Vendée Globe: Hurdles to get home

Published on February 26th, 2017

(February 26, 2017; Day 113) – The waiting game continues for Vendée Globe skipper Pieter Heerema. The Dutch skipper of No Way Back must carry on waiting some 800 miles away from Les Sables d’Olonne.

As the next skipper to finish, he is sailing relatively sedately in 10-15kts of breeze about 450 miles west of Porto in Portugal, staying south as the low pressure moves into the Bay of Biscay today. Winds of 35kts are forecast from the GRIB files – which usually means 40-45kts in reality, accompanied by eight metre waves. Heerema has been making 4-5kts and sailed just over 115 miles in the last 24 hours.

It is still looking like he will start moving from the latitude of Vigo on Tuesday (Feb 28) perhaps, and arrive Thursday in light 10kts S’ly winds, according to this morning’s forecasts. Having suffered so many technical and weather problems over the course of his race, one can imagine the relief and satisfaction for the Dutch skipper who will also become the second oldest skipper to finish the Vendée Globe.

No change in the weather conditions for Sébastien Destremau, the last skipper still in the race. His NE’ly tradewinds are blowing at 20kts today and his days are still play, repeat, play, repeat. But the ebullient Vendée Globe rookie, who only resolved to himself to do the race when he was working during the start of the 2012 race, knows each tough mile brings him closer to the finish line.

He is expected back in Les Sables d’Olonne in about 10 days time, roughly March 6 to 10th. Destremau has a high pressure ridge to the north of him which looks quite messy.

Final Results (Top 10 of 29)
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)
10. La Mie Câline, Arnaud Boissière (FRA), Finished, 102d 20h 24m 09s (2/17/17)

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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.

Retirements (11):
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

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