Vendée Globe: Two Still at Sea

Published on February 25th, 2017

(February 25, 2017; Day 112) – With 16 boats now finished, the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. Until now it was the 2000-2001 edition, with 24 starters and 15 finishers, which saw the biggest number of starters reach the end of their race at the legendary South Nouch buoy. Two of this eighth edition’s 29 starters are still racing at sea.

Having been initially expected to arrive Monday, Dutch skipper Pieter Heerema has been forced into what is effectively a ‘holding pattern’ at the latitude of Lisbon. A series of tough low pressure systems are set to bring big winds and seas to the Bay of Biscay from Sunday onwards. Monday, when he would have been finishing, is forecast to bring 40kts winds and eight to nine metre seas on Biscay.

In the open ocean on the race track this would be considered difficult conditions, worth avoiding, but the risks are so much greater in the shelving waters closer to the shores around Les Sables d’Olonne. Hence the skipper who should become the first Dutch sailor to finish the solo non stop around the world race, has elected to remain at this safer latitude until a small window opens between two successive systems for a finish now expected to be Thursday or Friday.

Meantime Heerema is in a 15-20kts SW’ly breeze which will actually shift to the NW and ease. The front with 35kts in it will cross north of him tomorrow reaching Les Sables d’Olonne in the afternoon. Pieter Heerema is expected to have to stay at these latitudes until Tuesday (Feb 28) when there appears to be a window of opportunity to make the race north to the finish line, to complete a Vendée Globe which has been full of challenges, mental and physical, for the Vendée Globe rookie who had limited preparation and sea time with his boat before the start.

For Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst faceOcean) this stage of a race which is already feeling too long, really is more like Groundhog Day, starboard tack close reaching, life on an angle and crashing into the waves. However, he will see the breeze drop slightly today but in three days more will get into a high pressure ridge at the latitude of the Canaries.

Final Results (Top 10 of 29)
1. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Finished, 74d 03h 35m 46s (1/19/17)
2. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR), Finished, 74d 19h 35m 15s (1/20/17)
3. Maître CoQ, Jérémie Beyou (FRA), Finished, 78d 06h 38m 40s (1/23/17)
4. StMichel-Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Finished, 80d 01h 45m 45s (1/25/17)
5. Queguiner – Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, (FRA), Finished, 80d 03h 11m 09s (1/25/17)
6. Finistère Mer Vent, Jean Le Cam (FRA), Finished, 80d 06h 41m 54s (1/25/17)
7. Bureau Vallée, Louis Burton (FRA), Finished, 87d 21h 45m 49s (2/2/17)
8. Spirit of Hungary, Nándor Fa (HUN), Finished, 93d 22h 52m 09s (2/8/17)
9. CommeUnSeulHomme, Eric Bellion (FRA), Finished, 99d 04h 56m (2/13/17)
10. La Mie Câline, Arnaud Boissière (FRA), Finished, 102d 20h 24m 09s (2/17/17)

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Background:
The eighth Vendée Globe, which began November 6 from Les Sables d’Olonn, France, is the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. Twenty-nine skippers representing four continents and ten nations set sail on IMOCA 60s in pursuit of the record time set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 race of 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.

For the first time in the history of the event, seven skippers will set sail on IMOCA 60s fitted with foils: six new boats (Banque Populaire VIII, Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss, No Way Back, Safran, and StMichel-Virbac) and one older generation boat (Maitre Coq). The foils allow the boat to reduce displacement for speed gains in certain conditions. It will be a test to see if the gains can topple the traditional daggerboard configuration during the long and demanding race.

Retirements (11):
November 12, Day 7 – Tanguy de Lamotte, Initiatives Coeur, masthead crane failure
November 19, Day 14 – Bertrand de Broc, MACSF, UFO collision
November 22, Day 17 – Vincent Riou, PRB, UFO collision
November 24, Day 19 – Morgan Lagravière, Safran, UFO collision
December 4, Day 29 – Kojiro Shiraishi, Spirit of Yukoh, dismasted
December 6, Day 31 – Kito de Pavant, Bastide Otio, UFO collision
December 7, Day 32 – Sébastien Josse, Edmond de Rothschild, foil damage
December 18, Day 43 – Thomas Ruyant, Le Souffle du Nord, UFO collision
December 24, Day 49 – Stéphane Le Diraison, Compagnie du Lit – Boulogne Billancourt, dismasted
December 24, Day 49 – Paul Meilhat, SMA, keel ram failure
January 1, Day 57 – Enda O’Coineen, Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland, dismasted

2016-10-03_6-55-47

Source: Vendee Globe

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