sail-world.com -- Vendee Globe - Final sprint begins
Vendee Globe - Final sprint begins
Fri, 25 Jan 2013
Vendee Globe 2012 -13 has been fun but the time is coming to bring down the final curtain and move along because the home strait sprint has begun. This morning, the two race leaders passed the symbolic 1000 miles point from Les Sables d'Olonne, the start and finish of the solo race around our beautiful planet.
Doing between 15 and 17 knots throughout the night in a west wind of 20 knots, François Gabart (Macif) has a tight grip on the lead in the seventh Vendée Globe, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) slight gains overnight are not significant enough to dent the 101 mile lead of the ‘Goldenboy’ Gabart. Both sailing on a port tack they have one last gybe to make before they sail directly home. Gabart will turn in the morning and Le Cléac'h around four hours later. The new arrival time for the first boat is now Sunday January 27 at 3 am.
732 miles behind the leaders, 450 miles south-west of the Azores, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) is sailing keel-less in a south-westerly wind of 15 knots doing an average speed of 10 knots and covering in the last 24 hours, a respectable distance of 230 miles. It is a remarkable feat considering the major damage suffered by the skipper and the challenges this ill-fated situation imposes upon him. It is not enough however, to keep Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) at bay, who is sailing consistently 2.5 knots faster. He is currently 35 miles behind Dick and is expected to pass him today. It will be a bittersweet moment for Thomson. This will not be his preferred conclusion. The trials and tribulations of ocean yacht racing alters the perspective of the competitor. To endure three months of your life, in such inhospitable conditions, in order to realise your dreams and to have them broken beneath you in a matter moments so close and yet so far from the end is not the outcome that any member of the fleet wishes upon another.
To stop or continue is the dilemma that Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) continues to battle with. He will make his decision Sunday. Heading towards the west of the Azores in fickle southwest winds of 15-20 knots, moving around to the south this evening, as he approaches the islands it gives Jean-Pierre Dick time to get the measure of the situation. He is assessing his boat and it’s performance with different sail combinations and filled ballasts. Is it stable enough? This is what he must decide. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) is determined individual and from the outset he was sailing to win but now to simply finish this hardcore race would be a victory in itself. Can he do it?
For both Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Mike Golding (Gamesa) will have water draining anti-clockwise down their plugholes once more as they cross the Equator into the northern hemisphere. Although this will be the last thing on their minds as they have both encountered the worst South Atlantic in both their long careers. Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) passed 19.22 GMT after 75 days, 6 hours and 58 minutes of racing and Mike Golding (Gamesa) passed 5 hours later at 00.14 GMT after 75 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes and 26 seconds of racing.
Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) 440 miles behind Le Cam has had a better day than most in the tortuous South Atlantic as he is the only sailor to make double digits over 24 hours. With a 10-15 knot wind he should cross the Equator is around 30 hours. Still far to the west, 80 miles off the Brazilian coast, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) seems to be picking up speed, while a very frustrated Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) is trapped in a windless hole, with no wind instruments crawling along at 4.2 knots. It’s not the high speeds that send skippers crazy but instead being becalmed going nowhere fast which drives them to distraction.
Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) is 168 miles behind the Spaniard while Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) is a further 300 miles behind. 4323 behind the leader, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) will be a winner because without doubt he has captured the hearts and minds of us all. The road is long for him but the support unending and he will be cheered on until the very end.
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]
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]
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]