Vendee Globe: Will the Rich Get Richer?
Published on November 4th, 2016
On Sunday November 6 at 1302hrs (local time; 1202UTC), the start gun will send 29 intrepid solo skippers and their IMOCA 60s off from France on the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe, the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance.
The latest forecast is for a few squalls, cloudy skies and a 10-15 knot NNW’ly which will see the fleet quickly heading towards the SW pushed along by a 15-20 knot northerly until they round Cape Finisterre.
The first foilers should be in that area on Monday morning. “It’s not as worrying as when a front passes over,” said Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ). “You can feel that on the pontoons, where the atmosphere is not as stressed. It’s going to be fast and very intense, particularly with all the shipping and fishing boats and around Cape Finisterre, where there are often objects floating around.”
Alex Thomson, the British skipper of Hugo Boss commented this morning: “They are saying North, North Westerlies. It not clear how much wind there will be at the start. Then it looks straight line to Finisterre. And then if we can straight line to get under the Azores High is not really fully confirmed yet. For us, the foilers, it could not be better. If I could as for the weather this is what I would ask for.
The wind will strengthen as they make their way down the coast of Portugal, with some gybes required, but overall a quick start though one that is going to be very technical.
“Those who have done a lot of training will be up there at the front,” notes Thomson. “There will be an advantage for the foilers. But we’re going to have to wait and see whether people get 100% out of their boats or not.”
There will be a ridge of high pressure developing between Gibraltar and the Canaries around midday on November 8, which could shut the door on those who are left behind. From the outset, the skippers will want to put their foot down to get away from this area of light winds associated with the high.
The eighth Vendée Globe, which begins 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 will 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, which 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.
Source: Vendee Globe