Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Vendee Globe - The battle will be bitter to the end

by Vendee Globe on 25 Jan 2013
View from onboard Mirabaud - 2012 Vendee Globe © Dominique Wavre
In the Vendee Globe, it is difficult to know for sure what is really happening in the minds of the leading duo. One thing is certain the battle will be bitter to the end. Just over 1200 miles from the finish at Les Sables d'Olonne, the suspense is gripping in the final strait of the seventh edition of the Vendée Globe. On paper yesterday it looked like this morning François Gabart (Macif) in the heart of the Azores archipelago, between the island of Tercera and San Miguel, would begin to charge ahead by reaching first the stronger winds from the southwest to whisk him back at a brisk pace to the Vendée.

Yet it is Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) who was the fastest overnight. The skipper of Banque Populaire, remains focused on the most direct route and has managed to claw back the miles he lost yesterday. He is slightly south and is 88 miles behind François Gabart (Macif) in a south-westerly wind of around twenty knots, which is expected to push forward the two skippers until at least La Coruña, Spain. The pressure is on Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) to avoid any mistakes and to be vigilant at all times. Two gifted, bright hungry young sailors battle virtually neck and neck. They both have the advantage of being on the ground and experiencing the actual weather conditions. The weather files can only guide us and they don’t always accurately depict the conditions the skippers are enduring. The most accurate way to forecast the weather is to go outside and see if for yourself and of course, that is something only they can do.

The final days of the Vendée Globe are proving to be a nail biting duel between the gifted, ‘Goldenboy’ Gabart and his pretender, a challenger, called ‘The Jackal’ equally talented and famous for his incredible toughness. Like a cat on a hot tin roof the suspense will grip us to the very end.

The Vendée Globe is a dream that is hard to release, especially when man and machine are so close the end of an incredible, arduous journey, worn down by the accumulation of fatigue and miles. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) is experiencing this first hand as he has been sailing now for two days without a keel. With 500 miles until the Azores, he still has a few days to make his choice to abandon the race, or try to reach Les Sables d'Olonne. It is a cruel dilemma and for the moment he holds onto his third place sailing downwind in seas that are relatively manageable. His return the Vendée is dependent on the weather. Can he continue to sail and not capsize? Whatever his decision, it is likely that it will be very difficult to keep his place on the podium despite his noble resistance. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is the faster boat in the last 24 hours, with 350 miles under his belt and this morning sailing seven knots faster than his rival he is now only 90 miles behind Jean-Pierre Dick. In addition to potentially gaining third place on his Farr 2007, he could also complete the course in less than 80 days.

900 miles from Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), 30 miles to the east of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) is still wrestling with Mike Golding (Gamesa). After a slow and difficult climb up the Brazilian coast, Golding now sits 35 miles behind. Both experienced sailors, they are making just over 15 knots on a direct course towards the equator 250 miles away. In a south-westerly wind of 15 knots, the skipper of SynerCiel should return to the North Atlantic tonight.

A little over 300 miles behind, Swiss sailor, Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) is back on the direct route. The wind is not very strong just over an average of 11 knots. 160 miles behind, to the west, at the latitude of Salvador de Bahia, the situation is gradually improving for Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas), although he is still progressing slowly in a north-easterly wind of 10 knots. Last night he gybed and appears to be staying close to the Brazilian coast.

Further east, 175 miles behind Dominique Wavre, the Spaniard Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) is experiencing serious problems with his electronics and has three broken weather vanes, key pieces of equipment that provide critical information about the wind strength and direction. He is advancing slowly in a northeast wind of around 8 knots which will soon move to the east, allowing him to slightly accelerate and sail a direct course to the north.

After an impressive gain, Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) has slowed considerably this morning, traveling at eight knots and just less than 3000 miles from the leaders. He is caught in an area of no wind before he can turn and head north. Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) last night reached past the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, and soon should benefit from a 13 knot southeast wind which will help him gain some miles back from Bertrand De Broc. At nearly 4,200 miles behind François Gabart, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) sails with great pain due to his injuries, on the western edge of a high pressure area, off the coast of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The Franco-Italian skipper has lost three downwind sails and will now have to adjust his course to sail with his new sail plan. Let's not forget the painful challenge of moving his equipment from one side of the boat to the other following a tack or a gybe with a broken rib. It’s going to be a long, slow, painful road home for our brave, happy go lucky adventurer. Vendee Globe
InSunSport - NZSouthern Spars - 100Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted today at 3:19 am
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May