Vendee Globe: Beyou is now sailing in a north-easterly wind.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

It should be stable up to the finishing line this evening.

Behind, Jean Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam are still sailing at high speeds ahead of the depression which has been moving with them for the past two days. The wind should decrease when arriving in the Bay of Biscay. It should also shift to the East or Southeast with the ridge of high pressure, which is bringing dry and cold weather to France. Thus the end of race will be complicated. Some routings say you have to go and gybe along the coast of Brittany while others tend to follow a more direct route. Each skipper has to position himself depending on to the final wind shift he expects at the end of the race. It is too early to know which option is the best.

Behind, the conditions are going to become more difficult on Wednesday for Sébastien Destremau with a depression which is set to cross his route as he approached Cape.

Weather analysis

Complicated choices for Dick, Eliès and le Cam for the finish

Monday 23 January 2017, 13h45

If Jérémie Beyou will now be sailing in a more regular wind until the finish, the tactical choices are not simple to make for Jean-Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean le Cam.

 

Jérémie Beyou is now sailing in a north-easterly wind. It should be stable up to the finishing line this evening.

Behind, Jean Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam are still sailing at high speeds ahead of the depression which has been moving with them for the past two days. The wind should decrease when arriving in the Bay of Biscay. It should also shift to the East or Southeast with the ridge of high pressure, which is bringing dry and cold weather to France. Thus the end of race will be complicated. Some routings say you have to go and gybe along the coast of Brittany while others tend to follow a more direct route. Each skipper has to position himself depending on to the final wind shift he expects at the end of the race. It is too early to know which option is the best.

Behind, the conditions are going to become more difficult on Wednesday for Sébastien Destremau with a depression which is set to cross his route as he approached Cape

Weather analysis

Complicated choices for Dick, Eliès and le Cam for the finish

Monday 23 January 2017, 13h45

If Jérémie Beyou will now be sailing in a more regular wind until the finish, the tactical choices are not simple to make for Jean-Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean le Cam.

Jérémie Beyou due to finish at around 2000 hrs UTC

Monday 23 January 2017, 08h18

Jérémie Beyou only has 145 miles left to sail before crossing the finish line to take third place in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe. Stuck in a patch of light airs, he is now expected to finish at around 2000hrs UTC today. He will enter the harbour at 2200hrs UTC.

Over the past 24 hours, Maître CoQ has only covered 96 miles, because for long periods yesterday, he was completely stopped. This morning a light easterly breeze is allowing him to advance at eight knots. He has between twelve and eighteen hours of sailing left before reaching Les Sables d’Olonne. The wind may strengthen slightly to the south of Belle-Ile to allow him to accelerate, which explains why it is hard to predict his time of arrival. At the moment, he is 40 miles SW of the Glénan Islands, his regular training ground.

Fortunately for him, he has a big enough lead not to feel threatened (more than 630 miles). He is set to become the fourth sailor to complete the race in less than eighty days after Armel Le Cléac’h, Alex Thomson and François Gabart back in 2012. Behind him, the speeds are much higher for the three boats in fourth to sixth place. In a 20-25 knot SW’ly, Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac) is averaging over 23 knots, sailing 446 miles over the past 24 hours. The other two racing aginst him, Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir) and Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent), are not quite as fast and are further south. Jean-Pierre has regained ground from Yann, who has won back some ground from Jean. All three are expected on Wednesday afternoon. They may not finish within the eighty days as that clock will stop ticking at 1202hrs UTC on Wednesday, but there is still a tiny chance they will make it. In any case, the battle is raging, even if Jean-Pierre’s option seems to be paying off and Yann appears to be that little bit better placed than Jean.

Around 600 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands,

Louis Burton looks like he is heading for seventh place, unless there is a major upset, as Bureau Vallée is around a thousand miles ahead of the Hungarian Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary). Louis has around a week of sailing left and is expected to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne on 31st January or 1st February. Nandor Fa, eighth, is 470 miles from the Equator and is due back in the Northern Hemisphere tomorrow evening. The Doldrums are not looking very active for him. Close to the coast of Brazil, less than 200 miles from Rio, Eric Bellion (CommeUnSeulHomme) is struggling to make headway towards the north, but is still 200 miles ahead of the New Zealander, Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy). Arnaud Boissières and Fabrice Amedeo, 600 miles further back and further east are in with a chance of catching them. During the night, La Mie Câline overtook Newrest-Matmut to move into eleventh place, but the group of four in this zone (Boissières, Amedeo, Wilson et Roura) still have to get away from the claws of the St.Helena high. The steady trade winds are still a thousand miles north of them. To the north of the Falklands, Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean) has extended his lead over Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys), after the latter had to deal with very light winds early in the night. Costa is 130 miles ahead of Attanasio this morning. Dutch sailor, Pieter Heerema (No Way Back) is 440 miles from Cape Horn, while Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-FaceOcean) in 18th place still has 1500 miles to sail to round the tip of South America.

Bruno Ménard / M&M

Quotes

Didac Costa, One Planet, One Ocean: “After the Cape I had plenty of work to do. The wind dropped and I took the opportunity to try to repair the big sails on deck. I stopped completely last night, keeping moving only because of the current. I kept a good heading at the Le Maire Strait, between Tierra del Fuego and the Staten Island. I passed a couple of squalls before it cleared up. I will leave the Falklands to the East with the idea of ​​gaining as much ground North as possible for when the front of the next low reaches me, in less than two days. That way I will avoid the area with the strongest wind and sail on a course, more suited to the available sails. If all goes well, this should be the last low in the South…”

Jérémie Beyou is now sailing in a north-easterly wind. It should be stable up to the finishing line this evening.

Behind, Jean Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam are still sailing at high speeds ahead of the depression which has been moving with them for the past two days. The wind should decrease when arriving in the Bay of Biscay. It should also shift to the East or Southeast with the ridge of high pressure, which is bringing dry and cold weather to France. Thus the end of race will be complicated. Some routings say you have to go and gybe along the coast of Brittany while others tend to follow a more direct route. Each skipper has to position himself depending on to the final wind shift he expects at the end of the race. It is too early to know which option is the best.

Behind, the conditions are going to become more difficult on Wednesday for Sébastien Destremau with a depression which is set to cross his route as he approached Cape

Speaking to Race HQ in Les Sables d’Olonne, Beyou said this morning: “Yesterday there was no wind at all. You start imagining all sorts of things. Even if you have a lead of a thousand miles over those chasing you, you start to think you could lose your place. The tiredness, the fact that this is so close to the finish, means you go through all sorts of things, which are unpleasant. I was really pleased to pick up the wind again this morning. A Navy plane just flew over and said hello. I can feel that we’re close to the finish. Getting back to land is a bit worrying. I have never completed a Vendée Globe… I’ll take each thing as it comes. I’ll try to enjoy myself with those that turn up and tell them my story, tell them how I feel. I wasn’t able to share my adventure much during the race because of my communication problems, so this is going to be an opportunity to do that.”

After one of the slowest finishes in the history of the Vendée Globe, one of the closest ever finishes between three boats is anticipated. The three way fight for fourth to sixth, between Jean-Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam sees Dick 55 miles ahead of Eliès. But because there is a high pressure ridge which is forecast to give light winds for their finish on Wednesday, routing models still suggest there might be as little as two hours between the first and third on this ‘private Vendée Globe’.

Two days after finishing second in the Vendée Globe, British skipper Alex Thomson is recovering well in the start and finish host town of Les Sables d’Olonne on the west coast of France. He has been enjoying family time, taking every chance to spend some hours with his young son and daughter in between resting and completing a whirlwind schedule of media interviews. When he joined Vendée LIVE in French and English today, he enthralled a ‘standing room only’ packed house comprising local ‘Sablais’, French and international Vendée Globe fans, with his ready wit, his frank and full answers and his undimmed passion for the legendary solo non stop race around the world. Thomson confirmed today that he intends to do the race again in 2020, looking to add a win to his third and second places but only if he can put together a fully competitive programme. On a lighter note Thomson told how, the morning after finishing his gruelling 74 day race, he took his kids to the swimming pool of his hotel to be greeted in the water by his rival, race winner Armel Le Cléac’h who he had been racing head to head with him for 90 per cent of the 27,000 mile course. Before he moves forward with the next phase of his racing career, Thomson will take a holiday….sailing in the Caribbean.

The Hugo Boss skipper laughed: “My wife has booked our dream sailing holiday together in the Caribbean. She has promised we have double beds, flushing toilet and fridge, freezer and lots of beer and rum. We are off to do that.” Having now had a little time to discuss future Vendée Globe plans with his wife Kate and his core team, he is keen to complete the story with a win: “Third last time, second this time. It is obvious what we need to do.  What I need to do is to have a competitive campaign to do it again and the level of commitment from my family, from my team, from my team’s families. It means we need the right funding, but the most important thing is the people and the very next thing is the funding.” Reviewing the emotional videos of his finish and return into the famous Les Sables d’Olonne channel, Thomson explained: “For me in the race I always feel it is very important not to think about the finish until it happens. Anything can happen right up until the finish line. Mike Golding lost his keel 50 miles from the finish. Even when I am 20 miles away, I am still not really telling myself I am about to finish. All the emotion, all the work you have put in, all the stress, it is not really over until that line. And then it just feels like the responsibility is lifted off your shoulders. I am not even sure you are really aware of the responsibility. Having to sleep with one eye open, you are constantly thinking of what can happen next.”

Of his ‘decompression’, his recovery since finishing he said: “It takes a few months to recover. I will be a few months in the gym. My gluteus maximus has turned to a gluteus minimus. I have got no quadriceps muscles any more. I am in pain walking around. Physically it is going to be lot of work. I am sleeping quite well. I normally sleep for only one or two hours for quite a long period after the race. I feel pretty exhausted. I really felt like the tank was empty this time. I actually have put weight on my stomach. My weight will have dropped though because you lose big muscles like your quads and your glutes, my legs are terrible, there is nothing there. One of the problems I did not tell people about is where the jib sheets come down through a block on the deck, the pulley where the rope does a 110 degree turn, stopped working about six weeks ago. And so I was dragging the ropes through the sheave. And I actually feel like my shoulder has moved forward in the socket.”

Speaking to Rich Wilson, the skipper of Great American IV, Thomson paid tribute to the American’s excellent energy generation systems, a combination of wind vane, hydrogenerator and solar panels which mean that he has barely used any diesel. “I used 200 litres of fuel,” said Thomson who fought energy generation issues almost all the way through his 2012-13 race, rebuilding hydrogenerators and struggling for long period with very limited energy, hence his choice to go ‘belt and braces’ with diesel this time: “I had a tiny solar panel and my hydrogenerator was a back up. Mainly we were using diesel. But if we do another one I would to do it with using zero fuel. I love what you are doing and particularly what Conrad is doing. I think we should be going around the world without using any fossil fuels.” And he expressed his belief that the Vendée Globe should remain open and inclusive: “I think one of the great things is the amazing characters. If it was not set up the way it is then we would not have a Rich Wilson, we would not have had an Enda, we would not have a Sébastien Destremau. I think if there were 30 of me and Armel it would be a bit boring. Nandor Fa is extraordinary. To have a man who designed his own boat, who built it himself and is in eighth place. I have a real soft spot for him.”

The use of foiling appendages is in its infancy in the IMOCA 60 class which the Vendée Globe is raced in. Thomson want to see the class make the right decisions in the immediate future, to continue to develop fast, safe boats but considering costs and speeds relative to non-foiling boats: “We have just scratched the surface. The foils on our boat and those on Banque Populaire are slightly different. We were slightly better downwind but we were not so good in other areas. It was not a golden ticket. But we did go a very long way in a very short period of time. We have got longer. Our version 2 foils broke within three days and, yes, there will be a version 3 in due course. But we need to look at the data and see what we can do. There is an annual general meeting of the class in April. That will decide what the rule is. What is important is that we have a rule. It does not matter what it is. I think we need to be careful not to have a rule which makes what we do quite inefficient and very expensive. Like the America’s Cup. When they designed the boats they did not want them to foil, but Team New Zealand found how to make them foil, but in a very inefficient and almost dangerous way. I think that is what we need to do with IMOCA. We need to think about the costs too. There are seven boats foiling and on average each boat building two sets of foils. These foils are costing three or four hundred thousand pounds a pair, plus the cases. We don’t want the gap between the well-funded teams and the other teams to be too big. There is a lot of work to do. I sit on the executive committee of IMOCA, Armel Le Cléac’h is on the team, and Jéremie (Beyou).”

Quotes

Conrad Colman (Foresight Naturaly Energy) “

 “The temperature is certainly changing as I head northwards, not so surprisingly becoming hot and steamy as I approach the Brazilian coast in summer time. There were about 24 hours when I was comfortable in base layers and shorts but now the meter is set to full boil and I'm melting. The Vendee Globe is unique in many respects, but this wild swings in temperature are certainly part of the charm. My companions have changed too. Gone is the constant surveillance from the albatrosses and the stormy petrels. I had dolphins around me again the other night, I have seen my first flying fish and I was visited by a huge rainforest moth who had clearly taken a wrong turn at an intersection somewhere!”

Eric Bellion
(Commeunseulhomme): “The past ten days haven’t been easy, with calms or squalls. It was horrible last night with the wind going from 0 to 24 knots… The boat was knocked down, while I was at the nav desk, and it went on like that throughout the night. I feel nostalgic looking back at the lows in the Southern Ocean. At least with them, you knew what to expect. When your speed drops to zero knots and you still have 6000 miles to sail, you feel that it is a really long way and that time has slowed right down. There are very difficult moments like last night but then when you get moving again, it’s fantastic.”

More information

Complicated choices for Dick, Eliès and le Cam for the finish

1 days ago 3844

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Jérémie Beyou due to finish at around 2000 hrs UTC

1 days ago 5790

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Slow home run for Beyou

2 days ago 8104

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ETA for Jean-Pierre Dick, Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam: Wednesday 25th January between 1100hrs and 1700hrs UTC

See the cartography

5 Yann ELIES - QUÉGUINER - LEUCÉMIE ESPOIR

Speed : 15 kt - Dtf : 277nm

1 Armel LE CLÉAC’H - BANQUE POPULAIRE VIII

Race time : 74d 03h 35m 46s

2 Alex THOMSON - HUGO BOSS

Race time : 74d 19h 35m 15s (+15h 59m 29s)

3 Jérémie BEYOU - MAITRE COQ

Race time : 78d 06h 38m 40s (+4d 03h 02m 54s)

4 Jean-Pierre DICK - StMICHEL-VIRBAC

Speed : 13 kt - Dtf : 220nm

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