Closure for 8th Vendée Globe
Published on March 11th, 2017
Les Sables d’Olonne, France (March 11, 2017) – Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst–faceOcean) crossed the Vendée Globe finish line today at 040hrs UTC in eighteenth place after 124 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds of racing since the start on November 6.
The skipper from Toulon is the final competitor to complete this eighth edition of the non-stop solo round the world race. The curtain falls on the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe fifty days after the winner, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire VIII), who finished on 19th January.
Although born in Brittany 52 years ago, Sébastien Destremau is now based in Toulon. After an Olympic preparation in the Flying Dutchman class, he took part in several major crewed races, such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Sydney–Hobart. He later became a consultant, setting up a video magazine covering race news.
It was in 2015 that the skipper acquired the Imoca 60 TechnoFirst-faceOcean built in 1998, which had already clocked up two Vendée Globe races – firstly with Josh Hall (9th in 2000-2001) and then with Steve White (8th in 2008-2009).
After a delivery trip from Cape Town to Toulon, Sébastien Destremau qualified for the round the world race by competing in the Calero Solo Transat, between Lanzarote and Newport, Rhode Island. Before the start, the French skipper described his boat as being “ultra simple, like a bicycle without gears”.
This inability to step up the speed was confirmed very early on in the race, when the skipper, whose only goal was to complete the round the world voyage, found himself at the rear of the fleet. He would attempt to take a short cut close to the coast of Africa, but to no avail.
In the third week of racing, his starter motor failed and following in the footsteps of Michel Desjoyeaux, he was forced to come up with an alternative method to start his engine to fill his ballast tanks, using a rope and sail power. Destremau was successful in his makeshift technique, but the method was time consuming.
As he approached the first of the three major capes, Good Hope, the French skipper was joined by Catalan skipper, Didac Costa (OnePlanet- OneOcean). The Spaniard, who had set sail four days after returning to the port of Les Sables d’Olonne after problems with his electronics, soon made his getaway ahead of TechnoFirst-faceOcean, which passed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope on December 11.
Destremau would set off across the Indian Ocean close to Romain Attanasio, who had been forced to sail to South Africa to carry out repairs. By Cape Leeuwin they were joined by Dutch skipper Pieter Heerema bringing up the rear of the eighth Vendée Globe to the south of Australia. In strong winds, Destremau, who felt no real pressure on him, was quite happy to reduce the sail. “Of course, we’re not as quick, but we may go much further than some.”
It was in the Southern Ocean that Destremau fully understood what he was accomplishing. “I can hardly believe it. We are just normal guys, but we’re doing something superhuman.” He was also well aware of the dangers of finding himself alone in the middle of the Pacific and so decided to carry out a thorough check with a pit stop off Tasmania from January 3rd to 6th. When he set sail again, he was almost a thousand miles behind Pieter Heerema.
When Sébastien Destremau finally left the Southern Ocean, rounding Cape Horn on January 29, the first six boats had already finished the round the world voyage. As he sailed up the coast of Argentina, 17th placed Pieter Heerema was some 1200 miles ahead. The climb back up the South Atlantic would take three weeks with Destremau finally returning to the Northern Hemisphere on February 19, but the voyage was far from over, as it would take just under three weeks more to sail from the Equator to the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne.
During the final fortnight of racing, it was the lack of food that become a worry for the skipper of TechnoFirst-faceOcean. He had to ration himself to one meal a day and his attempts at fishing off the Azores were not enough to provide him with enough food.
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)
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