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Vendée Globe, The Battle Continues On

31/01/2013
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Three down with nine to go. So François Gabart (MACIF), Armel Le Cléac'h(Banque Populaire), François Gabart (MACIF) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) may have written the opening lines of the epilogue of the seventh Vendée Globe, but there remains nine pretenders to yet end the tale. Today, the plotline revolves around a tired, lonely, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3)moored keel-less to a buoy for three days with too much time to think and not enough food or fuel. He is waiting for a weather window so that he can begin his 291 miles journey back to Les Sables d'Olonne. So near yet so far.

 

After 24 hours of surfing the coast to round Cape Finisterre in 30 knots of wind, rough seas, amongst the busy maritime motorway of cargo ships and fishing boats, a sleep deprived Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) has found shelter along the Galician coast, in the mining port of San Ciprián (San Cibrao). At 5:30 this morning, Virbac-Paprec 3 picked up a mooring buoy in the harbour, protected from the prevailing winds and the sea

On today's Vendée Globe Live, Jean-Pierre said he was exhausted. He was planning to dive and check to the boat so he could further secure it in face of an incoming gale expected between late Thursday lasting until Friday. He also indicated that he had used his engine, which broke the engine seal, in order to finalize his approach to the buoy. He must write a report to the jury to explain the facts. A second report will be issued to specify the start time.

The jury will then decide his fate.

Re-start on Sunday?

The big question is when will he be able to resume his route to Les Sables d'Olonne? A potential weather window opens in just over 48 hours. "I set myself a limit of 25 knots of wind " he explained. In the Bay of Biscay, this weekend, the weather should improve. Virbac-Paprec 3 is currently 291 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne. If he returned to the race on Sunday morning, realistically he could arrive in the Vendée on Monday night. A double victory, fourth place and also, managing to successfully sail 2200 miles without keel.

A fair weather fight

In the south-west of Madeira and Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Mike Golding(Gamesa) are enjoying good conditions and speed on the edge of a depression as they pick miles off the mark, Les Sables d'Olonne. Soon the Azores High will force them to climb up towards the British coast and then descend down onto the finish line.

If the High remains stationary, the gang of four pursuers, Dominique Wavre(Mirabaud), Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas), Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) and Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) will also be forced to detour through the great north.

And so, this group of six boats, to which we must add Bernard Stamm(Cheminées Poujoulat), should all arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne next week with a series of arrivals which will run from 6 to 10 February.

For Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) currently in the doldrums andAlessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) just off Salvador de Bahia, the end of the race will be around mid-February.

The podium of the seventh Vendée Globe

1. François Gabart (Macif) arrived on 27th January 15h18'40'' (HF)

2. Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) arrived on 27th January 18h35'52'' (HF)

3. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) arrived on 30th January 08h25'43''

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:40