'Onboard Macif - 2012 Vendee Globe'
© François Gabart / MACIF
In the Vendee Globe, around 900 miles away from the duelling duos at the front of the fleet - Friday night in Rio De Janeiro breathes party, fiesta, mojitos and caipirinha. But on the ocean a ferociously intense battle has begun, with skippers electing tactical choices, which vie for bold strategic positions. The true outcome is yet to be determined but every pretender is investing in the fight with heart, body and soul.
The long awaited great battle of the South Atlantic is now underway and promises to upset hierarchy, confirm the ambitions of some and challenge the existing status quo.
As head of the fleet, François Gabart (Macif) strategic choices are paying dividends without a hitch. By choosing an easterly option, it was road with the least amount of risks and has given him the advantage over Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire). He currently remains in control of the lead, ahead and to leeward. His decision to tack first when sailing around St. Helena High gave him enough of a margin to head directly tip of Brazil. This blend of strategic insight and tactical rigor means that François Gabart (Macif) has a relatively comfortable cushion, not to mention a psychological advantage over his adversary during this critical time.
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Some could say that Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is a gambler but really it is simply logic. He was 300 miles behind Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) when he rounded Cape Horn. By deciding to follow the shortest route along the South American coast, he took the risk of being stuck in the unstable air off southern Brazil. Small depressions often form here. Today on Vendée Globe LIVE he said the models were not truly depicting the conditions he was experiencing, 'the models say I am doing 15 knots but in truth I am doing zero. I expect the true situation between Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) and me to be realised in around 24 hours. When I run the routing for me and him it comes out more in my favour.' Said Thomson. Thomson is focused on getting passed Brazil, clearing the Doldrums and then the Azores High. He is taking it all one step at a time. For now we must all wait and watch the rankings every four hours to see who will lose and gain in the Atlantic battle.
There is a battle at the front and there are battles at the back. With his primary objective being to reduce his deficit on Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) who is 136 miles ahead of him this morning, Mike Golding (Gamesa) has gained about some miles on his rival in the last 24 hours, and is consistently around one knot quicker. They are reaching at around 12-14kts on the edge of a big, messy area of high pressure to their west. Longer term it looks as if Le Cam will go into lighter airs first, but this period of the race in the South Atlantic is going to be subject to some ongoing compression and expansion.Meantime, since Cape Horn, Golding has extended on Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) and the boats behind him, all still south of the Falklands Islands this morning, making less than 10kts and now 260 miles behind.
Behind Mike Golding (Gamesa), there is a new trio Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud), Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) and Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) who may now see a door open providing them options on the direct route along the coast of Argentina.
At some 800 miles from Cape Horn, Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) leads the dance of the last warriors of the Pacific. For now, the ocean air gives them some respite: a westerly wind 15 to 20 knots, sun and deep blue sea. But for Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) it gave him some time to effect repairs on his mainsail, which he wasn’t anticipating until after Cape Horn.
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Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) has been fixing his rudders and engine. Up to his elbows in grease offshore sailing is not always a bed of roses.
Alessandro de Benedetto, Team Plastique - 2012 Vendee Globe - © Alessandro Di Benedetto / Team Plastique
Cape Horn Times:
François Gabart (Macif) rounded Cape Horn on January 1, 2013 at 18:20 GMT 52 days 06h 18mn after the race.
Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) rounded Cape Horn on January 1, 2013 at 19:35 GMT 52days 07h 33mn after the race.
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) rounded Cape Horn January 3 at 4:42 GMT 53 days 16h after 40 minutes
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) rounded Cape Horn January 4 at 2:38 GMT after 54 days 14h 36 min race.
Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) rounded Cape Horn on January 8 58d 19h after 7:19 GMT 17mn 14s and is running 6 days 12 h 58 m 20 s after Macif.
Mike Golding (Gamesa) rounded Cape Horn January 9 02h05 GMT after 59 days 14h 03 min race
Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) rounded Cape Horn January 9 10h18 GMT after 59 days 22h 16mn race
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) rounded Cape Horn January 9 12h 49 GMT after 60 days 00h 47mn race
Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas) rounded Cape Horn January 9 at 21:55 GMT
Javier Sanso (EcoPowered Acciona 100%)rounded Cape Horn on January 10 at 0:52 GMT
Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud): I have 30 knots of wind, it’s moving quite a lot. My gennaker is stored neatly for later, I don’t think I’ll take it out any time soon. It’s been complicated to roll it up and put it back in its bag, it took me several. But it was definitely worth it, I’m very happy to have it back, so it boosted my morale. I had coffee to celebrate!
I wish I could have had a more direct route but it just didn’t happen because of my issues and because of the conditions.
I’ll send you a video I shot in the very early morning later. There’s so much wind and waves right now, I need to hold on very tight because it’s shaking a lot. The sky is a very light blue, with a few white clouds. The sea is a much darker shade of blue, and it’s very rough, very noisy. It’s visually quite impressive, definitely worth taking a helicopter and shooting it.
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Jean Le Cam (FRA, SynerCiel): Hi all, I’m doing great, the weather is just beautiful, I had a perfect night, it felt like heaven. There were beautiful stars, the boat went just fine, I could get some sleep without having to wake up because of an alarm… It was so serene, so quiet, it made me feel so good! We’re like the rest of the European population, the weather has been terrible for weeks and so when the weather gets nicer, you just feel so good! When it’s hard hard hard and it gets great great great, the great becomes even greater! It makes me want to wear my miniskirt and walk around the streets!
Seaweed can be a real pain, I had one stuck in the rudder yesterday, they’re tricky! They’re sent by the devil, they could almost stop a yacht!
I’m looking for a producer to help me with the images I shot, I want to show them all around the world so I need funding for translation and distribution!
Christophe Offenstein and Jean Cottin ( 'En Solitaire' director and producer): Sometimes, skippers are so great that you forget how difficult the conditions they’re facing are. They are true adventurers but at the same time, they’re engaged in a very demanding sports competition.
We spent 53 days on a boat shooting the movie, including one week of tough weather, which we needed for the movie anyway so we can’t complain.
Filming at sea is difficult, and the outcome is never as impressive as the actual conditions, things you actually experience on board, especially when the conditions are tough. Live conversations featured in this Web TV show usually don’t show how noisy it can get, and how hard it is when you’re seriously shaken.
Our movie is all about showing what it’s like for the skipper on the boat, not from a helicopter or from the outside. That’s why we filmed on board so much. These guys spend three months in such a small space, that race is just unique, and so are sailing competitions in general, because you have so many different competitors, men and women, with different backgrounds, different generations…
Alessandro is interested in so many different things, he has had such amazing sailing experiences in the past and even when things don’t go his way, he keeps smiling and remains positive.
Right now, we’re in the middle of our post-production work, we still need six months and it will be released on November 6.
Bertrand de Broc (FRA, VNAM avec EDM Projets): The weather is nice, it feels like summer vacation right now, because the sea is so nice and there’s a 20-knot wind. My current speed is around 14 knots and things are quite stable. I think it should remain like this for the next 72 hours.
I gybed three times last night but I don’t move all the equipment around, only the bags, they weigh 30 kilos. I’ll gybe again in 45 minutes.
There is still a long way to Cape Horn, I think I’ll round it close to the Chilean coast.
Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA, Initiatives-coeur): I had a very good day because I managed to fix the hole I had in my main sail, I made a patch and tomorrow, I’ll put another on the other side of the sail. After that I’ll tack to Cape Horn, which makes me feel great!
One of my goals in this race was to reach Cape Horn and be in good shape when I do, so I just can’t wait now. I’m looking forward to the rest of the race, too, of course! I’m looking around a lot, making sure there’s no ice. My boat is equipped with a radar but that’s not necessarily enough to spot icebergs.
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Vendee Globe website
by Vendee Globe - 7:37 PM Fri 11 Jan 2013 GMT
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2012 Vendee Globe
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