Day 82: A driven dozen
Given that three boats had finished within three hours, a first in the history of the Vendée Globe, the post race celebratory party in Les Sables d'Olonne was proportionately bigger and lasted longer. Even so, fourth placed Jean-Pierre Dick and fifth placed Yann Eliès were back in the race village this Thursday morning, meeting and greeting visitors and participating in the Vendée Globe LIVE! shows.
Twelve skippers are still racing. The next to finish should be Louis Burton who is on course to finish seventh with an ETA forecast to be Monday. 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 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 some 650 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières, spoke today to the New Zealand based designer of his Foresight Natural Energy, Angelo Lavranos. The South African designed the IMOCA in 2003 as Galileo which became Maisonneuve and was launched in 2005. Colman is 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.
Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac):
"This race was a huge pleasure. It builds your mental strength and I'm proud although I didn't take third place. I got my boat too late on, but this was a fantastic adventure and I'm pleased to have finished. Each of my Vendée Globe races has been different. The first time there was the joy of taking part. Then, there was the frustration with the loss of the keel… This time I had some technical problems, which sent me off track. I would have like to have been in the battle with Alex and Armel. One of the key moments for me was going through the Bass Strait, which was not an easy decision to take. My routing came up with that, and so I said why not? But in some places the depth of water was only 20m. There was also that moment when I entered the exclusion zone, because of a mix-up with my files. "
Yann Eliès (Quéginer Leucémie Espoir):
"It was a pleasure to fight against two great sailors like Jean-Pierre (Dick) and Jean (Le Cam). Perfect for my preparation for the next Solitaire du Figaro. I was surprised by the reliability of foilers. The architects and teams did a great job because a few years ago they had many problems and now they have succeeded in making them reliable. I have immense respect for those who have completed several races. Now that I've finished one, I realize that. In the low south of Australia, it was tough having to slow down. I took the decision to avoid the strong winds and dangerous seas. I stopped once, then again. I began to fear for my boat. I did not really think about my accident that happened eight years ago. But at one point, I had to go up the mast and I just couldn't do it. That's when I realized that I was still feeling the effects. But now, having completed the Vendée Globe, the wounds have healed."
Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent):
"This was my favorite Vendée Globe without any hesitation. I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. I think others enjoyed watching too. For three days, I knew I wouldn't be able to catch Yann (Eliès). I'm pleased to have completed my Vendée Globe in 80 days like in the Jules Verne story."
THE 1400hrs UTC RANKINGS
Tracker and daily rankings (6 times a day)
0400 / 0800 / 1100 / 1400 / 1700 / 2100 hrs UTC
> View the complete rankings.... here + THE MAPPING
> Download the photos in HD format directly from the photo server (access via the press section).... here
Pontoon interviews - Jean Le Cam
Sebastien Destremau - TechnoFirst-faceOcean
> Download the videos in HD format directly from the video server (access via the press section).... here
HOW TO FOLLOW THE RACE
All of the pictures and programs will also be available on the video server www.vendeeglobe.tv