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Vendée Globe, day 14- Bernard Stamm unable to use his genoa sail

29/11/2012
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Race time: 13 days, 3 hours.
Position: 2,920 miles to the Cape of Good Hope.
Ranking: 1600hrs (French time)

 The Doldrums can continue to bite long after you have left them and Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) revealed on Friday that he has been struggling to keep pace in the lead group because he has been unable to use his genoa.

The large genoa sail would be the one out of the nine allowed in a skipper's sail wardrobe he would be using in these reaching conditions, with the boat heeled over 30 degrees.

"The sea was pretty chaotic and in a windless area, the boat was shaken really hard, one of the centreboards went up and it tore up the genoa," Stamm said. "In order to keep progressing, I had to take a route that goes further east than the others, otherwise it would have slowed me down a lot."

Stamm has also been busy taking care of an autopilot issue and he hasn't been able to sleep much lately. "I'll soon be done with the repairs, the end of he punishment is coming." Stamm said.

The damage and problems explains Stamm's more easterly position compared to the rest of the boats chasing Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire). Stamm slipped to fifth on the ranking this morning, but the truth is he is behind Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) as the boats will have to head deep south before they can head east because the St Helena High is active.

Perhaps the most interesting thing was that Stamm chose to reveal his problem. Most of the skippers are masters at showing sang-froid in live broadcasts even if all hell is breaking out on their boat. Thomson was certainly very interested in Stamm's news when he heard it on the Vendee Globe live broadcast on Friday. "Did I hear you say that Bernard has blown his genoa?" Thomson, who has been busy with his own repairs on his hydrogenerator, asked.

Meanwhile, Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), in his inimitable fashion, was broadcasting his own message to the fleet and particularly those he believes are in his sights.

"The boat is going so fast, I left the Swiss (Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) behind and it's now time to attack my British friend. The next ones to pass are foreigners. First Golding, then a Swiss (Stamm), then another Brit (Thomson), I'm definitely into international hunting. The skippers after them are all from Lorient or Port-la-Forêt, not as much fun. I don't care about my actual speed, I just want to make sure I'm faster than the others. And I am faster than Wavre and Golding."

It was fighting talk from Le Cam and half tongue in cheek (perhaps a quarter with regard to the Brits) and he is only six miles ahead of Wavre and still 50 behind Mike Golding (Gamesa) as the second chasing group head south, losing a little ground to the leaders.

Fleet news:

Alex Thomson, after averaging a couple of knots slower than the leading boats over the last 24 hours, was 118 miles behind Le Cléac'h at the 1600hrs (French time) ranking, but has closed his Atlantic workshop after fixing his hydrogenerator.

"The hydrogenerator back down and working which is relief and it's nice to be able to concentrate on something other than fixing stuff," Thomson said. "The temperature wasn't too bad but it's a really fiddly job; drill, clean, screw, while you're doing that stuff at a 30 degrees of heel.

"I've been struggling a little bit over the last 24 hours to keep the speed up, but now I've got a more wind. There's no question the guys at the front will slow a little bit as they get further down towards the ridge, but in these conditions the leading boats are a little bit quicker than I am."

After an extended nightmare in the Doldrums, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) was finally getting back up to speed in 12th, with speeds of 9.3 knots.

He is now part of the third group of four, separated by 90 miles, led byJavier 'Bubi' Sansó (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) who are heading south-west in light 7-9 knot south-easterlies.

After his storming run over the last three days Alessandro Di Benedetto(Team Plastique) has hit the Doldrums to the east and stalled. He has been making just 2.6 knots over the last four hours.

Meanwhile, one of those out of the race, Sam Davies (Savéol), was trying tohitch-hike to Cascais.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:32

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