Vendée Globe: Making the Top Ten
Published on February 14th, 2017
(February 14, 2017; Day 101, 15:48 FR) – After the arrival last night of Eric Bellion, the Vendée Globe skipper who finished in ninth place and top ‘rookie’, Les Sables d’Olonne on the west coast of France prepares to welcome back their favourite adopted son, Arnaud Boissières who is now due to finish into his own home marina on Thursday evening or first thing on Friday (Feb 16 or 17).
The solo skipper of La Mie Câline, who grew up in Arcachon, south-west of Bordeaux, but moved to Les Sables d’Olonne, will equal the record of Armel Le Cléac’h as the only two skippers to have finished three back to back Vendée Globe races.
Boissières, 44, cherishes childhood memories of Vendée Globe finishes and lives in the La Chaume area of Les Sables d’Olonne, not far from the legendary ‘canal’. Yesterday, as he climbed northwards up with Portuguese coast, racing downwind in favourable breezes, he passed the latitude of the stricken Conrad Colman and so now holds tenth place with around 450 miles to the finish line. Expected to finish around 24 hours later is the rival he match raced from the Pacific, journalist turned ocean racer Fabric Amedeo.
Conrad Colman is reported to be taking time and care to ensure the jury rig he sets on Foresight Natural Energy is right the first time and as efficient as he can make it. This morning he reported that he had completed the repairs to his boom and had appropriate support rigging in place.
The former sailmaker was cutting and shaping part of his mainsail but did not anticipate stepping and setting the rig until all the component parts were in place. He is reported to have worked through as much of last night as he could. The weather forecast is in his favour in the meantime with downwind conditions until Friday before a ridge of high pressure extends SW to NE across the Bay of Biscay which would mean even slower progress.
Rich Wilson, the skipper of Great American, still sees a complicated weather pattern for his approach to the Bay of Biscay, but is now expected between the 20th and 21st February. It is still not clear how a low pressure system generated off the NE coast of the North America will evolve mid Atlantic. It appears to stall and so how much he will be able to use the favourable downwind and reaching conditions is not entirely clear.
Current Ranking – Finished
1. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Finished, 74d 03h 35m 46s (1/19/17)
2. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR), Finished, 74d 19h 35m 15s (1/20/17)
3. Maître CoQ, Jérémie Beyou (FRA), Finished, 78d 06h 38m 40s (1/23/17)
4. StMichel-Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Finished, 80d 01h 45m 45s (1/25/17)
5. Queguiner – Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, (FRA), Finished, 80d 03h 11m 09s (1/25/17)
6. Finistère Mer Vent, Jean Le Cam (FRA), Finished, 80d 06h 41m 54s (1/25/17)
7. Bureau Vallée, Louis Burton (FRA), Finished, 87d 21h 45m 49s (2/2/17)
8. Spirit of Hungary, Nándor Fa (HUN), Finished, 93d 22h 52m 09s (2/8/17)
9. CommeUnSeulHomme, Eric Bellion (FRA), Finished, 99d 04h 56m (2/13/17)
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