Vendée Globe Leaders are 1300 Miles from Finish Line

Alone. Nonstop. Around the World. No Assistance. That is the Vendée Globe.

So after sailing since November 6th, the 2 leaders, Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson, are about to race a match race to the finish. News – Throttles down in sprint to Vendée Globe finish – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

The skippers, split by just 95 nautical miles, were eating up the 1,300nm standing between them and the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, as they try to squeeze every last bit of speed from their foiling IMOCA 60 raceboats.

At the 1400 UTC position update British skipper Thomson, who led the race through most of its early stages, had a narrow speed advantage as he hurtled north on Hugo Boss at 24 knots. French skipper Le Cléac’h, who has topped the rankings since December 2, was more than two knots slower as he closed in on the Azores. With the ETA in Les Sables currently Thursday, the Vendée Globe is shaping up to go right down to the wire.

The following video is a brief interview with Alex Thomson.

Vendée Globe: Kilcullen Voyager Dismasted (Actually news from New Years I missed)

Alone. Non-stop. Around-the-World. No Assistance. That is The Vendée Globe.

The end of his race near New Zealand. News – Tumbling Dice. Enda O’Coineen’s Boat Dismasted. – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

In a few unfortunate moments the Vendée Globe solo round the world race came to a premature end for Irish skipper Enda O’Coineen. A sudden, unexpectedly strong gust at 35kts of wind overpowered his autopilot, resulting in two crash gybes leaving no time to get a running backstay on to support the mast.

The mast and boom went over the side, and he had to cut away the rigging and let it sink to save the hull. So he is very limited to what he can do from the standpoint of being able to jury-rig any kind of sails.

The only good news is that he is only a few hundred miles off New Zealand, and not a thousand miles out in the Southern Ocean.

The leaders are far ahead, having just crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere in the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to France.

Vendée Globe 2016-2017: After 2 Months of Sailing Nonstop

Alone. Nonstop. Around the World. No assistance. That is the Vendée Globe.

After looking like this might be a record-setting race, conditions have deteriorated somewhat. News – Great Expectations – the counters are reset – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

The race started on Sunday the 6th of November in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. They raced down the Atlantic, made a circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean, and are now “racing” back up the Atlantic. (Currently off the coast of Brazil.) I used “racing” because things have been slow.

Armel Le Cléac’h is the skipper of Banque Populaire VIII in 1st, and Alex Thompson, skipper of Hugo Boss, is in 2nd. About 250 miles separates the 1st and 2nd place boats, which isn’t a lot given the distance they have traveled.

Numerous skippers have had gear failures. There have been at lease 2 collisions with submerged objects. A lot of folks have retired from the race, but a few have made repairs with spares on-board and continued.

Two More Sailors Retire from the Vendée Globe

Alone. Non-stop. Around the world. No Assistance. That is the Vendée Globe.

45 days into the race. News – Rookies’ regrets, warriors’ wars – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

In two cruel days the hopes of the Vendée Globe’s two top rookies have been dashed by mechanical failures. On Sunday afternoon it was the 35 year old race first timer Thomas Ruyant who was forced to abandon his race after 42 days while lying in eighth place. His seamanship in bringing his badly broken IMOCA, which threatened to break up and sink at any minute, 220 miles through some horrendous weather conditions, writes him into the race’s history books.

Thomas Ruyant hit a submerged object. It caused massive failure to the hull and deck. He is in Australia.

Paul Meilhat’s boat suffered a failure to the keel ram. The keels move on these boats and the hydraulic rams that move them are critical. The damage is too severe to repair at sea, so he is heading NW, trying to avoid weather that would threaten the boat.

I haven’t been following every minute of the race, but I think that makes 4 boats that have retired, and we are at about the half-way point. Two hit submerged objects.

Vendée Globe 2016-2017 Update

Alone. Nonstop. Around-the-World. No Assistance. That is the Vendée Globe.

Alex Thompson, British skipper of Hugo Boss, and current leader, suffered a collision with an unknown object. News – Thomson suffers damage on train ride south – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

British sailor Alex Thomson was forced to slow his 60ft foiling yacht today after hit a submerged object in the South Atlantic. One of the boat’s two foils, which help lift it out of the water to give it more speed, was damaged in the collision with the unidentified object floating beneath the surface.

Could be a lot of things, but there are an unfortunate number of cargo containers floating around the world’s oceans. They wash off the decks of ships and mostly they tend to hang just below the surface of the water.

Thomson has now retracted the damaged foil and slowed his boat. He said there does not appear to be any structural damage but he will further inspect the boat when the weather conditions allow.

Sailing offshore in small boats is not for the faint of heart.

Last Skipper Joins the Vendée Globe

Didac Costa, the only Spaniard (Catalan) skipper in the race, finally gets underway. News – Didac Costa back in the race – Vendée Globe 2016-2017

Didac Costa, who suffered water damage shortly after the start of the Vendée Globe on Sunday, was forced to return to Les Sables d’Olonne. Having now repaired the damage to the electrical system on his One Planet One Ocean, he set sail again today at 1140hrs UTC crossing the line between the Nouch S buoy and a GPS point. He is 1134 miles from the leader and 770 miles from his nearest rival, Sébastien Destremau.

1000 miles and 5 days may sound like a tremendous disadvantage, but over the course of 3 months and 22,000 to 25,000 miles isn’t that much.