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sail-world.com -- Vendee Globe - Of Equator crossings and keel-less sailing + Video

Vendee Globe - Of Equator crossings and keel-less sailing + Video    
Fri, 25 Jan 2013

In the Vendee Globe, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) today on the French version of Vendée Globe LIVE explained his predicament. 'I’m in the high, so there’s only 12-13 knots of wind, in a situation that’s not easy for a boat without her keel. I can’t use large sails but the ballasts are full to keep some stability. I’ve talked to Bilou and Marc Guillemot, who had to experience the same situation in the past. Of course, I’d go faster if I had a keel but right now, I’m not thinking too much about my third place.

I’ll see if I can finish the race, if the conditions allow, but I can’t take too much risk for myself, or for the boat. I should sail off the Azores coast around the 27th, there should be around 25 knots of westerly wind there and that will help me see how the boat is doing when the sea and the wind are tougher. Then I’ll try to make the right decision based on those elements and some people’s opinions. So let’s wait until the 27th.

Sometimes I feel like I’m windsurfing, you need to completely change the way you work on the boat. I’ve talked to some boat designers who told me about the calculations they had made, helping me choose what to do and what kind of sail to use. Also, because I’ve had hook issues, I don’t want to use big sails because if they get stuck, the boat would capsize without her keel, and I would end up stuck inside my boat like Jean Le Cam in the last edition.'

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On the English version of the Vendée Globe LIVE today, we spoke with Quentin Lucet, a boat designer from VPLP, the architects who designed Virbac Paprec 3 and he provided some insight into the degree of risk. 'Regarding Jean-Pierre Dick’s situation, it’s important to keep in mind that IMOCA 6O’ boats are obviously designed with a keel so they’re not made to sail without one. But because there are water ballasts to increase the stability, we’ve made calculations to determine the stability loss due to the lost keel and we’ve come up with the conclusion that it is not as safe, of course, but it can still be all right.

It all depends on the sea state, of course. 5-metre waves would be very tricky to deal with in his situation but full ballasts are very heavy, almost as heavy as the yacht herself, and that can really help. What he just can’t effort is to have an increased heel, that would make his boat capsize.

The safest way to sail would be to go really slow, but of course it means the skippers behind him would catch up with him and pass him. Needless to say, Jean-Pierre he doesn’t want that to happen, it’s a competition.'

It is expected that Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) will make his decision on Sunday. The decision lies solely with Jean Pierre Dick as stated in the notice of race and under the ISAF The Racing Rules Of Sailing 2013, 4 Decision to Race. ‘The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race, or to continue is hers alone.’ It is also permitted within the rules to seek technical guidance for onboard technical issues.

It is a sign that the conclusion is imminent as the support teams of François Gabart (Macif) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) arrived today in the sleepy French port of Les Sables d'Olonne, in the Vendée region of France. The port is about to explode into life as tomorrow at 10am the race village will open in eager anticipation of the race winners. The support teams are preparing for the reception of their respective skippers. François Gabart is expected to arrive in the Vendée port on Saturday night. Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) as it currently stands 6-7 hours later. He will be greeted by a wintry, cold southwest wind, switching to the northwest, into a blustery front, gusting up to 30 knots with rain. Undoubtedly, despite the inclement chilly conditions the people of the Les Sables d’Olonne will come out in there hundreds of thousands to ensure he receives an incredible, spine tingling, roasting hot welcome. The support of the local people of the Vendée Globe is unprecedented in the sport of sailing. The people come out en masse; crowds the size normally enjoyed by more mainstream sports, such as, football and rugby.

Mike Golding (Gamesa), currently lying sixth in the Vendée Globe, completed his sixth circumnavigation of the World as he crossed his outward track from his descent of the Atlantic over eight weeks ago.

While the relief of being on the home straight is palpable, Golding is facing one of the biggest challenges of his solo racing career as he attempts to wrestle fifth place from his long time rival, Jean Le Cam.

'There is not much I can do against Jean at the moment in the current conditions and sail configuration. He has the more powerful boat. I keep doing what I can, but it is swings and roundabouts. I can’t really put my finger on what I can do to go faster, I am doing all I can. We are fast reaching now and he is just a little bit quicker.'

Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) announced today, while sailing past Rio that he has saved the life of eight children during this edition of Vendée Globe and he is aiming for 10. 'The big news of this carnival atmosphere is that the threshold has been crossed 96,000 clicks this night and secures the operation of an eighth child!

It is a young Moroccan boy who is 10 years old. The operation will be Paris a few days before his birthday. Thank you all and especially those who continue to click and spread the word. Now, the goal is 120,000 clicks by the end of the race so we can save 10 children!'

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Alessandro Di Benedetto (FRA/ITA, Team Plastique): The temperature is getting higher, it’s 21°C now, and 22°C inside. It’s very sunny, too, I can manoeuvre outside in my swimsuit. I’ve seen flying fish, it means I’m getting closer to my goal! My speed is around 10 knots but I know that the more I go north, the more complicated it will be. I’ve lost several of my sails, I have no main gennaker, no head spinnaker and no small spinnaker any more. I am also missing halyards, which make some of the sails I do have impossible to use. It will definitely influence my choices and my route, I’ll have to stay away from the conditions I’m not equipped for any more. The pain is going away but my rib still hurts, I can’t move the equipment around the boat any more so I’m trying to make up for that by using the ballasts. And I’ve put the sails in the middle of the boat to avoid having to carry them too much. Hoisting the main sail and solent is painful too. But you know, I have to deal with the pain, and really, it’s not that bad, I’ve seen worse. It’s beautiful out there, the pink and grey clouds in the sky and the colour of the sea are just amazing.

Jean Le Cam (FRA, SynerCiel): The conditions are nice, the boat is going fast and the sea is calm. These are my last hours in the southern hemisphere. Golding was ahead 35-40 miles in front of me when we were right here on our way south at the beginning of the race and it took me two months to catch up with him. Now I’m the one 35 miles ahead. Those 70 miles, it took me so long to gain them when sometimes, in some circumstances, you can do it in a single day!

Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud): I’m fine, it’s very sunny and the wind is great. I have several flying fish crashing on deck and on the roof, I can really feel I’m on my way home. You get sunburnt if you stay outside too long without protection, so I go out to manoeuvre and then I immediately go back in. I’m not a big fan of eating flying fish, I can’t really cook them and they’re full of bones. But it’s ok because I have plenty of protein in what my team prepared for me. I have plenty of food left because I didn’t eat as much as I thought I would in the Southern Ocean. So I definitely have enough to go all the way to Les Sables. But I’ll still want to have a feast when I’m back! The conditions in the South Atlantic were just terrible, what I’ve experienced there is one of my worst sailing memories ever. Except maybe for my dismasting in the Barcelona World Race.

Mike Golding (GBR, Gamesa): It’s a very tough decision that Jean-Pierre will have to make. When you’re off the wind, it’s hard to judge your stability, so he needs to test the boat when he’s in the wind. But sailing without a keel is so tricky anyway… I’m out of cereal but I have champagne, so champagne will do! I eat a lot of cereal so it’s not great to be without them!

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Vendee Globe Website

by Vendee Globe



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