Vendée Globe: New Record to Cape Leeuwin
Published on December 5th, 2016
(December 5, 2016; Day 30) – Armel Le Cléac’h smashed the Vendée Globe race reference for the passage from Les Sables d’Olonne to Cape Leeuwin early this morning, breaking the mark set by François Gabart in December 2012 by an incredible five days 14 hours and 26 minutes.
Banque Populaire VIII skipper Le Cléach took just 28 days 20 hours and 12 minutes to reach the longitude of the SW corner of Australia.
A certain symmetry with the 2012-13 race emerged when Briton Alex Thomson crossed the Cape Leeuwin longitude five hours and 16 minutes later in second place. Four years ago during the last edition, Le Cléac’h was five hours and 49 minutes behind race winner Gabart.
In 2012 Thomson – who went on to finish the race third – was also having a great race on the previous Hugo Boss and crossed Cape Leeuwin in third place one day and three hours behind Gabart.
The French skipper Sébastien Josse, who currently lies in third place, suffered serious damage to the port side foil of the IMOCA Edmond de Rothschild when he ploughed into the trough of a big wave this morning. He had been sailing on starboard gybe contending with difficult conditions, winds of 30-35kts and big, confused seas when the incident happened, some 900 miles to the SW of Cape Leeuwin.
Josse reported the damage to his team at 0930hrs UTC this morning and has subsequently put his racing priorities temporarily on hold in order to avoid the worst of the tropical low pressure system which was generated in the notorious area off Mozambique several days ago. The depression was forecasted to hold gusts of 50kts and seas up to ten metres high.
Josse was expected to route to the south-east towards the centre of the low pressure system, seeking lighter winds as he looks to find a solution to his damage. The low pressure centre was forecast to be tracking close to the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. The damage to his port side foil is reported to have happened when the boat stopped suddenly and the appendage crashed downwards into the top of the housing, damaging the control system.
Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys), 39, who was lying in 18th place, has been forced to alter course towards Cape Town after suffering damage to both of his rudders. Racing his first Vendée Globe aboard the historic evergreen Lombard design which started out as Catherine Chabaud’s Whirlpool and completed the last race as Initiatives Coeur in the hands of Tanguy de Lamotte, Attanasio has expressed his desire to carry out repairs in a sheltered area near Cape Town in accordance with the race’s no assistance rules, and aims to continue the race.
Attanasio is reported to be in good health and when the incident happened was about 470 miles south of Cape Town where he is expected in around three to four days. “Romain is not giving up and is already feeling more positive. He will be doing his utmost to repair his boat and continue his adventures. I hope he will be encouraged by as many people as possible,” Sam Davies, Attanasio’s partner and team manager commented.
Le Cléac’h, who clocked 391.6 nm in the past 24 hours, admitted he did not know his exact elapsed time nor how much he had broken the record by when he spoke to Vendée LIVE today before revealing that he listens to comedy podcasts to relax from the constant stress. “It was nice to pass the second cape in the lead. It wasn’t really a key objective, but it’s great to be in front at one of the three major capes we have to pass.
“Alex was first at the Cape of Good Hope a few hours ahead of me and this time it was the opposite. I haven’t studied the exact time, as I have been busy on Banque Populaire, but I think it was a good time. I don’t know what was up with Alex last night. He wasn’t very fast. Maybe he had a problem to deal with on his boat.
“We’ll be entering the Pacific in just under a week, but the final week in the Indian is going to be complicated. It’s not going to be easy with the first deep low moving in this evening and then another one that will be with us south of New Zealand. Yesterday I had a lot of manoeuvres to do, but after that you enjoy a good meal and change your clothes. My little heater allows me to dry my clothes, which is good as after each manoeuvre we are soaked with the sea and with sweat. Then to relax I listen to some comedy podcasts.”
Ranking (Top 5 of 29 as of 22:00 UTC)
1. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), 13298 nm to finish
2. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR), 91.28 nm to leader
3. Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse (FRA), 706.52 nm
4. SMA, Paul Meilhat (FRA), 1183.54 nm
5. Maître CoQ, Jérémie Beyou (FRA), 1438.51 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.
November 12, Day 7 – Tanguy de Lamotte’s 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 28 – Kojiro Shiraishi, dismasted
Source: Vendee Globe