Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 728x90

Leader Le Cléac'h back in Northern Hemisphere

by Vendee Globe on 7 Jan
Armel le Cléac'h Banque Populaire VIII - Vendee Globe 2016-17 Armel Le Cléac'h /Banque Populaire/ Vendée Globe
Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h has crossed the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere, signalling the start of the drag race through the north Atlantic towards the finish line. The French skipper of Banque Populaire VIII passed the famed zero degrees line of latitude at 0023 UTC today after 61 days, 12 hours and 21 minutes at sea in this eighth edition of the solo non-stop round the world race.

Le Cléac'h spent 52 days in the southern hemisphere and after rounding Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America, has taken 14 days,11 hours and 49 minutes to reach the Equator. The time from Cape Horn is 16 hours behind that set by winning skipper François Gabart in 2012-13 but Le Cléac'h remains more than four days ahead of Gabart's race record. At the 0400 UTC position report Le Cléac'h still had a jump of 145 nautical miles on second placed Alex Thomson, whose yacht Hugo Boss is expected to cross into the northern hemisphere within the next couple of hours.

But with the dreaded Doldrums, the area of low pressure just to the north of the Equator notorious for its light, fickle winds, to pass in the next few days Le Cléac'h's lead could easily evaporate with one wrong move. Indeed, with the Doldrums extending north almost as high as the Cape Verde islands, the moves played out by the two frontrunners over the course of the weekend could likely decide the winner of the 2016-17 Vendée Globe.

Third-placed Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ still has some 800nm to sail to reach the Equator but with stable easterly trade winds he was this morning making just shy of 15 knots towards the target. The trio of Jean Le Cam, Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès have a small patch of light wind to transition through before resuming the charge north.

Currently some 300 miles apart west to east, it is likely their courses will converge in the next few days. Around 600 miles from the Argentinean coast Louis Burton, the only other sailor in the Atlantic, was this morning dealing with winds of up to 35 knots from a strong depression that is set to last all weekend.

The 11 sailors still in the Pacific are now split by more than 4,000nm. Hungary's Nandor Fa in eighth leads the pack with just over 500nm to sail to reach Cape Horn while at the rear, in 18th, Sébastian Destremeau has left the shelter of Hobart and resumed his passage east. Tenth-placed Eric Bellion on Comme Un Seul Homme was this morning celebrating passing Point Nemo, the most remote place on the planet, more than 1,700nm from inhabited land in any direction.

“I have left Point Nemo behind and am now approaching land,” he said. “That’s nice, because it’s very complicated if there’s a problem down here. I’m going along the edge of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone and it’s getting bitterly cold - I got my gloves and fleece out for the first time. But it’s not unpleasant sailing in the Pacific. I feel great here. Conrad Colman is to my north-west and it looks like a nice race for us to Cape Horn.”

Quotes



Éric Bellion (Comme Un Seul Homme): “I have got away from the high and the wind has returned, a 20-knot Sw’ly with fairly calm seas. Conrad Colman is to my NW and it looks like a nice race for us to Cape Horn. We should get some good conditions to leave the Pacific around 11th January. I’m going along the edge of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone and it’s getting bitterly cold. I got my gloves and fleece out for the first time. It’s cold air coming up from the Antarctic. I have left Point Nemo behind (the most remote location in the Southern Ocean - editor) and am now approaching land. That’s nice, because it’s very complicated, if there’s a problem down here. But it’s not unpleasant sailing in the Pacific. I feel great here. I heard there are blocks of ice ahead of me, so I’m in contact with the Race Directors to find out the exact position of these icebergs.



Rich Wilson (Great American IV) in his log: “We got through the night OK, close reaching across the waves and into them a little bit, with staysail and two reefs in the mainsail. Mostly 25 knots of wind, and 30 plus across the deck. The motion was tolerable except for the occasional huge crash, but the noise was what became intolerable. The constant howling of the wind through the rigging just reminds you, second, to second to second, that it is not hospitable outside. That is reinforced by the noise of sheets of spray, from almost every wave, hitting the cabin top. The combination puts the nerves on a razor edge, and it’s difficult to take a nap or get any rest.”

Mackay BoatsKZRaceFurlersInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

The Guyader Grand Prix, first contest since the Vendée Globe
Title-holder of Solitaire du Figaro Yoann Richomme will also be lining up on Vendée Globe monohull in this special event From Thursday 4th May to 7th May, five IMOCAs are expected to compete in the Guyader Grand Prix in Douarnenez. Among those registered, we can find four skippers from the last Vendée Globe - Jean-Pierre Dick, Morgan Lagravière, Paul Meilhat and Jean Le Cam. The title-holder of the prestigious Solitaire du Figaro, Yoann Richomme will also be lining up on a Vendée Globe monohull in this special event
Posted on 5 May
The Maiden Factor
Ok, so this story is very close to my heart. I have known this boat for almost four decades. Ok, so this story is very close to my heart. I have known this boat for almost four decades. I first met her during the 81/82 Whitbread Round the World Race. It was painted in colorful horizontal stripes and for a period we sailed up the Atlantic together.
Posted on 4 May
The Vendée Globe skippers hosted at the Elysée Palace
The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. Twenty-three of the twenty-nine Vendée Globe skippers attended the event, gathering around winner Armel Le Cléac’h, appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour.
Posted on 22 Apr
Vendee Globe - Stricken yacht confirms whale strike in Southern Ocean
Video from French sailor Kito de Pavant confirms that his yacht struck a sperm whale in the Southern Ocean French sailor Kito de Pavant was sailing along in the Indian Ocean a month after the start of the Vendee Globe round-the-world race when his Bastide Otio monohull violently struck an unidentified floating object. The high-speed collision 120 miles north of the Crozet Islands destroyed the keel and part of the hull around it, forcing de Pavant to radio for help and abandon the sinking ship.
Posted on 17 Mar
Vendée Globe – Sébastien looks back at 124 days of being alone
It was obvious for anyone following this race that for Sébastien, the solo round the world voyage was anything but easy It was obvious for anyone following this race that for Sébastien Destremau, the solo round the world voyage was anything but easy. Technical problems, calms, storms, being alone… Last night after finishing the race fifty days after the winner, Armel Le Cléac'h, the skipper of TechnoFirst-faceOcean gave us his first impressions.
Posted on 11 Mar
Sébastien Destremau takes 18th place to bring Vendée Globe to a close
Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst–FaceOcean) crossed Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne in eighteenth place Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst–FaceOcean) crossed the Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne in eighteenth place at 00hrs 40min et 18 sec UTC on Saturday 11th March 2017 after 124 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds of racing since the start on 6th November. The skipper from Toulon is the final competitor to complete this eighth edition of the non-stop solo round the world race.
Posted on 11 Mar
Vendée Globe – Sébastien Destremau to cross the line this evening
Sébastien is less than 50 miles from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne. But he is not expected to finish before 1800hrs Sébastien Destremau is less than fifty miles from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne. But he is not expected to finish before 1800hrs UTC, as the wind is set to drop away forcing the skipper of TechnoFirst-faceOcean to tack in light airs.
Posted on 10 Mar
Vendée Globe – Sébastien Destremau making good speed
After 118 days food is running low and Sébastien has had to ration his supplies. He was slowed in a number of calm zones After 118 days of racing, food is running low and Sébastien has had to ration his supplies. He was slowed in a number of calm zones. He had uncomfortable conditions slamming upwind or facing a very heavy swell.
Posted on 6 Mar
End of contract for Thomas Ruyant who now focuses on 2020 Vendée Globe
It’s the end of a chapter for the joint effort from Le Souffle du Nord pour le projet Imagine and Thomas Ruyant. It’s the end of a chapter for the joint effort from Le Souffle du Nord pour le projet Imagine and the French sailor, Thomas Ruyant, whose contract has just ended.
Posted on 6 Mar
Vendee Globe - Paul Meilhat back on the water
Two months after his Vendée Globe came to end, Paul Meilhat is back enjoying sailing off Port-la-Forêt in SW Brittany. Two months after his Vendée Globe came to a sudden end, Paul Meilhat is back enjoying sailing off Port-la-Forêt in SW Brittany. While he has been recovering from ordeals of race, after almost 52 days of sailing at breakneck speed, the skipper of SMA has nevertheless been busy. He has been continuing his physical training sailing on various types of boat and sharing his round the world experiences.
Posted on 5 Mar