Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

Vendée Globe – Day 65 – Critical 12 hours for leaders

by Vendée Globe on 9 Jan
Day 65 – Alex Thomson – Hugo Boss – Vendée Globe Alex Thomson / Hugo Boss / Vendée Globe http://www.vendeeglobe.org/
The next 12 hours could prove crucial to the outcome of the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, according to British sailing star Ian Walker. Walker, the reigning champion of the Volvo Ocean Race, has been glued to his computer following the exploits of fellow countryman Alex Thomson, currently locked in an epic battle for first place with Frenchman Armel Le Cléac'h.

As the solo non-stop round the world race enters its final 3,000 nautical miles Le Cléac'h's Banque Populaire VIII leads Thomson's Hugo Boss by just 88 miles. After slowing to just two knots yesterday in the depths of the Doldrums, Le Cléac'h was this afternoon back up to speed making 14 knots just prior to the 1400 UTC position report. The Breton skipper lost more than 100 miles to Thomson in the Doldrums, allowing the Brit to get to within 50 miles of his position, but this afternoon he had started to pull away again with Thomson only making nine knots.

With the pair apparently breaking free of the grasp of the Doldrums today, Walker, who was recently made an MBE for services to sailing, said what happens in the coming few hours could prove critical in the sprint to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. “Alex has had a great few days, there's no denying that,” Walker told the Vendée Globe Live show today. “He's had a much better passage through the Doldrums and if he can stay within 100 miles of Armel then he's within half a day's sailing, and there's still a long way to go. The next six or twelve hours is quite important because if Alex isn't quite out of the Doldrums and Armel is able to double his lead, and it was just a stretching of the elastic that we've just seen, then that won't be good news for Alex. But while Alex will make a few losses now I don't think he should haemorrhage too many miles before they're back on an even keel.”



While admitting Le Cléac'h is the favourite to win, Walker said there were plenty of variables which could effect the overall outcome of this eighth edition of the Vendée Globe. The double Olympic silver medallist added: “What we don't know is what state both their boats are in – do they have all their sails still available, what damage do they have? It looks like Alex will be on starboard tack for most of the trip home and we saw earlier in the race he had excellent boat speed against the other competitors, but we don't know how much Armel has been holding back. What we do know is that we've got a fantastic race on our hands.” For his part Thomson appeared upbeat today after latching on to an unforeseen but welcome breeze. “There's been some wind that wasn't expected and I'm currently going quite fast although I'm on port tack,” he reported. “Hopefully this breeze will last for a while but there's definitely going to be a slow down before we get the north-easterly breeze after the Doldrums. It's not all plain sailing at the moment.”

French sailor Jérémie Beyou became the third skipper to feel the effects of the Doldrums, slowing to just a few knots this morning. “A few hours ago I was completely stopped,” he said. “I thought the Doldrums would be kinder to me.” By the 1400 UTC ranking the skipper of Maître CoQ was travelling at 13 knots, firmly focused on reducing the deficit to the leaders further. “Ahead of me there's a gap of 500 miles and behind me a gap of 800 miles, so I prefer to watch what's happening in front of me,” he added.



Fourteenth-placed American sailor Rich Wilson, having caught up more than 100 miles on the three skippers immediately in front of him by riding an easterly-moving depression, said his immediate aim was to get to the Atlantic as quickly as possible. “I was lucky, as sometimes us sailors get,” he said. “I was at the front of a depression while the group just ahead were stuck in a high without any wind. I've been able to close up to Alan Roura. My fondest hope right now is that the fog would clear so I could see where Alan is. We're only about five or six miles apart but I don't see him on the AIS and that makes me a bit nervous. The chatter among the group down here on email is 'let's get to Cape Horn as fast as we can and get out of the Southern Ocean.”



Extracts from today's radio sessions

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss): “I had a terrible night last night – it felt like I did one or two knots for most of it and into this morning. Today's not been too bad, there's been some wind that wasn't expected and I'm currently going quite fast although I'm on port tack.”

Jérémie Beyou, (Maître CoQ):
'I'm not out of the squall. I'm in the rain, but at least I'm moving. I don't know whether this is good news. If the squall moves northwards with me, I'm going to find it hard to keep going. I had a complicated night. A few hours ago, I was completely stopped. I had managed to regain 500 miles from the leaders, so have been looking ahead of me. As far as my sails are concerned, I don't have any worries. I don't have a staysail for stronger winds, but I still have my code 0 and can use that. That is allowing me to get out of the calms.”

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearNaiad

Related Articles

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
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman reveals night-time dip off Point Nemo
Vendee Globe sailor, Conrad Colman recalled some of the trials and tribulations that have challenged him during the race Vendee Globe sailor, Conrad Colman revisited some of the trials and tribulations that have challenged him both before the start of the solo race around the world, and during it. At a media conference held in Les Sables dÓlonne after he finished the eighth edition of the race, having sailed the last 700nm under jury rig that the worst moment came when he fell overboard at Pt Nemo one night.
Posted on 4 Mar
Vendee Globe - If it’s Saturday, it must be the Azores
After Pieter Heerema finished yesterday morning in seventeenth place, there has been only one competitor left racing After Pieter Heerema finished yesterday morning in seventeenth place, there has been only one competitor left racing in the Vendée Globe. At 0800hrs UTC this Saturday morning, Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-faceOcean) is 1435 miles from the finish, which he is expected to reach on around 10th March.
Posted on 4 Mar
Vendee Globe - Still racing…Sebastien Destremau at latitude of Morocco
The race continues for Sébastien Destremau, who was sailing this morning at the latitude of Morocco The race continues for Sébastien Destremau, who was sailing this morning at the latitude of Morocco to the north of the centre of a high-pressure system in fairly light WNW’ly winds, which explains his low speed (below two knot)
Posted on 4 Mar