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Southern Spars - North Technology

Vendee Globe - Gains and strikes as skippers enter day 5 at sea

by Vendee Globe on 15 Nov 2012
Macif, Francois Gabart Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendée Globe © http://www.vendeeglobe.org
In the Vendee Globe, Race Direction took a call at 0310hrs CET this morning from Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee. He reported that that he had been struck a glancing blow on the port side of his IMOCA Open 60 by a trawler. At the time, Bureau Valley was about 400 Nm west of Lisbon. The skipper was asleep in the cockpit with his AIS and radar both active. At the time he was making around 18kts with 32kts of SW’ly wind which was making visibility limited.

Burton quickly turned to a NE’ly, downwind course, securing the rig. He found a shroud damaged about 1.8m off the deck. The skipper is fine and is waiting for sunrise (around 0930hrs CET) to make a more complete assessment of the damage to the port shroud before making any decisions.


The dominance of François Gabart at the head of the Vendée Globe fleet continues unchecked even despite the light breezes which the skipper of Macif had to contend with during part of the night. The leader since the first night of racing, last Saturday, was back up to 11kts boat speed early this morning and has, yet again, gained on Bernard Stamm’s second placed Cheminées Poujoulat.

Macif’s lead is 60 miles but there has been a small comeback by some of the group to the north of Macif, notably Armel Le Cléac’ch on Banque Populaire who reduced his deficit to the leader by 16 miles overnight.

Racing some 315miles south east by east of the Azores the group to the north of Macif – including Le Cléac’h, Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec 3, Jérémie Beyou on Maitre Coq, Briton Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss and Vincent Riou on PRB, fought their way out of the light winds contained in a high pressure ridge over yesterday evening and have been making more than ten knots through the night. But their progress is still much more west than south as they work mainly upwind. Now tightly bunched they are firmly in regatta mode with just six miles separating seventh placed Dick from Riou in tenth. Their gains should come later today as their wind rotates to a more favourable NW’ly direction.

The outcome between those who chose to work south longer, notably Gabart, Stamm, Jean Le Cam on SynerCiel in fourth and Mike Golding on Gamesa in fifth this morning, and the northerly fleet is still very much in the balance, but Synerciel and Gamesa should also emerge from the calmer area within the next few hours.

Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss is continuing to enjoy a close, boat for boat battle with French rival Jérémie Beyou on Maitre Coq. Racing near identical Farr designs the duo were sparring less than half a mile apart yesterday evening, crossing close to each other. Beyou is less than two miles ahead this morning.

For Vincent Riou the last 24 hours have seen little useful progress south, down the race track. Indeed the past winner of the Vendée Globe had only made a little over 50 miles in real terms towards the finish at an average of 2.18kts over 24 hours, compared with the 213miles for Gabart.


Still struggling with the lighter breezes off the coast of Portugal have been Tanguy Delamotte on Initiatives Couer and Alessandro di Benedetto on Team Plastique making just three or four knots, whilst Sam Davies, the British skipper in 13th on Savéol has picked up speed making just under 10kts.

Other International:

9 Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss +125 miles to leader
11 Acciona 100% Eco Powered, Javier Sanso, ESP, +169.7 miles to leader
12 Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, SUI +199.9 miles to leader
14 Savéol, Samantha Davies, GBR, +224.6miles to leader
16 Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, ITA, +342.9 miles to leader
17 Energa, Zbigniew Gutkowski, POL, +480.6 miles to leader Vendee Globe website

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