Vendee Globe: JP Dick on final stage, expected Monday afternoon. Damage for Tanguy de Lamotte
Sunday, 03 February 2013
Vendée Globe skippers know only too well that their own race is not over until the finish line is crossed. And although the Southern oceans delivered relatively benign conditions for this edition, the ascent of the Atlantic, for different reasons, has again issued reminders that anything can happen at any time.
Jean-Pierre Dick was 550 miles south from the Azores when his keel broke off 11 days ago, his damage consequently handing over his third place to Briton Alex Thomson. And last night, at around 0200hrs UTC Tanguy de Lamotte, some 440 miles to the SW of the Cape Verde islands hit something in the water which damaged his rudder and his keel.
Also climbing the Atlantic Alessandro Di Benedetto, the Italian skipper of Team Plastique is very much compromised at the moment having lost or damaged all of his downwind sails, although he is still working to complete a gennaker repar.
Such incidents, even so close to the conclusion of the race, still issue a reminder to the remaining skippers – racing tired boats with tired bodied and minds - that even though they stay on a high state of vigilance the element of fate, of simple bad luck in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, can also seriously affect, or even terminate their race.
And so on the 85th day of racing since leaving Les Sables d’Olonne on 10th November there is still a high level of stress aboard the nine IMOCA Open 60’s which remain on course.
Dick back on course
Jean-Pierre Dick, seeking to finish his final 290 miles across the Bay of Biscay, left his mooring in the Spanish haven of San Cyprian in Galicia at 0720hrs this Sunday morning in very light conditions, giving himself the best chance of a gentle restart into the race, ready to enjoy the optimum evolution of the wind conditions from light to moderate to fresh reaching conditions. Dick is expected now in Les Sables d’Olonne between midday and 2000hrs, and was taking it easy through the early stages of his final passage. Dick is still waiting for the Jury decision concerning his use of his engine whilst mooring, but remains confident that his action will be looked on objectively:
“I think I made the right choice.” Dick told Vendée Globe LIVE! today on the subject of his Spanish pitstop, “ I don’t know exactly when I’ll be in Les Sables, it should be between midday and 8PM tomorrow. I’m also waiting for the jury decision about my stop and the fact I used the engine. I hope they will understand it was for the good of my boat.”
De Lamotte : ‘I can go on’
Tanguy de Lamotte is determined that the damage to his rudder, daggerboard and daggerboard casing will not halt his progress towards the finish of his first Vendée Globe. He spent several hours almost stopped head to wind as he sought to make some running repairs. His starboard rudder is broken and his port daggerboard is crushed, jammed in the daggerboard casing whilst it and some cracks around it are letting in water. As a former preparateur if there is anyone left in the race who has the skills as well as the drive to keep going, then Tanguy is the one:
“The daggerboard took the first of the impact, it is completely tilted back and cracked the daggerboard case. There is water entering the boat. I have been going slowly since and that allows me to limit the amount of water which comes in, especially protecting the boat’s electrics. The situation is under control but it is vital that I remove the daggerboard so I can plug the holes.”
De Lamotte was moving slightly quicker this afternoon, making just under four knots but has around 2700 miles to make to the finish.
Meantime Alessandro Di Benedetto is also compromised but still making a good 11.5kts despite lacking downwind sails.
Hand to hand, head to head
The duel between Jean Le Cam and Mike Golding, tussling over fifth place, continues to simmer around the Azores high pressure. Yesterday the French skipper was staying tight lipped, silent through the day forcing the British skipper to wonder…. ‘he has gone strangely quiet at the moment, hasn't he…’ whilst Le Cam himself told Vendée Globe live that he too just focuses on his own race.
“ I like my position. Now I have to deal with the weather as it comes. So far I’ve been doing some good work, but I don’t want to speak too soon because in half an hour it might change. I’m focused on my own job and I don’t think about anything or anyone else.”
His sole adversary Golding conceded:
“We are very close to be honest, you can't split the difference except to say I think Jean's routing is the safer bet, but on the other hand there is another high coming in and Jean ends up potentially in some difficulty in getting going really but we'll have to see.”
“It all depends on timing and it seems like the two routes are very, very similar but of course there are lots of other variables, the file might not be perfect and so on. By dividing like this it gives me more possibilities to get past Jean.”
From being 85 miles ahead this morning, Golding held an advantage of 62 miles on the 1500hrs UTC ranking this Sunday afternoon.
ETA’s at 3rd February
- Jean-Pierre Dick, Monday 4th February midday at 20h
- Jean Le Cam Wednesday 6th am
- Mike Golding around 7 hours later
- Bernard Stamm (hors course) 6th February middle of the day
- Dominique Wavre et Arnaud Boissières Friday
- Javier Sanso 9th February towards end of the day
- Bertrand de Broc 12th February
Quotes from the boats
I will carry on my way to Les Sables. At the moment I am still back on starboard tack and I am pretty sure I will manage even if I lose the daggerboard I am pretty sure I will manage to sail all the way to Les Sables, even if it is a bit slower and I have some resin and some quick cure resin and I am pretty sure I will be able to fill the hole in the daggerboard case so it is waterproof again.
Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA) Initiatives Coeur
I like to share my experience. When I’m at sea I like to make the videos for the people. It’s a wonderful thing and I want to share it with people. I think we make people dream. If we can bring joy to them, the job is completed. About my strategy, we will see. I like my position. Now I have to deal with the weather as it comes. So far I’ve been doing some good work, but I don’t want to speak too fast because in half an hour it might change. I’m focused on my own job and I don’t think about anything or anyone else.
Jean Le Cam (FRA) SynerCiel
At the moment the wind goes from 10 to 25 knots in a few minutes. It’s been like that since 6 AM. So I have to stay focused and I cannot sleep. There are a lot of manoeuvres to do today, it’s really not easy. According to my files, the anticyclone is straight ahead of me. I’ll make my decision at the last moment. I’m going to wait a little and see what the wind does. When you’re sailing against the waves, it’s very stressful because you always hear the noises your boat hitting the waves. I remember from my last finish in Les Sables, that generally you arrive in good shape, you feel energised and happy.
Dominique Wavre, (SUI) Mirabaud
The routing looks a bit better for me this morning. We are very close to be honest, you can't split the difference except to say I think Jean's routing is the safer bet, but on the other hand there is another high coming in and Jean ends up potentially in some difficulty in getting going really but we'll have to see. He has gone strangely quiet at the moment, hasn't he!
Mike Golding (GBR) Gamesa)
It’s always a great moment to finish. The fans are here and many people follow the race. I remember when I finished second in 1996; there were as many people as if I was the winner. Making the finish is very important for a skipper. It means that you’ve completed your job. A sailor always has a goal. On a Vendée Globe, your goal is to complete your circumnavigation from Les Sables d’Olonne to les Sables d’Olonne. The ranking does not matter when you complete a world circumnavigation by yourself on your boat. Of course the boats are going faster now and that is great. It highlights that there is an evolution of the sport. There are also more media, different sponsors and teams. Even the communication tools are changing and it’s good. But don’t feel it changes anything about your world-tour. You are still single-handed.
Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
I’m back on the water again. There is only little wind so far, I’m waiting for better conditions. I need more wind from a different direction because now I need to reach Les Sables. I think I made the right choice. « I don’t know exactly when I’ll be in Les Sables, it should be between midday and 8PM tomorrow. I’m also waiting for the jury decision about my stop and the fact I used the engine. I hope they will understand it was for the good of my boat.
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) Virbac-Paprec 3
Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 February 2013 )