In the Vendee Globe, unable to stay where he is because of the imminent arrival of storm force conditions, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) was forced to sail to New Zealand on Monday afternoon. Stamm has been anchored at Sandy bay, south of Enderby Island, 200 miles south of New Zealand, since Sunday morning, as he tries to repair his hydrogenerators. He will attempt to finish his repairs and re-start the race.
The Swiss sailor was forced north to Sandy Bay after arriving in winds gusting up to 40 knots, and though the wind dropped his repairs have been slowed by continuous rain. As well as sea lions and orca he has also had the company of Professor Khromov since Sunday.
'On December 23, a Russian scientific vessel, 'Professor Khromov' came to anchor in the same bay as Bernard Stamm,' Stamm’s team said yesterday. 'Shortly after, the anchor of Cheminées Poujoulat couldn’t hold anymore, and forced the skipper to moor to his boat to his neighbour (the Professor Khromov) to save his IMOCA (Cheminées Poujoulat).
'The current situation is far from simple for the skipper whose repairs are going to be longer time than expected because of the incessant rain. In addition to the constant moisture, a storm will arrive on December 24th. When it’ll touch the archipelago, the boat won’t be protected anymore and will risk to be drifted to the coast. The Swiss decided to sail to the south of New Zealand to find a safer shelter and to continue his repairs.
'The possibility of getting fuel from the Russian ship was discarded by the skipper, determined to continue his Vendée Globe race. It was a difficult choice but guided by the sense of responsibility. Bernard Stamm is determined to continue the race, just like any good sailor would do.
'Bernard Stamm keeps on reporting his repairs to the race directors and a statement will be made to the jury in order to track every stage of his work on the boat.'
Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) is set to move into fifth place overnight. He is averaging 17.2 knots in the last hour on a direct course and is just 180 miles behind Stamm – less than half a day’s sailing at current speeds.
Repas de Noël à bord de SynerCiel by VendeeGlobeTV
He is also continuing to fly away from the three in behind him. Mike Golding (Gamesa), Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) and Javier Sansó (Acciona 100% EcoPowered), have some wind now, but it is not certain they are out of the horrible transition bubble of high pressure south of Tasmania. At one point overnight Golding, now 454 miles behind Le Cam, said he was headed by the wind. He was making 15.3 knots in the last hour, but the routing is still unclear. Wavre has fared marginally better, losing only 107 miles to Le Cam in the last 24 hours but Sansó twisting south, was still making only 11.8 knots and is suddenly 741 miles behind Le Cam.
For many of the skippers, at the front and the back, Christmas celebrations appear to be on hold. They will open presents hidden by their shore crews when they have time. That is true of Stamm and Golding, but even Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), flying in second said he would be waiting for a more convenient time.
Francois Gabart (Macif) is just 11.4 miles ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) at the head of the fleet and is only 15 miles south of his rival, as they reach northeast in 25-27 westerlies to the Pacific West gate 250 miles away.
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) lost some ground in third and is 515 miles behind, but was averaging the same speed as Gabart – 18.2 knots in the last hour – as he heads due west to the Pacific West gate.
Jean-Pierre Dick fête Noël by VendeeGlobeTV
In fourth, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), was slightly slower at 15.5 knots as he heads northeast to the New Zealand gate around 150 miles ahead (depending on where he crosses). He is 977.8 miles behind the leaders.
A big low pressure system is about to sweep over the four boats at the back of the fleet, which should see further contraction to Sansó in front of them. Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas), approaching the East Australia gate, has been the fifth fastest over the last 24 hours, covering 347.1 miles. He is 433 miles behind Sansó. Like Le Cam he has been sailing two miles for every one for those between them, over the last 36 hours.
Also plaudits to the resilient, resourceful and ever-cheerful backmarker Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique), who made another 341.7 miles in the last 24 hours – the sixth fastest in the fleet, averaging 17.2 knots - and continues to close back on those ahead of him.
Merry Christmas to all.
Alex Thomson (GBR, Hugo Boss): I crossed the international date line about 0600 this morning so I am now sailing behind GMT. However, I am still working on GMT in everything I do on the boat, and as I don’t sleep normal nights, it doesn’t make that much difference to me. I was pretty close to crossing the date line on Christmas which would have meant two Christmas days! But I am happy to be ahead and also it doesn’t feel much like Christmas out here. I looked out for a Christmas tree, but there isn’t a lot to find down here in the Southern Ocean.
The team have told me they have hidden some Christmas surprises onboard, including something from my wife Kate, and son Oscar, which I will try to wait until tomorrow to open. Today is another day of DIY. Hydrogenerator problems still plague me, but I think we are getting closer and closer to getting to the root of it and hopefully finally fixing it with each hour I spend immersed in hydros.
The next few days look like good Southern Ocean conditions and it would have me arriving at Cape Horn about the second week of January, which would be great speed.
I also want to thank everyone for all the Christmas messages I have been getting through on facebook and twitter when I turn on my computer twice a day. Although it doesn’t feel like Christmas around me, it is great to get all that support especially at this time of year.
Bertrand de Broc (FRA, Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM projects): Nice speed around 14-16 knots and not too much sea. There is a northern wind. I’m waiting for a depression. In a few hours there should be stronger winds around 25 knots.
Le Père Noël est passé sur Votre Nom autour du... by VendeeGlobeTV
I did well with my repairs. My hydros work perfectly. I almost have 45 days of gasoline in the boat. In two or three days the boat will be like new and be able to sail at 100% of her capacity.
I didn’t have that much deco inside and don’t have that much present because we didn’t want to take too much things onboard. I’ll have a great meal tonight.
Arnaud Boissières (FRA, Akena Vérandas): I have nice weather condition, between 20-25 knots and a little sea. The boat sails around 12 and 20 knots. I do some good sailing. It’s 6.10 PM local time and it’s not night yet. Nights are great at the moment.
Christmas is a particular day for me. I have a lot of presents I’ll open them tomorrow at 12 PM (French time) like I am used to. I also plan a Skype call with my parents tomorrow.
Mike Golding (GBR, Gamesa): It’s been slow and upwind with some tacks but we are on the right track now. I am easing the sheets steadily and we are reaching progressively so that is feeling a bit better. I am not sure if we are through this ridge or whatever it is, or whether Jean Le Cam will feel some effect, hopefully I am just breaking forwards.
Anyway I have had my Christmas change of mid layer up to my Musto MPX. It was really starting to feel quite cold with the wind from the south, so now I have the foulies and mid layer on and feeling a bit cosier.
It is certainly good to be in the Pacific, it's all starting to feel a bit closer to home for the boat. We have never been this far together and to be fair the boat is going well. It is all going fine, everything is working and that is pretty cool for being half way around the world. We have the odd little thing, like a batten car here and there, but I am in maintenance mode, not repair mode. That work is just continuous, you are always doing something and there is always a next thing to do.
I am kind of regretting not dropping the mainsail at some time just to fix the batten tensions in the head. It is not ideal at the moment and its bugging me a bit. It is not what it should be, but makes more of a difference when you are upwind. It is a job for the long term.
I hope that Bernard can get fixed up and keep going. He has some difficult work to do there, but I really hope he can get things fixed. He needs to finish this Vendée Globe because he never has and he is a really good guy and deserves it.
Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA, Banque Populaire): Merry Christmas everyone! You can wish me good weather conditions. It’s not the best day to celebrate Christmas so I’ll open my presents tomorrow. The sea tells us what to do. We don’t choose the Christmas Eve time. The weather is the boss. I’ll gibe in a few hours. So for the moment it’s dry food time.
I’m sailing at 18.4 knots right now with a wind of 35 knots.
Alessandro Di Benedetto (ITA, Team Plastique): I’m very fine. I asked Santa for some wind and he brought me some. For the last hours I’m sailing at 17 knots on average. I’m doing some nice surf. I met Santa a few hours ago. I could film him with my hidden camera. You’ll discover it later on. Santa is using the latest technology and he manage to find the boat.
My record on this Vendée Globe is 32 knots. Today I did 27 knots. But the boat has its limits so I can’t have the same speed average like the others in the front.
Merry Christmas everyone!
La visite du Père Noël sur Team Plastique by VendeeGlobeTV
Alessandro di Benedetto découvre ses cadeaux by VendeeGlobeTV
Messages de Noël: Episode 2 by VendeeGlobeTV
Replay : Le live du Vendée Globe du 24 décembre by VendeeGlobeTV
Belle lumière sur MACIF by VendeeGlobeTV
Vendee Globe website
by Vendee Globe
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2:24 PM Mon 24 Dec 2012GMT
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