Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring J-class

Vendee Globe Race – Gabart, Le Cléac’h neck-to-neck into sixth gate

by Vendee Globe on 22 Dec 2012
Francois Gabart of Macif is facing pressure from But Armel Le Cléac’h of Banque Populaire heading into the race’s sixth gate © Alexis Courcoux / Macif
The Vendee Globe Race 2012-2013 has suddenly become a heated two-man race between leaders MACIF’s skipper Francois Gabart and Banque Populaire’s Armel Le Cléac’h as the two seasoned sailors are currently in a tight battle heading into the sixth ice gate of the round-the-world race.

Francois Gabart (MACIF) took the lead of the race back at the 1900hrs UTC ranking on Thursday and unusually, for the last 48 hours, held onto it overnight (their day in the southern hemisphere).

But Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) was still just seven miles north of him and only 2.7 miles behind on the racetrack at the 0400hrs (UTC) ranking as they head to the sixth ice gate of the race – the New Zealand gate – 120 miles due east.

With 20 knots of wind from the northwest shifting back to the west, the inseparable duo gybed this morning around 0200hrs.

Almost a thousand miles west of them, the margins were even finer as Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) overtook Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) overnight, to claim fourth place and lead by 1.1 miles at the 0400hrs (UTC) ranking. After his two tactical gybes to stay north last night, they are now on parallel tracks 60 miles apart and 500 miles from the Auckland Islands.

Third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) continued to lose miles overnight as he curved north and is now more than 600 behind. But that move has paid off and he is now in a steady flow of 20 knots from the northwest that should build to 30 knots.

Back in sixth place, approaching the East Australia gate, Ace navigator Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), may have seen something those chasing him have not as he dives south. The group of four from sixth to ninth have 20-knot westerlies and are heading to the East Australia gate and Le Cam’s move had Mike Golding (Gamesa) scratching his head.

'To be honest I can’t really see what Jean is seeing,' Golding wrote this morning. 'At 150 or 160 miles ahead he might be seeing something I am not but I have run his routing now and we more or less converge under Tasmania. Yes there is still this low coming down from Tasmania but trying to go and find a low can be problematic. And this low has a trough down the side of it again.

'Once again the conditions are tricky and variable. In the last hour I have had as much as 28kts of wind and as little as 12kts and the wind is right behind me. It could go either way.

'Meantime I am struggling a bit for the right sailplan. I have had the masthead gennaker on and so was a bit disappointed to see how we had done on the 0400hrs poll, because in these waves you feel like you want something to press against.

'The pilot let go at one point and I ended up on my side. It is not so much a problem with the pilot, I just think it gets overloaded so I have switched it on to the hydraulic ram and it should cope fine. The steering is quite heavy, I think it is just these waves, I don’t think the pilot is just being a wimp.'

Behind that compact group there are also steady westerlies of around 20 knots for all except Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique), who is deep in anticyclone, 420 miles from the Amsterdam gate and 4,466.8 miles behind the leader.

Vendee Globe website

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Kilwell - 5T Clewring J-classSouthern Spars - 100