• July 6th Update: Carnage Tally Grows

    [Damaged aboard L ' Occitane in Provence - the boat goes to Brittany]

    This Monday, July 6th, at 13 pm Armel Tripon found a damage on his IMOCA, L ' Occitane in Provence. Nantes skipper advanced southwest, at a speed of 12 knots in a north-west wind.

    At 14 p. m Armel Tripon contacted his team to declare a problem; two longitudinal smooth on the starboard side of the fixed area following the collision with a ofni on the weekend of June 21 are; We are at this stage, we are unable to evaluate more precisely the cause of this new incident, even though we seriously believe that it is the security damage related to this collision in an area that we had planned to strengthen upon the return of the Vendée Arctic race.
    Jacques CARAES, racing director, invited the skipper to caution by calling him not to try to rally the IOC UNESCO point, the course mark located in southwest Iceland.
    Therefore, the principle of caution and safety led Armel and his team to make the decision a few moments ago to join the Trinity-sur-Mer the ship's home port.


    On July 6th 2020 at 07:00 (TU) skipper Kojiro Shiraishi onboard “DMG MORI Global One” had a problem with his main sail’s hook system.

    Kojiro is now sailing under 2 reefs with 15 knots of North West wind and but cannot hoist the mainsail higher than the second reef.

    With wind dropping within the next hours, this problem will make the boat slower than usual.

    The shore team is proposing different solutions to try to fix this problem. Kojiro is waiting better weather conditions to try to repair the hook system.

    More information to come


    At 6pm this evening, Damien Seguin, skipper of the 60’ Groupe APICIL monohull warned his shore team that he was heading back to Brittany. Leaving his 14th position in the Vendée -Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne and 11.5 knots of average speed behind.

    The cause is known to be the breakage of the alternator support, which is no longer attached to the engine, preventing the batteries from being fully recharged. Damien believes that he cannot fix this technical problem during the race. Currently at 50% battery charge, APICIL Group cannot rely on just its hydrogenerators alone, which are less efficient upwind. As a reminder, a lack of energy on board would limit the possibility of retrieving the essential weather information for the race – a crucial element considering the difficult navigation conditions to come. The triple Paralympic medallist chose to return to Brittany for security reasons. Damien is currently sailing back with 2 reefs in the mainsail and the J3 in place, in 25 knots of westerly wind. His team is preparing to welcome him to shore in the early hours of the morning.


    After the damage caused to the starboard foil at the start of the race yesterday, Sébastien Simon sailed back to his home port at Port-La-Forêt around 3 am this morning.

    The skipper was greeted by Vincent Riou and his team who were able to make the first observations. The damage caused by the foil breakage on the hull and the desire not to waste time to start the repairs prompted Sébastien to take the decision to abandon the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d'Olonne race.

    A few words from Sébastien Simon upon his arrival in Port-La-Forêt:

    "I am abandoning the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne. The hull has been damaged during the foil breakage and a small water inlet has formed. For us to continue this race, it would entail around 15 days of reparations as we don't want to rush the repairs. I therefore prefer to make this decision even if it is with a lot of regret. What makes me happy is to race, it's more than just being on the water."

    "The important thing now, is to bring together all the actors who participated in the design and construction of this foil to understand what happened. A 3rd foil is under construction and the one on the port side of the boat is reversible. We will make every effort to ensure that this does not happen again on these next foils."

    Back to the damage and the departure

    “For around 3 hours we were heading upwind on a port tack, sailing at almost 17 knots. There was a little bit of sea. The J3 was in place and 1 reef in the mainsail. I just happened to head inside for a bite to eat, when I heard a huge crack. The boat went down, the foil had just broken."

    "I had a pretty average start but I soon realized that the boat had great upwind potential. I moved up directly into the lead group. I was going pretty fast at that point. I had a good start to the race, I was in 4th place and I had PRB behind me which was a great reference. I’m frustrated because I didn’t intend to push the boat's limits."


    Day 3 Monday 6.7. After the storm is before the storm.

    The ocean is very very blue right now. Cold and clear air. Warmth in the shelter of the cockpit. The sun makes it all easier out here. Today for me: Drying the skin and clothes after yesterday’s wind battle. Quite a bit of tension on the nerves when the boat slams hard and it gusts above 30. In a race around the world it’s quite likely to never be in 3rd reef, to never go upwind against such nasty stuff. I took it slow. Slowed down. Sat there next to the pilot and as soon as the boat wanted to start foiling I would head her more into the wind to slow down to prevent the nasty crashes into waves.

    I still feel a bit of the tension. It just slowly gets out of the body. Usually it’s accompanied with a bit of a blue note and feeling alone. Today that’s better than usual. It’s more impatience. Wanting to be fast and quick back home with my new baby. Mentally this feels easier then usual - more like a coastal training. The next waypoint already in 3 days. That’s mentally very achievable. I will just be fully in the rhythm and arrived here on board on the high seas by then.

    The tack today took a really long time. Starting with lots of routings to decide the best moment, all the stacking, after that tuning into the new mode and finally cleaning up the messy ropes in the cockpit.

    Now nothing is left. Then to sleep and catch up to the full energy level and sharpness. I would say I am at 60% now. Every activity takes a bit longer. The brain is slower. But I would not manage to lay down during the day. Don’t know why ... so many details to be looked after. Although I really didn’t sleep much at all yet. And when I slept - never got woken up by the alarm. Always before. Often only 10 mns. Checking the ais, the radar, the speed of the others... unfortunately I lost the leading pack on ais. Fortunately I am out of the coastal stuff ... and on the real ocean.

    Earlier This morning I tacked very near the Irish coast. Wouldn’t have minded to scout out one of these little bays, anchor and hike to the next distillery. It’s such a nice sensation to sail on flat water after a day of hard pounding !
    The ocean is still pretty wavy right here. It prevents the boat from picking up more speed.

    But she is at peace now. A small humming at the foil. A gentle roll with the swell. Just a few hours till we approach another low with strong winds starting at midnight again but only lasting till 5 in the morning. The rest after that is 2 more tacks and light to medium upwind fetching. Looking forward to tomorrow morning after the storm. Hoping to gain some miles back on the front. But not inclined to risk anything. We still need this boat! Once we are through the next 2 nights we are somewhat in what I would call the north. Above the track of the typical lows. Very short nights. Cold. I am looking forward to that. I will speak to the gods of the north in my dream.



    Monday sees the sea and wind conditions start to improve. The skippers will finally be able to scrutinise their charts a little more and refine their trajectory in between the two depressions shadowing their route towards the IOC - UNESCO buoy. The first boats are expected to arrive at the buoy this Thursday.

    After passing the Fastnet this morning, the lead group seems to have ruled out the east Ireland option. This route may seem like the winning option at first glance, but as we look closer we can see that light winds are announced in the North as well as a small pocket in the East, making it less favorable for the fleet. The boats should therefore continue West for a few hours and take advantage of the west wind shift, allowing them to position themselves Southwest of the L2 depression.

    The second group may have a harder time catching and taking advantage of L2. They will, however, be able to take advantage of the next depression; L3. Propelling them north before resuming the route towards the West in its northern part.

    The situation may seem quite clear, yet it requires a lot of attention and responsive navigation from the skippers. As always, inherent costs are associated with one small error during a race like this. Each tack must be reflected upon and adjusted in the line with weather patterns that vary greatly from one to another.

    The first group are expected to reach the IOC-UNESCO waypoint on Thursday 9th July.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne Preview started by Photoboy View original post