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Vendee Globe - Leaderboard shuffles, Le Cam gets tied up + Video

by Vendee Globe on 3 Dec 2012
Jean Le Cam, Synerciel Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe ©
In the Vendee Globe, Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) realised last night that he was slowing down and that all was not well with his Bruce Farr designed Open 60. After a thorough examination of his boat, and asking himself many questions about the set up, he realised that his problem was below the waterline. The following morning, he checked under his hull and realised a fishing net was stuck around the lower part of his keel.

After three failed attempts to get rid of the net by moving his boat, the SynerCiel skipper eventually decided that he was left with no choice but to dive under it, which took around thirty minutes at 10am GMT this morning. He stopped the boat, put on his scuba diving equipment and took his knife with him. Everything went well and SynerCiel is now back in the race.

At midday, Jean Le Cam called his team and explained: 'After trying everything I could to get rid of that net, I had no choice, I had to dive. I geared up, stopped the boat, and went for it. At first I tried to cut it all at once but it just wasn’t working. I said to myself ‘s**t, that’s not good’. So I cut one part after the other and it worked out. It was a huge net!'

Despite being born to sail Jean Le Cam, nicknamed ‘Le Roi Jean’ or King Jean does not like swimming at all so it was very grumpy King that was forced to make like a rebellious fish and cut himself free of the net today.

The incident has cost him a few miles and a place in the rankings to Mike Golding but he is now back in action and returns to his the warpath.

The leaderboard is shuffling around between the leading trio, François Gabart (Macif) Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3), Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) at each ranking. They battle it out within a mere 16 miles of each other, as they tonight approach gate of Aiguilles, the first Ice Gate on the Vendée Globe race course.

But in a week of records being broken it looks like, after twenty-two days at sea, the record set by Vincent Riou in 2004, of 24 days, two hours, 18 minutes, between Les Sables d'Olonne and the Cape of Good Hope, is now seriously being contended. The Cape of Good Hope lies only a day and a half sail away for the three riders at the front. It’s simply a matter of time.

The current leader at today’s 4pm ranking, François Gabart (Macif) during the web TV show, Vendée Globe LIVE today, is about to enter unchartered waters.


François Gabart en tête by VendeeGlobeTV

'We’re still going really fast, the sea is tougher so we can’t be as fast as we’ve been these past couple of days. I had to manoeuvre quite a lot but I’ve had time to rest, too. It’s always nice to be ahead of the others, there’s no reason for me to be afraid, intimidated or nervous. The boat is doing great, it’s so satisfying. I should be at the Aiguilles gate around 8PM tonight (UTC). I’m now going to enter seas I have never sailed in before, I’m 15 miles away from where I dismasted. So starting now, everything is going to be new. But it’s still the sea, with water and waves. It’s no big deal, really.'

The temperature is dropping and the front boats are no longer basking temperate climates.

'The temperature has dropped, but it’s still all right, not very cold yet. But I’ve taken my boots, oilskin and fleece jacket out of the bag. Same for the sea, it’s agitated but bearable. I think I’ve seen my first albatrosses, they’re following the boat.' Said François Gabart (Macif).

The Albatross is the largest flying seabird in the world and lives in the north Pacific and the Southern Ocean. Initial sightings of the albatross serve as an indicator to the skippers that they are reaching the chilly, treachery of the southern seas.


Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat), said today in a recording on Vendée Globe LIVE 'The boat is doing ok, the only issue I have is the hydrogenerator problem, I’ll need to fix it. I don’t even have to push the boat 100%. I could take more risks in my manoeuvres and sails choices, but ‘m not even sure it would make a big difference in the end.'

It was a seemingly weary, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) today, on the Vendée Globe LIVE, although the teleconference was plagued by a terrible phone connection, said, that he hoped his slightly more northerly position will be play out well in the next few days. Perhaps the last few days of hurtling the oceans at record breaking speeds was taking its toll on the British skipper, who is sailing an incredible race onboard his Farr 60.

Mike Golding (Gamesa) gained back his sixth position back today as a result of Jean Le Cam being caught up in a net. Golding, however, is experiencing frustrating conditions that are not giving him the gains he would prefer, but he is pragmatic and knows he must persevere with the hand he has been dealt.

For the pack at the back, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas), Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) and Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) the weather situation is twisted. Although, they may reap the dividends as they bypass the high-pressure cell, which has halted their road to the west. Soon, they may have the chance to regain the miles their misfortune has cost them because the frontrunners are about to slow down.

Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) and Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) have no such worries. The first seems to have escaped the poisonous charms of St. Helena, and the Italian navigator, continues to extol the simple joys of life on an ocean wave.

On the bright side, there could be a small consolation for the back pack; the weather for them over the next few days should be a little tricky. The Gate Crozet, located at 39 ° S, is preventing a solitary dive south to board the express train of depressions in the Southern Ocean. To add further spice a new high is being formed in the south-eastern tip of Africa. The leaders have two choices: to risk a short, but slow route through the high, or to circumvent these high pressures from the south and stay in the westerly winds. But to do this, it forces them to plunge 48 ° S latitude, where a number of icebergs have been spotted by CLS and CROSS, who provide the data to the race. It’s either go slow and follow the direct course, risking the leadership, or play the southern option card and risk the ice minefield. In either case, chills are guaranteed ...


Replay : Le live du Vendée Globe du 2 décembre by VendeeGlobeTV

Alessandro Di Benedetto (FRA-ITA, Team Plastique): Hi all, I’m doing great, and so is the boat. There’s a lot of wind so I’m feeling confident and happy. I’m sailing at 11-12 knots. I’ve sailed across the tropic of Capricorn last night, it’s special to me because I’m a Capricorn! I’m behind the others but the only good thing about it is that the weather is still nice and pleasant for me, I can still sunbathe, which is something the others can’t do!

Yet I can’t wait to get out of the St Helena anticyclone and sail to the Southern Ocean.


Alessandro content d’avoir passé le tropique du... by VendeeGlobeTV

Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA, Initiatives-coeur): The conditions were good, so I used that opportunity to check little things on the boat. I climbed up the mast because I had to replace a device that gives the speed and direction of the wind. I was glad to see the mast is in a perfect state. I’ve been manoeuvring a lot lately because I don’t want to go west too soon. And when I do, I get drenched, really!

Bertrand de Broc (FRA, Votre Nom autour du monde avec EDM Projets): The weather conditions I’m facing right now are really not good, St Helena is making my life miserable. The good news is they allowed me to fix a few things on board, like people do at home on Sundays. It’s good to do that before the conditions get really tough in the south. I had a hydrogenerator issue, but it’s all good now after I spent two hours working on it. Things are starting to get better now, the wind will be more favourable starting tonight, I’m looking forward to that. The changes in the gates, which are now very much north, may give us a few interesting opportunities.

Armel Le Cléach (FRA, Banque Populaire): We’re all very close, the three of us. We’ll reach the Aiguilles gate together, I guess. The wind is strong, we’re going fast, and there are big gusts, it’s getting really wet on board. Time for boots and oilskins! Banque Populaire is now in winter configuration but when I need to manoeuvre outside, it’s cold! Even though the fight is tough, I still have time to follow sports results, like how the French athletes are doing in nordic skiing and football, I know PSG lost. I slept pretty well last night, and I’ve eaten well lately, I’m doing Vendee Globe website

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