sail-world.com -- Vendée Globe - Banque Populaire retakes lead
Vendée Globe - Banque Populaire retakes lead
Wed, 19 Dec 2012
Vendée Globe skipper Armel the Jackal has taken the lead with 37 days, 20 hours, 70 miles to the longitude of Hobart. They call him The Jackal because of his relentless hunting exploits in French sailing races and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) is showing why in this Vendée Globe. After eating away at the lead Francois Gabart (Macif) took from him on December 11, Le Cléac’h had the final bite as they crossed the East Australia gate.
It may seem illogical or that it does not matter with more than half the globe still to sail, but try telling that to either man. They have been almost match-racing each other around the world and they and their teams will care a lot.
For Le Cléac’h, the senior of the duo by six years and in his second Vendée after finishing second in the last edition in 2008-09, it is about reasserting his authority.
The pattern of their approaches so far continued at this gate with Gabart ceding the lead as he took a longer, more northerly route. The two had indentical speeds – 17.3 knots - through the northern hemisphere night but their day but Gabart will have to sail more miles now as they turn south of New Zealand (800 miles east) and into the Pacific. At the 0400hrs ranking Gabart had sailed 14,248.56 miles compared to Le Cléac’h’s 13,868.16 miles. Nearly always Le Cléac’h has looked for the more direct route. Gabart is banking on picking up the forecast wind shift from west to north first. So, expect more match-racing today.
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) lost ground on the leaders but was making the best speed in the fleet – 20.4 knots in the last hour as he continues his match race with Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) on the longitude of Hobart.
Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), in sixth, has been dealing with rough conditions and 40-knot southwesterlies. But he may be glad of it when he looks behind and sees that a small area of ??high pressure may block the road for Mike Golding (Gamesa) as he approaches the West Australia gate.
'The thing is just now is that it looks like Jean Le Cam will be able to hold on to the system for two or three more skeds (rankings), I have just run his routing and that’s how it looks,' Golding wrote. 'That is frustrating but I can’t do anything about it. I am under full main and Code 3, but at some point I hope there’ll be a payback.
'Last night was pretty full on at times. I had the boat up to 30kts on the surfs at one stage but the only trouble is you end up slamming into waves and that’s not good for the boat.
'But it is starting to feel pretty frustrating because we just never seem to have got going for any length of time. The weather behind is pretty slack. We will just have to look forward to the Pacific.'
It could be a moment for Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud), 190 miles behind and Javier Sansó (Acciona 100% EcoPowered), 350 miles behind to make significant gains.
Tanguy ‘Smoke on the Water’ de Lamotte has perhaps the toughest 24 hours ahead with shifting winds between 35 and 50 knots and a huge sea and up to nine metre waves forecast. If the Indian Ocean looked mild last week, de Lamotte will remember his first visit to it more keenly now as he goes into survival mode rather than racing.
Meanwhile Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3), on his own in third, is 250 miles south west of the East Australia gate and in similar position to where the two leaders gybed north yesterday.
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]
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]
Hamilton Island Luxury Accommodation
Full range of private apartments, villas and houses on Hamilton Island. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 bedroom options available. All include buggy and island airport or marina transfers. [More info]
Multihull Solutions is Australia and New Zealand’s premier offshore and cruising catamaran and trimaran specialist, offering sales and servicing of the world’s finest multihull brands.
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]
OziOpti is all about 'getting kids in boats' and the Australian company supporting the introduction to of the world’s most popular junior sailing yacht, the 'International Optimist Dinghy' [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]
Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week
Entries for the fourth annual Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week have opened! 4 days of racing, 5 days of fun – that is what you can look forward to from 3-7 September at Magnetic Island. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]