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Vendee Globe - Bay of Biscay set to deliver sting in the tail + Video

by Vendee Globe on 6 Feb 2013
Synerciel - 2012 Vendee Globe Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendée Globe © http://www.vendeeglobe.org
In the Vendee Globe, it is, ironically, for two of the Race’s most experienced and toughest skippers, Jean Le Cam and Mike Golding, both in their early 50’s, that the Bay of Biscay is set to deliver a sting in the tail for their finishing miles into Les Sables d’Olonne, one final riposte from the weather gods for a duel which has been ongoing since 12th-13th December and more especially since early in their climb back up the South Atlantic. Winds averaging 40kts with gusts to 50kts are expected on their final night.

Le Cam, leading his English rival now by 65 miles on what should be his final afternoon at sea on this race, with 308 miles to the finish reported that conditions were hard for SynerCiel. 'I have gusts of 35-40kts and I am not yet in the worst of it. After all that I have been through in this Vendée Globe we don’t deserve this at the end.' Jean Le Cam said, 'I’d like to slow down a bit because of the conditions but I really can’t because of Mike. And I can’t push too hard. I have to make sure of this fifth place. I will not be sleeping before the finish line tomorrow.'

Golding, who is on course to become the first sailor to ever finish three Vendée Globe races, is having to throttle back occasionally to deal with the increased flow of water in through the keel box of Gamesa.

'The water is filling up in the keel box and I have a lot of water in the boat, I am having to pump every hour and I am nervous about going too fast as it pressurises right to the top of the keel box and there is water coming out everywhere,' Golding reported this afternoon.

'Right now, it's bright blue skies, I have 22 knots of wind and am reaching in nice conditions, perfect for going to Les Sables d'Olonne, if you haven't got a boat full of water! I am having to stop occasionally to pump out. I can't make the pump work at speed as it empties into the keel box.'

Golding is due to hit stronger more upwind conditions as the winds shift more to the north for him. Fifth placed Le Cam is expected in to the finish early Wednesday morning with Golding predicted to be only a matter of hours behind. So windy has it been today in the Les Sables d’Olonne that the Vendée Globe Race Village has been closed since the morning.

Alessandro di Benedetto crossed the Equator last night, so all seven remaining skippers are racing in the Northern Hemisphere. Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) and Arnaud Boissières are starting their battle with the Azores high pressure but were both making fair progress upwind in 10kts of breeze this afternoon. 'After this we make the climb the rest by the north face.'

Exhausted but satisfied with his incredible work to unjam his damaged daggerboard, Initiatives Coeur’s Tanguy de Lamotte can now contemplate getting moving at better speeds after nearly 48 hours slowed to a crawl. On his fourth and final attempt in the water he finally managed to get the wedged board moved back to a normal position. He has managed to retain about 80cms in the water and planned to make lasting epoxy repairs to the damage around the daggerboard case this afternoon.

De Lamotte reported: ' It was the last chance of the day because I had been in the water four times to fight with to try and get something on the end of the daggerboard and I did not manage and then eventually I decided to pull again on the rope I put on yesterday, the first one I put around it, and I didn’t manage to move it at all several times before but this time I tried again and maybe a little movement helped and all my dives and jumps on it helped to make it move. I managed to move it forwards and then align it with the case, and then with a halyard I managed to pull it up through the daggerboard case, and now there is 80cms in the water, 80 cms which is good and not damaged. And this is helping me to be used. So it is stuck there now. I have some clothes in the leaks and so I could sleep for 45 minutes at a time last night.'

Di Benedetto had his celebrations for passing the Equator on hold as he, like De Lamotte was in recovery mode after spending three hours up the mast of Team Plastique unjamming his blocked halyards. But celebratory crepes were on the menu today.

ETA’s at 05/02/13

- Jean Le Cam Wednesday 6 February between 0700hrs and 0900hrs local (UTC +1hr)
- Mike Golding about 7hrs later
- Bernard Stamm (hors course) +3 hrs after Jean Le Cam
- Dominique Wavre Saturday 9th Feburary am
- Arnaud Boissières Sunday 10th Feburary am
- Bertrand de Broc Monday 11th Fabruary Vendee Globe website

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