Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails NZL -  Got Tough

Vendee Globe - Stable winds, good speeds and frustration

by Vendee Globe on 5 Dec 2012
Sunset view from on board Hugo Boss - 2012 Vendee Globe © Alex Thomson / Hugo Boss / Vendée Globe http://www.vendeeglobe.org/
In the Vendee Globe, still with the indefatigable Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire in the lead, the advantage continues to grow for the pace making pack this morning as they reach fast towards to the Crozet ice gate, the second control designed to keep the fleet north of the worst of the ice threat.

For the second group – that is Briton Mike Golding on Gamesa, Jean Le Cam on SynerCiel and Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre – there is a desperate realisation that, despite extreme fatigue brought on by the their toughest 48 hours of the race so far, they must redouble their efforts to stay in touch with the six leaders.

A high pressure ridge was already slowing them early today and they need to find the speed to escape if they are to remain in the same weather system as the pack they are chasing.

Reaching at some 18kts almost directly east towards the target, the Crozet ice gate, Armel Le Cléac’h seems to be on course to reach that waypoint some time tomorrow if speeds remain as high as forecasted. The top four in the 13 boat fleet have managed to maintain high averages in favourable winds of 20-22kts. Le Cléac’h had added another five miles on to his margin back to second placed Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec 3 whose course is just 13 miles to the south of his. François Gabart was not polled on the early morning schedule but is known to be in good shape in second around 20 miles behind Le Cléac’h. And the top four IMOCA Open 60’s are still racing within 50 miles of each other.

Alex Thomson, the British skipper in fifth, has never fought shy of trying something different. He has taken Hugo Boss south of the leaders’ direct course to try and avoid the worst of what is expected to be a period of lighter winds which could prevail on the approach to the Crozet control gate. Thomson, some 171 miles behind leader Le Cléac’h had only lost a few small miles to the leaders overnight but will hope his lone investment pays off as he passes the gate more towards its eastern extremity.

These have been tough times mentally and physically for the chasing trio, the ‘three Musketeers’ Golding, Le Cam and Wavre. After a very hard 24 hours in potentially boat breaking, big, unruly seas in which it was hard to stay in control this trio are facing the frustrating prospect of being trapped by a high pressure ridge which had already slowed them this morning to some 13-15kts of boat speed. And already the gap between sixth placed Golding and Thomson has grown to some 360 miles.

'Very big waves today. The breeze is up and down between 12 and 24kts. The boat picks up on the waves, goes roaring off and then finishes with a crunch. Everything is shaken to the bone. It’s scary. Just seem to be waiting for something to break. With the boat slamming a couple of times a minute it’s hard to get weather in, to run routing, hard to do anything at all, even prepare a meal.' Noted Mike Golding late yesterday.

If Golding’s frustration that what he and his running mates had initially hoped would be compression into the leading pack is now set to be a potentially big loss of miles, for Spain’s Javier Sanso these are also testing times. Last night he expressed his hopes that he would finally wriggle free of the light winds which have plagued him and Acciona 100% Eco Powered for days, might finally be gone this morning seem unfounded as he was still making less than six knots and has averaged just 7.7kts over the last 24 hours.

The pleasures of the white heat of unrelenting competition among the leaders are still mirrored almost equally by those enjoying their ride towards the back of the Vendée Globe fleet. In ninth Arnaud Boissières on Akena Vérandas is well into a spell of faster sailing, as are Bertrand de Broc on Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM projects who is making nearly 20kts this morning, quickest of the fleet. And Italian Alessandro di Benedetto on his evergreen Finot design has the island of Tristan de Cunha as his next waypoint some 450 miles ahead of his Team Plastique. Vendee Globe website

Related Articles

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
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Naiad/Oracle SupplierNorth Technology - Southern SparsKiwi Yachting - Lewmar