Vendée Globe: Jérémie Beyou Claims Third Place
Published on January 23rd, 2017
(January 23, 2017; Day 79, 22:00 FR) – Breton skipper Jérémie Beyou crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe solo non stop around the world race at 1940hrs UTC this Monday evening, January 23rd, four days, three hours, two minutes and 54 seconds after the winner, Armel Le Cléac’h securing third place.
The 40-year old sailor who was forced out of the 2008-9 race and the 2012-13 race during the first weeks of both with different technical problems, completed the non-stop solo round the world race for the first time today after 78 days 6 hrs 38 mins and 40 seconds.
Up with the leaders from the start on Sunday, November 6th, Jérémie Beyou, who struggled with numerous technical difficulties this time, has shown his considerable skill, determination and stamina. Indeed British skipper Alex Thomson, who finished second, earlier today confirmed he often felt threatened by the talented French sailor who is one of the few skippers to have won La Solitaire du Figaro, the French annual summer solo offshore stage series.
Beyou was always there ready to pounce behind the two frontrunners. He showed good all-round speed with his older, 2010 boat which was retro-fitted with foils. The Breton skipper achieved his goal by making it to third place and so all three top places in this race are taken by foil assisted VPLP-Verdier designs.
After winning the New York-Vendée transatlantic race last June, Jérémie Beyou was tipped pre-start as a serious contender for a place on the podium in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe. This boosted the confidence of the skipper who won La Solitaire du Figaro in 2005, in 2011 and 2014. His resilience and tenacity, honed in Le Solitaire and hard galvanized by his two previous failures in the Vendée Globe equipped him to cope with all technical hitches he would experience in this race.
Two of his autopilots failed early on, and then his Fleet antenna stopped working depriving him of a means of communication and preventing him from getting regular weather updates. Jérémie Beyou had to dig deep to hang on to the frontrunners. His troubles continued periodically. “When my mainsail hook broke, I almost gave up. It was pitch black and I told myself I would never be able to repair it. Afterwards, I don’t know where I got the energy, but I managed to do it. Each decent maneuver is a victory and you have to be pleased about that.”
Around him in the in the group of leaders, attrition struck, several skippers were forced to retire including Vincent Riou (PRB) and Morgan Lagravière (Safran) as they reached the first cape, then Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) and his long time rival and running mate Paul Meilhat (SMA) who he sailed alongside for hundreds of miles until he had to retire to Tahiti with keel ram problems. This meant that Maître CoQ found herself rather alone as the boat chasing Banque Populaire VIII and Hugo Boss in the Pacific, then on the way back up the Atlantic.
In spite of all the problems, Beyou has held on to the third place all the way to the finish and was never really under threat from the three skippers several hundred miles behind him (Jean-Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean le Cam). The skipper of Maître CoQ was fulsome when revealing his pleasure as he rounded Cape Horn for the first time on December 27th after 51 days of racing.
Not only had Beyou started two previous Vendée Globes, but also had retired from the Barcelona World Race, the two handed round the world race, as well as an abandoned crewed attempt at the Jules Verne non stop record around the world, “I have set off in lots of round the world races with the Vendée Globe, the Jules Verne Trophy and the Barcelona World Race, but never before have I managed to get past the Horn, so it was about time.”
The skipper, who like race winner Armel Le Cléac’h comes from Morlaix Bay, had to fight his way back up the Atlantic dealing with extremely variable winds and frustrating calms. “I am taking it one step at a time, one day after another, as each day spent on the water is another one gained. I am advancing like that, without thinking too far ahead,” regretted the skipper, who was treated badly by the wind gods, as he made his way through the final stretch to the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne.
Jérémie Beyou, the third skipper to reach Les Sables d’Olonne sailed 27,101 nm at an average speed of 14.43 knots. His best average was 21 knots having sailed 504 miles in 24 hours on 21st November.
The top three finishers in this edition of the non-stop solo round the world race have made ten attempts at the Vendée Globe. Armel Le Cléac’h has finished three of three attempts and won this edition, after finishing in second place in his last two races. Alex Thomson started four Vendée Globe editions, with finishes of one second and third, abandoned twice. And Beyou has started three and finished third this year.
Maître CoQ, the VPLP Verdier designed boat from 2010, was previously sailed by Armel Le Cléac’h, who took her to second place in the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe. Four months of work were carried out on her in early 2016 with a New Zealand team to retrofit her with foils.
The emotions surfaced with an uncontrollable rush. Jéremie Beyou had finally completed his first round the world race, his third attempt at the Vendée Globe brings a hard fought, well earned third place on the podium. Both Alex Thomson and Armel Le Cléac’h, the runner up and the winner of this epic 2016-17 edition of the race have completed the Vendée Globe but the sheer relief, the elation at finally completing his first racing circumnavigation, took the hard bitten, successful Beyou some minutes to comprehend.
The 40 year old Breton skipper dropped to his knees before his shore crew came aboard. And within minutes his family joined him, those nearest and dearest to him who have shared his frustration, salved his pain and given their love through the brutal disappointments so early in the 2008-9 and 2012-13 race and the first Barcelona World Race. There were huge hugs for his loyal wife Anna and his youngsters Achille, 11, and Jacques 9, taking time to talk to them before his first interview on the bow of the Maitre CoQ.
“It’s a race where you have to give it your all. It took me three times. I had to fight hard and push myself and the boat. It’s a huge emotion. It started badly with the electronic problems in the second week, but everyone has their problem. I just kept at it; I never said I just want to finish. I was determined to get a good place. Once Paul wasn’t there, it was easier as I could sail my own race, but in the Indian I stuck with him, as I didn’t have the weather info. It’s always better to sail your own race. I’m sorry he had to retire, but that freed me to sail my own race.
I kept thinking of the finish. Until the line was crossed… I took advantage and enjoyed myself from this morning. You feel at one with your boat. The boat gave me problems, but it’s because I pushed her too hard, so she reacted, but in general, she reacted well. I didn’t have any problems with appendages or the mast. Just the communication problems. So the boat was good to me and we did this together. I can’t wait to see Armel and Alex now.”
“There were moments, when I couldn’t cope. I punched my boat. I wept. But if you want to leave your boat, there’s not much you can do about it, as you are all alone. Trying to make choices without any vision, it’s frustrating. My next boat will be a foiler, easier to sail, more comfortable than this one.
One from St. Pol and one from Carantec (towns that are several miles apart in Finistère -editor) on the podium. We’ve known each other since we were kids. I know all of Armel’s team. They are top class. I like Alex’s character. He brings along some fun. He dares to make bold choices. He is good for a race like the Vendee Globe.”
Ranking (Top 5 of 29 as of 22:00 FR)
1. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Finished, 74d 03h 35m 46s
2. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR), Finished, 74d 19h 35m 15s (+15h 59m 29s)
3. Maître CoQ, Jérémie Beyou (FRA), Finished, 78d 06h 38m 40s (+4d 03h 02m 54s)
4. StMichel-Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), 447 nm to Finish
5. Queguiner – Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, (FRA), 513 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, 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
Source: Vendee Globe