Skip to main content

Vendée Globe End Game

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:
vendee-e-news-lead-pic1024px

With less than a day to go in the Vendée Globe, it appears Armel Le Cléac'h aboard Banque Populaire VIII will successfully fend off the recent challenge by British sailor Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss and finish first in Les Sables d'Olonne, France: despite Thomson’s having cut the gap between them to a mere 35 miles.

Yesterday Thomson revealed that for several days now he has been battling problems with the wind instruments on his cutting-edge 60ft IMOCA sloop, which in turn have prevented the yacht's autopilot from working properly. In spite of knocking miles off Le Cléac'h's lead overnight, he said he had not slept for two days and was now dangerously tired.

Speaking to the Vendée Live show today Thomson said his thoughts were on getting Hugo Boss' anemometers working again rather than the impending finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. "I don't think I can catch Armel," he said. "The routing is very clear – we will go nearly to the Scilly Isles, wait for a left shift and when it comes we tack. There are no real options for me anymore, I think my options have run out. It might be possible to catch a few miles but it's difficult for me at the moment. Until I can get my autopilot driving on a wind angle it'll be very tricky in the conditions I have. I can't imagine another few days like the last couple of days. I don't have any tension about the finish. I have tension about trying to make the autopilots work. I've got an anemometer in my hand and I'm trying to splice wires. I don't care about the finish right now, I just want to sleep.”

[Le Cléac'h, runner-up in the past two editions of the Vendée Globe, might now be odds-on favourite to claim his first race win, but he was not taking anything for granted as he prepared to tack and head down the west coast of France to Les Sables. The race mantra of 'to finish first, first you have to finish' will be ringing in his ears as he sails into his final night at sea in 74 days. “For the moment I'm holding my own against Alex,” the 39-year-old Breton said, “but the final 24 hours are going to be complicated. I'm going to have to be careful as there are a lot of dangers - we have been seeing fishermen and cargo vessels since yesterday. I'll be passing the tip of Brittany tonight, then going along the south coast of Brittany. I have to remain cautious to avoid doing anything stupid.” Le Cléac'h is expected to cross the finish line between 1300 and 1900 UTC tomorrow (Thursday), barring any mishaps, with Thomson following suit around four hours later.

Click here to see the finish live

January 2017

Related

promo-2048x

Just Launched Mid-sized Cruisers

With so many manufacturers dreaming up bigger production boats, more and more mid-sized cruisers fall on the smaller end of their lines. However, “smaller” does not mean less, and the tricks for optimizing larger models have helped with squeezing more enjoyment into less LOA. As ...read more

05-DSC_0638

Charter: Lake Tahoe

A sail on Lake Tahoe has been on my bucket list since the day I first laid eyes on it, and come hell or high water, I decided I was going to someday charter a boat there. North America’s largest and deepest alpine lake, Tahoe sits at 6,225ft above sea level and straddles the ...read more

East-River-Rapids

Escape from New York Part 1

I was never supposed to take my boat through New York City. After getting sucked backward through the Cape Cod Canal on my way south from Maine, when the speed of the current exceeded the maximum speed of my little electric auxiliary, I wanted nothing to do with Hell Gate and ...read more

LEAD-Celeste-in-the-Tuamotu

A Watermaker Upgrade

As a classic-boat sailor, I’ve long held that simpler is the better. I still think this is true: a simpler boat is cheaper, she has less gadgets to break down and there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re able to handle a bit of discomfort. Thus, for a long time, I sailed ...read more

01-LEAD-IDECsport_180919_032

Sailing Speed Records

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built ...read more

BVIFeetup

Chartering with Non-sailors

Three tips on managing the madness First-time charterers and first-time sailors aren’t at all the same thing. One group may struggle with beginner chartering issues, like sailing a multihull, catching a mooring or dealing with base personnel. For the other group, though, ...read more

AdobeStock_455372159

A Gulf Stream Crossing at Night

Even the dome of light glowing above the city behind us had disappeared as if swallowed in a gulp by Noah’s whale. The moon was absent. Not a star twinkled overhead. The night was so dark we could have been floating in a pot of black ink. The only artificial lights to be seen ...read more

00-Lead-549215sJL2uLEa

Summer Sailing Programs

Every year, countless parents find themselves navigating the do’s and don’ts of enrolling their children in a summer learn-to-sail program for the first time. While the prospect of getting your kid on the water is exciting, as a sailing camp program director, there are a lot of ...read more