Vendée Globe: The Final Twelve Skippers
Published on January 26th, 2017
(January 26, 2017; Day 82) – With the top six Vendée Globe skippers now finished, there remain 12 still racing. The next to finish should be Louis Burton, positioned to the west of the Canary Islands, who is on course to finish seventh with an ETA forecast to be Tuesday, January 31.
The skipper from Saint Malo is routing slightly to the NW to catch an Atlantic Low pressure system, the back of which seems set to give some muscular conditions for Spirit of Hungary’s Nandor Fa who is expected a week later in eighth place around February 6th or 7th.
Eric Bellion, in ninth, has been struggling with squally weather off the NE corner of Brasil. Like other skippers, he has followed the finishes of the six skippers whose IMOCAs are now safely docked in Port Olona, Les Sables d’Olonne. But he won’t allow himself to consider the finish line or focus on it; he is only taking time to enjoy and make the most of each day, each mile.
“I am happy for the guys who finished. I am quite jealous of the big party they had in Les Sables d’Olonne, I wish I had been there, but for me the finish line is still a long way ahead. I have not made any routings to see how many days I have left to get to Les Sables d’Olonne. I don’t want to know. My objective is the Equator. I want to feel everything as it happens I don’t want to be focused on the finish line at all. I have worked so hard on this Vendée Globe that I want to experience each thing as it happens. I have worked so hard for this Vendée Globe. It is an incredible part of my life. I was to keep on raising my goals on this incredible boat.”
Conrad Colman in tenth, still well ahead of a bunch of newer, more powerful designs despite only having a limited foretriangle – either a staysail or J3 jib. Colman said: “Finally I have stopped losing miles to the boys behind. The speeds I have been doing these last few days are not representative of the potential of the boat or the skipper. It is very difficult to trim the boat when you have the full main and just the J3 or the trinquette (staysail) at the front. It is difficult to go upwind like that. I have 18-20kts and am reaching. I think I am out of the most frustrating part of the race so far. It is good to be back up to speed again. We have created quite an interesting relationship over the last 12 or 13 months. I have spent more time with the boat than I have with my wife. That was even before the start of the race because I did a very big refit and two solo Transatlantics. It is nice to be sailing on a boat which is a reflection of my own efforts and I certainly am taking a lot of satisfaction from the fact that I was able to imagine a lot of scenarios that might happen in the Vendée Globe and come up with a plan to keep going in the case of all the different scenarios.”
For them the race goes on with the same relentless intensity. Eight thousand miles behind Burton and 900 miles west of Cape Horn, Sébastien Destremau is due to encounter stormy conditions even though he slowed to avoid the worst of a low pressure system. He should reach Cape Horn late on Sunday or on Monday, January 29 or 30.
Ranking (Top 5 of 29)
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), Finished, 80d 01h 45m 45s (+5d 22h 09m 59s)
5. Queguiner – Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, (FRA), Finished, 80d 03h 11m 09s (+5d 23h 35h 23s)
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