Vendée Globe: Simple Approach Earns Lead
Published on November 8th, 2016
(November 8, 2016; Day 3) – As the leaders in the Vendée Globe passed the latitude of Lisbon, Portugal heading south-west and looking to escape from the clutches of a zone of lighter winds, it was a day of some relief and rest.
After a relatively quick passage across the Bay of Biscay Sunday night and Monday then dealing with the stress of the confluence of shipping traffic at Cape Finisterre, the lighter airs down the Portuguese coast have allowed the top IMOCA skippers to try and catch a few naps and find a more optimum routine.
Midday Thomson realised the gain from his choice to work east, closer to the coast. That gain increased slightly in the day, but he admitted that his choice – executed partly in light of pre-start strategy – may not be as beneficial in the long term.
“I am not too sure about my positioning now,” Thomson said midday (UTC). “Initially I thought it was a good idea and part of the strategy at the beginning, I am not too sure it is going to pay off that well in the next day or so.”
Armel Le Cléac’h, runner up in the last two Vendée Globes, has – typically for him – sailed a more conservative line on Banque Populaire VIII, sticking closer to the direct route, looking further ahead.
“The strategy has changed somewhat since the start,” Le Cléac’h said. ”The high is blocking us and the choice down the Portuguese coast isn’t as interesting as we initially thought. We’re keeping out to the west to pick up the next lot of wind. When you’re dealing with strategy it’s for the long term, in particular how to deal with Madeira and the Canaries. We need to choose our position in the coming hours.”
In Les Sables d’Olonne, Didac Costa was close to being ready to restart with his One Planet One Ocean but the Barcelona skipper, who had to return to the start town within one hour of the start when his boat partly flooded due to a ballast pipe leak, must wait for a weather window to open.
His water damaged alternator was being replaced this afternoon and all of his damaged electrics have been repaired and checked. But as the Bay of Biscay is due to take a battering from 40kts winds, it is looking like it will not be before Thursday at the earliest before Didac Costa can get One Planet One Ocean back on the race course.
Ranking (Top 5 of 29 as of 22:00 UTC)
1. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), 23684.3 nm to finish
2. StMichel – Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), 19.5 nm to leader
3. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR), 24.5 nm
4. Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse (FRA), 26.0 nm
5. PRB, Vincent Riou (FRA), 28.5 nm
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.
Source: Vendee Globe