sail-world.com -- Vendee Globe - Leaders shrug off pursuers at Cape Leeuwin + Video
Vendee Globe - Leaders shrug off pursuers at Cape Leeuwin + Video
Sat, 15 Dec 2012
In the Vendee Globe, Francois Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h are the double act which have shared the top two places through the Indian Ocean locked together for six consecutive days now. This evening, probably around midnight, the race’s runaway leaders should pass the longitude of SW Australia’s Cape Leeuwin in quick succession.
They continue to step further and further ahead of third placed Jean-Pierre Dick who is now 329 miles behind Macif.
Le Cléach’s Banque Populaire trails leader Gabart’s Macif by some 26 miles as the young Vendée Globe rookie contemplates passing his second of the course’s three Great Capes. His passage of the worst that the Indian Ocean has thrown at the leaders so far can be characterised by huge confidence and a natural feel for his boat which have almost certainly been the foundations of his consistent speed edge: 'I think it's a question of feeling. There are times when you are more or less at one with your boat. During the record period, I really felt I understood Macif and she was well trimmed and I felt very confident. But that can change. A couple of nights ago, for example, Armel was faster than me. I found it harder to feel how the boat was doing and find the best way to trim her.' Gabart explained today.
<: embed_code7274 :>
Technically the two IMOCA Open 60’s, Macif and Banque Populaire are all but identical but Gabart highlights one difference: ' We don't have the same keels. His fin is made of carbon, which may be lighter, but it is thicker and when averaging 20 knots or more the hydrodynamic aspect means it gives more drag.'
Gabart does not think it at all unusual at all to find himself alongside Le Cléac’h racing head to head for days and nights on end: 'Because of the training and all the preparation we did in Port La Fôret it just does not surprise me. And meantime the pack is dropping behind Armel and I. They no longer have the same conditions and that means we are generating some sizeable distances. And there is every chance the elastic will continue to stretch in the coming hours.'
<: embed_code7275 :>
In fourth place, Britain’s Alex Thomson his preparing to engage with Claudia, the low pressure system previously classified as a cyclone. He been making sure that Hugo Boss is in the best possible shape for what promises to be a more challenging spell of fast reaching.
He plans to use a preliminary period of lighter winds tomorrow morning to try and finalise repairs to his damaged rudder cassette.
Meantime his technical team at their base in Gosport, England have been working hard to create a solution for Thomson to fashion a replacement leg for the smashed hydrogenerator bracket which normally supports the power generating propeller in the water.
'This will be a long term project, something I won't be able to fix until after Cape Horn,' Thomson reported today, 'But I can do the building slowly over time.'
So far Thomson and Hugo Boss have been functioning well in ‘power save mode’. A broken hydrogenerator means that the skipper has had to reduce the use of electricity to the absolute minimum. Vital priorities in the south are the autopilots which draw the most substantial charge, the watermaker, computers and satellite communications equipment. So far Thomson has had to rely on his limited diesel fuel but when he changes on to starboard gybe for a longer period, then the fully functioning hydro should work as normal. Ironically his nearest rival on the course Bernard Stamm, some 90 miles behind in fifth, also has some serious repair work to do to make either of his hydrogenerators work. Claudia is anticipated to bring the duo winds of over 30kts with gusts to 40kts and periods with big seas.
Compared with the last edition, raced in 2008-9, so far the Indian Ocean has been relatively benevolent. Over the period seventh to 22nd December 2008 there was an unprecedented string of damage and retirements. Rudder damage to Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 2 on December 7th was the prelude to the successive retirements of Loic Peyron, Dominque Wavre, Bernard Stamm, Mike Golding, Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty, Yann Eliès and just after that Dick.
'This time, so far we have had no real big storms in the Indian which has been very good for us, very good for the race. It is a nice surprise and now looking ahead to the south of Australia and New Zealand there appears to be nothing nasty.' Affirms Vendée Globe Race Director Denis Horeau.
<: embed_code7271 :>
Tanguy De Lamotte, FRA (Initiatives Coeur): I’m having fun shooting videos. I’m getting used to it no, so it doesn’t take me that long now. Everything’s fine on board, a lot of waves and swell, and even albatrosses behind us, as you can see. We’ll reach the gate soon. (To Charles Caudrelier) You’re the one who first told me about Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, and we just made it possible for a fourth child to get heart surgery, it’s a little girl from Madagascar, her name is Fana, thanks for making that possible.I can’t wait to be back in Les Sables in February to share it all with you.
Every new day now is a new record for me, I’ve never been alone at sea for that long.
François Gabart, FRA, (Macif): The conditions are great, very favourable for high speed, the wind is strong and at a perfect angle. So we can go east very fast. This is pretty much what I was expecting. The Indian Ocean was fast but not too tough. But it’s been more difficult since yesterday, I’m glad we didn’t have the same conditions for 15 days. I have an extremely efficient boat, I’m very happy with that.
Jean Le Cam, FRA, (SynerCiel): Now that I’m not holding the receiver upside down, I can gear you loud and clear! Claudia who? Ah, Claudia!!! She’s not here yet.
I sailed near St Paul Island, no one is supposed to live there but I saw lights, I was a little surprised. But I saw on the AIS that there was a boat in stand by there, it looked pretty big, I guess it was a fishing or exploration boat. I found that strange… But I’m not looking for trouble so I sailed away, not looking back. I’m sailing at 10 knots but it’s frustrating to see others sail at 20 knots. I do have very good wine on board, but only three half-bottles. One every month, it’s all right.
Onesails.com - Workforce
OneSails is the culmination of over 35 years of experience accumulated by our team in design and technology applied to sail-making. [More info]
Burke Marine, suppliers of international quality marine clothing and equipment, was founded by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour in 1971. Visit our website for your nearest stockist. [More info]
Ensign Ship Brokers
Ensign Ship Brokers was established in 1980 and has spent the last 28 years expanding our marine knowledge and developing our reputation! We strive to provide the very best service! [More info]
Festival of Sails
The Festival of Sails is the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere with over 400 yachts and 4300 competitors annually taking part in the event. [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Henri Lloyd was established in 1963 in Manchester, England. Mr Henri, as he became universally known, founded the company based upon hard earned principles of honesty, integrity and freedom. [More info]
Hood Sailmakers (Aust) P/L is 100% Australian owned and operated. The first sail loft outside of the USA to be granted a franchise in 1968 by the founder Ted Hood. [More info]
Mauri Pro Sailing
Your direct access to sailing solutions. 8,000+ products for cruising and racing sailors and sailboats. We search for appropriate sailboat hardware or sailing gear and offer them at competitive prices [More info]
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
Performance Sailcraft Australia (Asia Pacific)
Laser builder Performance Sailcraft Australia has taken on the successful RS Sailboat range from Britain, and is now licensed to build and distribute all of the RS range in the Asia Pacific region. [More info]
Quantum Australasia Pty Ltd
Quantum Sail Design Group designs, engineers and manufactures sails for racers and cruisers who demand the highest levels of quality and performance. [More info]
Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) is an annual four-day event which attracts buyers and marine industry representatives from across Australia and around the globe. [More info]
Sydney Rigging Specialists
Sydney Rigging Specialists is a leading company in the supply of yacht rigging, cordage, marine fittings and accessories. We are based in Sydney and work from our specially fitted out rigging shop. [More info]
Ullman Sails Australia
The Ullman Sails Australia team provides service to customers all over Australia with four main locations in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and the Whitsundays. [More info]