-old competing in his fourth Vendee.
"I didn't think we could do everything at the same time but then I discovered that it was possible. It was a big victory over myself."