Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring One Design

Vendee Globe- Jean-Pierre Dick's dreams shattered with keel failure

by Sail-World on 22 Jan 2013
Virbac-Paprec 3 at the start of the Vendee Globe. She is now sailing with her leeboards to provide lateral resistance, and water ballast to provide stability after the loss of her canting keel bulb. © B. Stichelbaut / Sea&Co

With a third place finish in the Vendée Globe apparently almost guaranteed, Jean-Pierre Dick's dreams for the Vendee Globe Race were shattered with an abrupt bang before midnight on Monday night as Virbac Paprec 3 lost her keel with just over 2,000 of the 28,000 mile race left.

With a squall approaching, the singlehanded yacht risked capsizing after losing the four tonne keel which provided approximately half the weight of the boat and most of its stability.

It took all the experience and expertise of the 47-year-old skipper, Jean-Pierre Dick to avoid the capsize.

He managed to ease the pressure on the sails, turn the boat to run downwind and fully fill the ballast tanks to stabilise the boat. The immediate danger has passed but he is still very vulnerable.

Until losing his keel bulb he was continuing to close on the front two yachts, and still had faint hopes of catching them.

Dick, is still technically in third place on the ranking because he has not retired. He is heading for shelter at the Azores, still over 1,000 miles away on Monday morning, and is on a starboard tack in a northeast wind of 20 knots.

He cannot take a direct route at the moment and must head north-east for two days, but in 450 miles he should pick up some undisturbed south-west wind and will be able to head directly to the Azores archipelago. He is expected to arrive there in six days, which was his projected finish time for the race at Les Sables.

Dick, who hails from Nice is on his third Vendée Globe. He finished sixth in 2004-05 but had to retire from the 2008-09 race with broken rudders after hitting an underwater object.

Dick’s misfortune is part of the thread that runs through the history of the Vendée Globe. There is no good time to suffer a failure but there is something especially cruel about it happening so close to the finish.

In the second edition of the race in 1992-93 Philippe Poupon, in second and chasing the leader Alain Gautier, suffered a dismasting. But Poupon was still able to limp home in third the place.

Roland Jourdain lost his keel bulb whilst clear in second place in the last race in 2008-09 and was also forced to seek shelter at the Azores, where he assessed and then retired.

Already in this race, the North Atlantic claimed two keels in the first two weeks of this race, when Marc Guillemot’s titanium keel broke off on the first night and then Jeremie Beyou suffered hydraulic failure of the canting mechanism and almost lost the whole keel in the second week.

Virbac Paprec 3 was one of the six new boats in this edition and one of the four VPLP-Verdier designed boats.

Many, including Alex Thomson, had said they would be too light and fragile to make it around the world. But that claim has appeared to be incorrect.

Vincent Riou (PRB) was forced out in the second week of the race, in the South Atlantic, after unluckily hitting a harbour buoy that drifted and submerged 500 miles off the coast of Brazil. But the VPLP-Verdier boats have continued to form the leading pack from start to finish, and either MACIF or Banque Populaire, have led for most of the race, setting an unrelenting pace that could smash the old record by a week if they finish in 77 days on January 26.

Dick was dropped by them in the Indian Ocean and soon after made his first of several trips up the mast to make repairs, and he has shadowed the lead group since.

Thomson into third

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who could now achieve both his targets of third place and 80 days around the world.

Dick’s sudden failure will have sent a shudder through him, and the entire fleet, and underlined the old Round the World cliché that ‘to finish first, first you have to finish.’

Only yesterday on Vendee Globe TV, Thomson had talked about keeping up the pressure in case one of those ahead had a problem. But he said he would not wish any misfortune on anyone: 'At the stage of the race we’re at now, I would be very sad for anybody who has a problem, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.'

Thomson, is still in fourth place, 236 miles behind Dick, 562 miles behind second-placed Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) and 657 miles from the leader, Francois Gabart (MACIF). But he has a huge 1,627-mile lead on those behind him, with Mike Golding (Gamesa), who passed Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) overnight, albeit by only a mile again.

Golding (Gamesa) will understand Dick’s disaster more than most, after losing his keel with 50 miles to go in the 2004-05 edition, where he limped in third after the closest race in Vendée Globe history.

Le Cléac’h continued to erode Gabart’s lead, taking back almost 50 miles in the last 24 hours. The 0400hrs ranking he was 95 miles behind, but Gabart had found the better breeze in the last hour, averaging 15.6 knots to Le Cléac’h’s 11.2 knots.

There was some drama at the back of the fleet too as eleventh-placed Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives cœur), suffered a halyard failure and watched his huge Code Zero sail drop into the water. 'The road does not end, she extendable,' he wrote this morning.

'The second halyard broke and the code Zero has fallen into the sea. I had to change the sail before dark and I visually checked the halyard all the time since and noticed nothing suspicious...I was going to write you a nice email saying that it was a beautiful day with albatross and flying fish: it's nice to have two at the same time. It will be necessary that I go up the mast as soon as possible to return to retrieve the headsail halyard, meantime, I rest and will do it tomorrow.'

NaiadColligo Marine 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Jean Pierre Dick awarded Rod Stephens Trophy 2013
Eric Tabarly (1964), Alain J. Gerbault (1923), and Bernard Moitessier (1966) were honoured by the CCA. Eric Tabarly (1964), Alain J. Gerbault (1923), and Bernard Moitessier (1966) were honoured by the Cruising Club of America. Yesterday evening, in the surroundings of the magnificent New York Yacht Club, Jean-Pierre Dick was highly privileged to be awarded the 'Rod Stephens Trophy 2013'* by the CCA.
Posted on 23 May 2014
Vendee Globe - Seventh edition generates benefits never reached before
The seventh edition of the Vendee Globe round the world race generated benefits never reached before. Whilst the Vendee Globe awards ceremony approaches (May 11 in Les Sables d'Olonne with all the skippers) and will close this wonderful 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, the seventh edition of the round the world race, nonstop and unassisted generated benefits never reached before.
Posted on 26 Apr 2013
Vendee Globe - President of the French Republic receives skippers
On April 8 at 12:30 pm, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, received all of the Vendée skippers. On Monday, April 8 at 12:30 pm, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, received all of the Vendée Globe skippers and handed on this occasion the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur insignia to François Gabart, winner of this year's edition.
Posted on 9 Apr 2013
Vendee Globe - Di Benedetto, Team Plastique across the line + Video
In the Vendee Globe, Alessandro Di Benedetto on Team Plastique crossed the finish line at 15h 36 mn 30 s (French Time). In the Vendee Globe, Alessandro Di Benedetto (FRA - ITA) on Team Plastique crossed the finish line at 15h 36 mn 30 s (French Time). He finishes eleventh in the race. In completing his race 26d 00h 17min 50s after race winner François Gabart, completed the course he ensures this seventh edition makes history with the shortest gap ever between the first and last finishers.
Posted on 23 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Out of the final calm and into the breeze + Video
In the Vendee Globe, Alessandro di Benedetto on Team Plastique is now counting down the final miles to the finish. In the Vendee Globe, less than fifty miles to the northwest of La Corruna, Spain Alessandro di Benedetto on Team Plastique is now counting down the final miles to the finish, expecting to cross the famous line off the Nouch buoy on Friday morning. The conditions for his finish will not be easy.
Posted on 21 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Tanguy de Lamotte crosses finish line + Video
Tanguy de Lamotte crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe on Sunday at 10hrs 58min and 10 seconds (French time). Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper Tanguy de Lamotte crossed the finish line on Sunday at 10hrs 58min and 10 seconds (French time). He finished in 10th place with a race time of 98 days 21 hours 56 minutes and 10 seconds. He has travelled 28,160 miles on the water at an average speed of 11.9 knots.
Posted on 17 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Upwind finish expected for Tanguy de Lamotte
In the Vendee Globe, Tanguy de Lamotte is forecast to cross the finish line between 9-10 (French time) on February 17. In the Vendee Globe, Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) is forecast to cross the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne between nine and ten (French time) on Sunday, February 17. It would give him a race time of around 98 days, 21 hours. But he will not be able to relax until he is home.
Posted on 17 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Final act will test two skippers still at sea + Video
The final act of the Vendée Globe will test the two skippers still at sea. What to do? Where to go? The final act of the Vendée Globe will test the two skippers still at sea. What to do? Di Benedetto is in hole and De Lamotte has one in front of him, with apparently no way round it on the way back to Les Sables. At 503 miles from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, De Lamotte has little choice but to be patient in the face of this unwelcome calm and must just head east as fast as he can.
Posted on 15 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Closest finish in the race’s 24-year history
Vendee Globe skipper Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur) is forecast to arrive on the morning of Sunday February 17. In the Vendee Globe, with Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur) forecast to arrive on the morning of Sunday February 17 and the last man, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique), now saying he will be back on Thursday, February 21, this is due to be the closest in the race’s 24-year history.
Posted on 13 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe - Bertrand de Broc arrives ninth in Les Sables d’Olonne
Vendee Globe skipper Bertrand de Broc crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 17:12:14hrs UTC. Vendee Globe skipper Bertrand de Broc crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 17:12:14hrs UTC onboard Votre Nom Autour Du Monde avec EDM Projets. He finished in ninth place overall, crossing the line 1day 15hrs after eighth placed Arnaud Boissières and 14 days, 14hrs 53mins 34 secs after race winner François Gabart (Macif).
Posted on 11 Feb 2013