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sail-world.com -- Vendee Globe - Long and intense duel + Video

Vendee Globe - Long and intense duel + Video    
Sun, 3 Feb 2013

Their Vendée Globe battle has been nearly as long and intense as that of winner François Gabart against second placed Armel Le Cléac’h, and it is definitely proving an engaging postcript to the podium finishes, but British skipper Mike Golding insists he is not stressing about Jean Le Cam’s strategy which is the very opposite to his.

For the first time since December 12th, Golding overhauled his French nemesis last night – according to the computation of the rankings - but affirmed this afternoon on Vendée Globe LIVE ! that he takes little store from his elevated position on the leaderboard, as it will be a couple of days before it is really known how the end game to their opposite thinking will play out.

'I am not too worried about where Jean Le Cam is anyway. At the end of the day what will be will be,' Golding responded when he was asked if he looked forward to the point at the end of the race that he could cease to monitor Le Cam’s every move.

' To overtake him I needed to do something different, so I am maybe just a little bit further ahead and his routing is sending him over the top, given some of the courses he is sailing it is obviously not ideal, whereas I am just trying to cut on the inside. I still end up fast in Biscay so it could be quite interesting.'

Golding sounded upbeat but very much ready for the end of his Vendée Globe to arrive. Le Cam, who passed just to the East of the Azores island of Sao Miquel, is now separated by more than 265 miles NW of Golding and was very slightly quicker than him. Whilst Golding’s track – well to the east – will allow him to sail less miles, he will initially be upwind and then reaching across the Bay of Biscay in quite boisterous, tough conditions – up to 35kts of wind perhaps.

Le Cam, on SynerCiel, will sail more NW initially around the edge of the high, but for the extra miles he sails he will have a fast downwind passage to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne. Le Cam was not reached today for his Vendée Globe LIVE! slot.

The computer predicted routings show little to choose between the two different strategies, a lot depending on the evolution of the high pressure and how a new low pressure arrives from the west.

The end of a tough Vendée Globe is almost within touching distance for Jean-Pierre Dick who remains on hold at his bolt hole in San Cyprian on Spain’s NW coast. He is making ready to nurse his IMOCA Open 60 Virbac-Paprec 3 which has lost its keel the final 290 miles across Biscay to finish a Vendée Globe for the second time.

Dick was sixth in the 2004-5 edition, finishing with no power, and had to retire into New Zealand after severe rudder damage in 2008-9. He, to a certain extent like Golding, had higher hopes and expectations of a better placing in this race and just wants to get across the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, back to his young family and ready to move on to his next sailing project. JP plans to leave this Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, but the determining factor will be suitable conditions to sail off his mooring and out of the harbour. He expects winds of around 20kts for the course to the finish, confirming that he will be in no hurry. Safety comes first especially when you have no keel and are so close to the finish.

At 84 days of racing today, passing at 1302hrs today Saturday, the 2008-9 record of Michel Desjoyeaux, 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes, elapses early this evening. And so only three skippers will have surpassed that record François Gabart (78 days 2 hours 16 minutes), Armel Le Cléac'h (78 d 5 h 33 min) and Alex Thomson (80 d 19 h 23 min).

Swiss skipper Dominique Wavre, tramping north in the steadier tradewinds on Mirabaud has taken back some 200 miles on Jean Le Cam and Mike Golding in the last 24 hours but he now faces that same strategic decision that the two protagonists ahead of him have had to make: west or east for the anticyclone. The slower, shorter route or the motorway ring road. Wavre has yet to choose.

For Arnaud Boissières on Akéna Vérandas and Javier Sanso on Acciona 100% Eco Powered, it is the upwind or close reaching regime of the NE’ly trade winds which they have to power them north, before they too need to prepare their strategy for the final major weather hurdle:

' The winds are a bit ahead to the Azores high, then it is complicated. It seems like the guys in front of me are going to be going under the high, but I think I am a little bit behind them and so I might need to go a little bit above or through the centre, maybe if it goes to the left a little I will be able to go to the right. So I don’t know. It is changing every time, changing. It is not very well defined yet. It is complicated,' mused Sanso on Vendée Globe LIVE.

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Bertrand de Broc is frustrated again in light airs. He has been offered very little luck in this Vendée Globe and has been losing miles to the boats in front of him, and has seen his ETA slip by one day already. In 11th Tanguy de Lamotte has suffered a bit in the last hours with unstable wind and rough seas.

But for 12th placed Alessandro di Benedetto his conditions are perfect, a dream, and he has been encouraged by positive messages from ‘Cali’, Arnaud Boissières. On present predictions the effervescent Italian skipper could finish around the 18th or 19th of February which would be five or six days quicker than Boissières made in 2008-9 on the boat, although the French skipper from Arcachon suffered a very slow, upwind ascent of the South Atlantic in that edition.

Di Benedetto confirmed: 'I'm fine, I'm in the the sun and I have continued to get faster and faster. Last night I made an average of over 300 miles in 24 hours. I think I break the equator in the next two to two and a half days. I am getting ever closer to home.'

ETA’s at 2nd February:

- Jean Le Cam Wednesday 6 February
- Mike Golding + 8 hours
- Bernard Stamm (hors course) 6 or 7 February
- Dominique Wavre et Arnaud Boissières Friday 8 February
- Javier Sanso 8 or 9 February
- Bertrand de Broc 12 February
- Tanguy De Lamotte 15 or 16 February
- Alessandro Di Benedetto between the 18 and 20 February

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) Virbac-Paprec 3 (FRA): I had a good night’s sleep. The important thing is that the worry about the ropes and the mooring is over now because the wind is less strong so I will focus today on preparing the boat and just trying to wash some things and also preparing the mainsail, so that everything is ready for the night or early morning when I leave. I will decide in the afternoon what I am going to do. I am still in a fractional mode when it comes to sleeping, so I wake up basically every two hours now, and I had a little bit of difficulty to sleep between two and four and then I read a book a little bit, then I fell asleep. I feel like I am better now than when I arrived on the 31st of January. There is less stress just now, but sailing without a keel is more stressful than with a keel. So I am much better now. It is medium weather, there is some wind, so it will be fine to get moving. It wont exceed 20kts, maybe a little bit more, but not more and the wind direction is actually quiet pushing me and reaching. So I wont be a bullet, I am not going to be the fastest boat in the fleet, but the important thing is that I am moving forwards slowly to the goal. It is less than 300 miles so it is going to be a very nice time for me to cross this finish line. Maybe it will be a late lunch on Monday, afternoon at the earliest.

Tanguy De Lamotte (FRA) Initiatives-Coeur: I’m fine. We had an exceptional night yesterday as we had over 30,000 clicks on the website. We can save two children with it. I feel so good about that so it gives me strength and energy for the rest of the race. I’m hopefully getting out of the Doldrums right now. Yesterday night I had a lot of wind and no sun. Today, the weather is awesome. There is not a single cloud in the sky. When it’s hot like that I just lay on my bunk by the window and enjoy the fresh air.

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Arnaud Boissières (FRA, Akéna Vérandas), to Alessandro (sailing the former Akéna Vérandas): 'I like to see you sailing like that and with this very special boat. It will be its fourth Vendée Globe. It really means a lot to me that you are doing well with it.’ It was great to talk to him. As I told him, I use to sail with his boat. So I like to see them doing well.' And there are 15-20 knots of wind. It’s a nice sailing around the Azores. I’m always looking at the files, maybe too much. I’m not sure to be able to get back at Dominique. I’m 120 miles behind him. I’m going to fight until the end. I don’t want to finish with any regrets.

Mike Golding (GBR) Gamesa: I am making reasonable progress. To overtake him I needed to do something different, so I am maybe just a little bit further ahead and his routing is sending him over the top, given some of the courses he is sailing it is obviously not ideal, whereas I am just trying to cut on the inside. I still end up fast in Biscay so it could be quite interesting. I’ve been changing sails, charging the batteries, fixing my pedestal winch which I have lost the overdrive on my pedestal because the chain has come off, so that was a bit awkward. So I have been busy. I am looking forwards to be back with my family. That is what you really miss when you are out here. It will nice to be back to not to have to do the same things. To be honest now it is starting to feel like a grind, doing the same things over and over again. And so it will be nice for that to stop. I am not too worried about where Jean Le Cam is anyway. At the end of the day what will be will be.

Alessandro Di Benedetto, (ITA) Team-Plastique: It’s sunny; I’ve been sailing quicker and quicker over the last few days. I should cross the equator in two days. So far this race has been much more complicated than with my 6.5m Mini boat. I do feel much more secure with this boat. This boat is big, I have space inside it’s really comfortable compared to my other boat.I’m almost done with my sail repairs. I’m waiting for the right moment to pull up my gennaker. It’s my only headsail as I lost the other one.

Vendee Globe website

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by Vendee Globe



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