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Thread: 2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

  1. #41
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    Dalin Expected To Pass Cape Of Good Hope Monday




    After more than twenty days of sailing, the pecking order is becoming clearer with the leader Charlie Dalin expected to pass the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope on Monday. The South Atlantic has not been very kind for more than ten days, but the weather pattern concerning the St. Helena high is now allowing the two groups of chasers not to lose any more ground. The first Southern low-pressure system is meanwhile developing off Cape Town…

    The Cape of Good Hope is coming up for the leaders at least. They are now wondering how to tackle this headland which is never the most welcoming. This is the first of the three capes in the round the world voyage before Cape Leeuwin (S.W. Australia) and the Horn (at the southern tip of South America).

    After more than three weeks of racing to round South Africa, the leader has not smashed any records, as the reference time between Les Sables d’Olonne and the Cape of Good Hope is still held by Alex Thomson with a time of 17 days 22 hours and 58 minutes since 2016. But just four years earlier in 2012, it took Armel Le Cléac’h almost 23 days to reach the tip of Africa…




    Shine a light
    As the leader enters the gateway to the Indian Ocean (Charlie Dalin with a lead of 250 miles), what are the conditions like in the South Atlantic? With Jérémie Beyou (Charal) crossing the Equator this morning, there are no longer any competitors left in the Northern Hemisphere this afternoon (Sunday). Given the tricky weather, the fourth week starts today with the important advantage of shorter nights and a well-lit sky.

    The Moon shines brightly every 29 and a half days on its journey around the Earth. The full moon lights up both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Moon rises in the East and sets in the West lighting up the ocean at night. It offers a magnificent sight to the sailors as in the absence of clouds in the sky, they are able to make out the shadows of all the marine life.




    From Brazil to South Africa – very different conditions

    That is indeed the case for the “Brazilians”: the third group led by Alexia Barrier (TSE-4myplanet) on the oldest of the IMOCA monohulls. She is currently sailing off Salvador da Bahia in the trade winds, which have finally turned further east. With the wind on the beam, this group which also includes Miranda Merron (Campagne de France), Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit-Jiliti) and the Finnish sailor, Ari Huusela (STARK) and Sébastien Destremau (merci) a hundred miles further back, can look forward to reaching the Forties in the middle of the week.

    As for the group ahead of them with Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle), Didac Costa (One planet-One ocean), Manuel Cousin (Groupe SÉTIN) and Pip Hare (Medallia), they are able to enjoy quieter conditions in the Atlantic with a gentle, yet more stable NE’ly breeze, before a new low-pressure system develops out of Uruguay. They are a long way from the leading group, which is hanging on to the first Southern low.

    The leader at the Cape of Good Hope on Monday

    Some like Sam Davies (Initiatives Cœur) and Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL) are already behind the cold front, so on rougher seas in a fresh to strong SW’ly air stream (25-30 knots), forcing them to sail towards the edge of the Ice Exclusion Zone at around 45°S. The others out in front are still ahead of the cold front and working hard to stay there for as long as possible. That is the case for Sébastien Simon (ARKEA-PAPREC) who is speeding along and even overtaken Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-YC de Monaco) and now has his sights on Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and Kevin Escoffier (PRB).

    Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) has dropped back from third place and is likely to fall further back in the coming hours with an attack from the foilers from more or less the latest generation, but out in front it is still the two Verdier designed boats setting the pace. In spite of a shortened port foil, Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) is managing to keep up an average speed of around twenty knots, just like Charlie Dalin (Apivia), who is keeping the chasing boats in check on a very straight course towards the Cape of Good Hope. From now on, it will be the gybes behind the cold front that will determine the rankings that follow.





    ******************************
    The leaders of the Vendée Globe fleet are now in a strong south-westerly flow approaching the Cape of Good Hope. Leader Charlie Dalin, is expected to cross the first great Cape this afternoon. The weather for the pacemakers is much colder and this passage under South Africa promises to be quite tough with a breeze contrary to the Agulhas current which flows down the east side of the African continent, marking the western edge of the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.

    For the leaders who are now mostly in the SW’ly air flow the temperatures are much colder, around 7 deg C, unstable winds 25kts gusting to 35kts on big, unruly seas which sluice over the deck, water temperature no more than 8 dec C. They are racing behind the front and dropping south-eastwards towards the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. After the first three weeks of racing this is a first cold, wet wake up call to the joys of the big south. The sun cannot break through the cloud cover and the first big southern storm is on its way, and of course the colder air is much more dense and so each gust feels much more powerful than the recorded windspeed.

    Dalin has had to route more to the north, to 38 degrees, where the race leader will have to negotiate the gyres, the circulation of the Agulhas current which will cause big, crossed seas with the wind blowing against the current. Behind him the chasing pack of six, riding the wheel of second placed Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who is a little slower at times because of his chopped port foil. That said in the big seas the foilers will not be drawing on all their power and righting moment right now and so Ruyant and Jean Le Cam on his trusty daggerboard Yes We Cam will scarcely be disadvantaged.



    As the Saint Helena high pressure slips to the south east after his hydraulic oil problems of the weekend Alan Roura (La Fabrique) has been caught by it again and has a hard time off Tristan da Cunha. Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) was down during the night passing the island of Gough and with Romain Attanasio (PURE-Best Western Hotels & Resorts) in her east Cremer will do well to dive quickly towards the south east so as not to be swallowed up by the high pressure and light winds again.



    Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) finally sees the end of his own light winds tunnel with a welcome northerly breeze after the calm he has suffered over recent days and he begins to slant more to the south east. Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) was the first to go south and look to bypass the high pressure cell at 35 ° North. In his wake now, the three amigos (Cousin-Costa-Hare) have a foiler on their hips in Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence) who is now certainly going faster in these more active conditions. Tripon will still find it difficult to follow the new big southern depression which is moving very quickly and will reach the leaders, and maybe force them to slow right down or climb out of its way in some three days time, between Cape Town and the Kerguelens.



    At the back Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One) is outpacing Sébastien Destremau (Merci) in the Brazilian trade winds which are quite easterly. These conditions also suit Jérémie Beyou (Charal) who can lengthen his stride off Recife and who should come back verystrongly in the coming days in ideal conditions to cut miles back on the leaders.

    Kevin Escoffier (PRB) third this morning, “

    "There is definitely quite a bit more sea now and this is just the start. I looked at the nav last night to find a route that takes into account a lot of different parameters: the state of the sea, the Agulhas current, not going too far to the north and take a bashing with the wind against the current , and also the wind. We have a first blow, but it is especially the second with the next frontal passage that really influences our routing decisions.

    The weather files are not yet agreed on the passage of this new southern depression: you have to position yourself for the first but really well for the second one. You don’t want too much wind bit need to not lose too much distance on my competitors. With my group here we made the choice not to be too close to Good Hope and the waves and the current of the Agulhas. Charlie Dalin should avoid the second depression, but we, the chasing group, are going to get it. The passage of the front on December 4th is likely to be quite big. We will have our first gale with 35 knots and six meters of waves. We already have four meters of waves with a fairly irregular wind that goes from 20 to 30 knots.

    On the temperature side, it's still OK but I'm starting to layer up with fleeces. And the water has is cooler for sure. You really feel the difference from being in the Saint Helena high pressure system. But I still spend some time outside, trimming, I see some of my rivals are sailing higher so I need to change sails.”
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    PRB Dismasts, Le Cam Diverts To Assist



    UPDATE #3

    Here is what has happened since Kevin Escoffier triggered the distress beacon on his IMOCA PRB on Monday November 30 at 2:46 p.m. in the Roaring Forties, on the 22 nd race day of the Vendée Globe. Triggered immediately by the race director, the research initiated by Jean Le Cam, first to arrive in the area, is continuing with the support of three IMOCAs who were also confused.

    Since Kevin Escoffier warned his shore team that a waterway had broken out in the IMOCA PRB this Monday at 2:46 p.m., rescue operations have been deployed, and they continue to expand. Before leaving the edge, Kevin Escoffier triggered the boat's distress beacon, signaled at position 40 ° 55 South 9 ° 18 East when it was activated.

    In fact, Jean Le Cam was the first to be confused by the race management. At 5 pm, the skipper of Yes We Cam! arrives on the zone, guided by the race director who gives him in real time the positioning of Kevin Escoffier's personal beacon (AIS MOB Man Over Board).

    Jean Le Cam sails with 3 reefs in the mainsail, in order to remain mobile in winds of 20 knots, and troughs of 5 meters. Eye contact is made; the skipper of Port-la-Forêt sees the life raft, he also sees his competition partner, probably equipped with his TPS survival suit, and a voice exchange takes place between the two men.

    The time to make a maneuver to get back as close as possible to the raft, Jean le Cam will lose visual contact with Kevin Escoffier, in this very rough sea and in the dark. Since then, the skipper of Yes We Cam! did not cease his efforts, but could no longer locate the raft with Kevin on board and did not pick up the AIS signal, the range of which was reduced due to heavy seas.

    In order to reinforce the research, the race director confused three skippers who were racing in the same peloton: Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer - Yacht de Monaco), Yannick Bestaven (Maître-CoQ), then Sébastien Simon (ARKEA PAPREC) in order to facilitate the research crisscrossing the area. On site, Jean Le Cam shares information on the state of the sea, wind and currents with the DC.

    At 9.45 p.m., Yannick Bestaven joined the area. Boris Herrmann is expected to arrive around 11 p.m. Sébastien Simon is expected a little later. All will respect the protocol established by the race director in conjunction with Jean Le Cam on site, ie an approach with three reefs in the mainsail and the engine unhooked. A fine grid process for the area has been established and will be carried out by the four IMOCAs who have come to provide assistance.

    The PRB shore team specified that, in addition to his AIS MOB, Kevin Escoffier also had something to signal his presence in the liferaft. The day will rise tomorrow morning around 4:40 am HF in the investigation area.
    Research continues.


    This press release was written jointly by the Vendée Globe teams and Team PRB.


    ********************

    Kevin Escoffier, 40, who is racing in third place in the Vendée Globe solo non-stop around the world race, positioned some 550 nautical miles SW of Cape Town, has triggered his distress beacon. He was racing in a strong SW’ly air stream on starboard tack behind a weather front.



    At 1346hrs (UTC), he managed to send a message to his shore team, explaining that he had an ingress of water into his boat. The rescue team (MRCC Cape Town and CROSS Griz Nez) is preparing an action plan in collaboration with his PRB shore team, with Jacques Caraës and the Vendée Globe Race Direction team. Jean Le Cam, the nearest competitor, has changed course to sail to the last position given by the boat when the beacon was triggered (40°55 S 9°18 E).
    He is expected to reach the area at around 1600hrs UTC. More information to follow.

    ******************

    Jean le Cam has arrived in the area and has seen Kevin in his life raft. He is under engine preparing to recover Escoffier. More info to come.

    UPDATE:

    Jean le Cam has arrived in the area and sees Kevin Escoffier in his liferaft. Yannick Bestaven, Boris Herrmann and Sébastien Simon arrive as reinforcements.

    Info from 8:30 p.m.
    The race director asked Sébastien Simon ( ARKEA PAPREC ) to change his mind .

    7:15 pm Info
    In order to reinforce Jean Le Cam ( Yes We Cam! ), The Race Direction asked Yannick Bestaven ( Master CoQ IV ) and Boris Herrmann ( Seaexplorer-YC of Monaco ) to change their minds. The two solo sailors are currently heading towards Kevin Escoffier ( PRB ).

    5:00 pm Info.
    Alerted and invited to be diverted by the Race Direction, while he was sailing less than 20 miles from PRB , Jean Le Cam arrived in the area at 5:00 pm. It was then advancing at a little over 15 knots, in permanent contact with the Race Direction. Jean le Cam saw PRB's life raft , then its skipper inside.

    Info 16:45
    Kevin Escoffier was changing 3 th position in the Vendée Globe in 22 th day when race triggered his distress beacon (mayday). It was advancing on starboard tack behind a front in a sustained southwesterly flow. At 2:46 p.m. (French time), he was able to send a message to his shore team, explaining that there was water in the boat.

    Rescue services (CROSS de Gris-Nez, MRCC Cape Town) are set up in conjunction with the PRB shore team , with Jacques Caraës and the Vendée Globe Race Direction team. Jean Le Cam, the closest competitor, was diverted to approach the last known position of the boat when the beacon was triggered (40 ° 55 South 9 ° 18 East). He should arrive in the area around 5 p.m. (HF).
    Last edited by Photoboy; 11-30-2020 at 05:04 PM.
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    Escoffier Rescued!




    At 2:18 am French time, the PRB team was informed of the rescue of Kevin Escoffier by Jean Le Cam. At the HQ since the beginning of the evening, the President of PRB, Jean-Jacques Laurent, assisted minute after minute with the race director Jacques Caraës and the entire race management team in all the rescue operations deployed for meet the skipper, forced to leave the edge around 14:46 French time.

    "He's on board with Jean!" We just saw it ”. A few quick words without more detail arose in the dead of night. A huge relief for the whole team, Kevin's family and all those involved in the Vendée Globe at sea, but also on land. The hours since Kevin's last message just before he urgently boarded his liferaft have been endless. Everything has been done to find the Malouin tossed around in his life raft on the border with the Indian Ocean, 600 miles southwest of the Cape of Good Hope.

    Kevin has so far only been seen aboard YesWeCam! via a live video because Jean Le Cam had connected his video system during all the search operations. No one has yet been able to chat with the PRB skipper who just appeared smiling, bundled up in his survival suit alongside Jean Le Cam.


    © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea / VG2020
    Jacques Caraës, the clerk of the course said: “We sent Jean back to a position received by the CROSS Gris Nez, a position sent by the distress beacon on board EPIRB. Météo France's drift simulation also corresponded to this trace. Jean set off at 12:15 GMT (1:15 French time) on our order to reach this point at reduced speed. He did not find anyone at the given position. He then resumed his journey south-east for three-quarters of an hour - an hour.
    As he was making headway at 1.5 knots in a 20-25 knot wind under very reduced canopy (3 reefs in the mainsail and no motor), he disappeared from the screen and we heard him speak. We no longer saw anyone. Then, a few minutes after 1:06 UT, or 2:06 French time (time at which he must have precisely retrieved Kevin on board), Jean went back down to the chart table, then we saw Kevin arrive behind his back in a survival suit. They appeared seconds, both fit before the video cut. He is fine. Everyone is well. They are recovering! " .

    On January 6, 2009, during the Vendée Globe, Vincent Riou, then skipper of PRB , saved Jean Le Cam off Cape Horn. This time, the "King Jean" succeeds in his turn to come out of a very bad step Kevin Escoffier. The incredible story of an extraordinary rescue in a decidedly extraordinary race!

    The entire Team PRB sincerely thanks Jean Le Cam and the three other skippers, Boris Herrmann, Yannick Bestaven and Sébastien Simon who have worked heroically and tirelessly to find Kevin, as well as the race director, the CROSS Gris Nez. and the MRCC Cape Town, which carried out the search operations remarkably.

    More information to come.
    This press release has been drawn up jointly by the Vendée Globe teams and the PRB Team.
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    The Rescue Of Kevin Escoffier In Detail




    After eleven and a half hours in his liferaft since being forced to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB in strong winds and big seas 840 nautical miles SW of Cape Town, Vendée Globe skipper Kevin Escoffier was dramatically rescued by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam at around 0118hrs UTC this Tuesday morning.

    Escoffier was racing in third place on the 22nd day of the Vendée Globe solo round the world race in 25-30kts SWly winds and big seas when his boat nosedived into a wave and, he reported after his rescue, literally broke in two, giving him minutes to grab his survival suit and take to his liferaft.

    His boat’s emergency distress beacon was automatically activated. The emergency signal was transmitted to CROSS Griz Nez which immediately alerted Vendée Globe Race Direction in Les Sables d’Olonne.

    At the same time 40 year old Escoffier from Saint Malo, a very experienced southern ocean racer who has won the crewed Volvo Ocean Race and held the Trophée Jules Verne record for the crewed speed record round the world, called his technical team with the terse message "I need assistance. I am sinking. This is not a joke."

    Race Direction called on Jean Le Cam, the racer closest to PRB’s position, to divert his course immediately to the zone. The veteran 61 year old who is on his fifth Vendée Globe race, arrived at around 1615hrs UTC and located Escoffier’s liferaft, establishing visual and voice contact despite the big, unruly seas and winds gusting to 35kts.

    But Le Cam's repeated initial efforts failed and Race Direction had to escalate the operation.

    Remarkably it was hours later, only when Escoffier appeared in the background of a video call that Le Cam had left running through the entire proceedure, that Race Direction fully realised Le Cam had rescued the stricken solo racer.

    Le Cam recalled “Because I had a good position. I told him I will be back there was no need to rush things. I had just the main with two reefs in 30-32 knots with the rough seas it was not easy to manoeuvre. I came back to the spot where I left him but there was no one there.” Le Cam reported early this morning, “ I went there (looking for him) five or six times which means I had to tack five or six times because of the mishaps that happened all the time, the sea state and so on, I ended up going backwards and lost sight of him.”

    Because of the pitch black night and the bad wind and sea conditions, Race Direction requested three other skippers to divert to the rescue zone, Germany’s Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco), Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and Sébastien Simon (ARKEA PAPREC).

    Race Direction drew up a search protocol using Meteo France’s MOTHY (Modèle Océanique de Transport d'HYdrocarbures). drift prediction programme and engaged the three solo skippers in a triangle search pattern. They had intermittent distress beacon signals which appeared to follow no pattern.

    Race Director Jacques Caraës explained, “We always had a signal. The only position we were getting was the MOB but we did not know if it was attached to Kevin as it appeared to be quite random and moving a lot from one place to another. And so we did not know if the EPIRB was in the liferaft or close to the boat or what. At some point we thought we thought the EPIRB could be in the liferaft, it could be with him, the EPRB could be drifting in the water or it could be attached to the IMOCA (yacht). And so it was not easy. But when we saw that the EPIRB position was lining up with the drift prediction track we sent Jean to that point.”

    “We had organised a triangle search scan pattern with Yannick Bestaven, who went seven miles away, then Boris was closer and Sébastien was closer. They did seven miles across by 0.3 of a mile apart on each scan. They sailed with three reefs. Jean Le Cam recommended that because it was a battle. The wind was dropping a bit. But at the beginning when Jean saw Kevin the weather was bad. Jean did seven scans.”





    Speaking on a video link this morning a relieved Le Cam said, “I arrived, it was all good, I saw him. Kevin in his liferaft. Because I had a good position. I told him I will be back there was no need to rush things. I had just the main with two reefs in 30-32 knots with the rough seas it was not easy to manoeuvre. I came back to the spot where I left him but there was no one there. I went there (looking for him) five or six times which means I had to tack five or six times because of the mishaps that happened all the time, the sea state and so on, I ended up going backwards.”

    “I told myself I would stay on standby and wait for daylight. Then I thought that in the dark it might be easier to see his light. One moment when I was on deck I saw a flash, but in fact it was a reflection that glinted off a wave. But the more I got closer to the light I saw it more and more. It is amazing because you switch from despair to an unreal moment in an instant.”




    “I put myself to windward of him, I saw Kevin. Kevin asked me ‘will you be back?’ I said, ‘No we are doing this now!’ Then at one point the boat was falling backwards too fast in reverse and he was just there, two metres off the stern, and thank goodness I had prepared the red life ring that is usually in the cockpit. I throw it to him, and he catches it.I threw him the life ring. And he caught it and then he managed to pull himself in to catch the transmission bar (rudder link arm). And that was it.”

    Escoffier described the moment the boat literally folded from the bow, “You see the images of shipwrecks? It was like that, but worse. In four seconds the boat nosedived, the bow folded at 90°. I put my head down in the cockpit, a wave was coming. I had time to send one text before the wave fried the electronics. It was completely crazy. It folded the boat in two. I’ve seen a lot before but this one…”

    Caraës praised his team and the collaboration of the rescue authorities and Jean-Jacques Laurent the CEO of PRB, a long time sponsor of entries into the Vendée Globe who was at Race HQ all night, assisting and supporting the mission,
    “It is the outcome we were hoping for. It was pitch black, not easy conditions but finally the outcome is almost a miracle. It was not easy to pick Kevin up in the middle of the night, Jean is an extremely experienced sailor and he always followed our instructions to the letter. And we were lucky enough to have experts helping us on all sides, Meteo France with their drift simulation programme that corresponded with our EPIRB tracking. But we had lots of unknowns, lots of different positions. We had to be positive all the time and believe in things. We were lucky, luck was on our side. It is a very happy outcome and we at Race Direction are very happy.”


    This amazing rescue reverses roles played out between 5th and 6th January 2009, during the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe. Vincent Riou, the then the skipper of PRB, rescued Jean Le Cam from his upturned IMOCA 60 which had capsized 200 miles west of Cape Horn. Le Cam was trapped inside his upturned VM Materiaux for 16 hours during which time it was not known for certain if Le Cam was safe inside his boat or not.

    Asked this morning if he was scared or worried during his ordeal in his liferaft Escoffier replied, “No. As soon as I had seen Jean I was sure I would be saved.”

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    The Hits Keep Coming

    UPDATE:


    Since this morning and the shock with an UFO that occurred at 9:20 am HF, Sébastien Simon has put the race on hold. It progresses with the mainsail lowered (only the horn remains) and under storm surge (small storm sail). Safety is now the priority on board ARKEA PAPREC.

    Given the very tough sailing conditions to come (more than 30-35 knots of wind, 5 meters of hollow), Sébastien, in agreement with his team, decided to head north to get away from the strongest wind. and the sea. For this night, it is a question of being able to secure the boat as much as possible, damaged at the starboard foil. The objective is to request ARKEA PAPREC as little as possible by limiting its speed of progression and the associated constraints during the passage of the front this evening and to escape the bulk of the depression this night. Tomorrow, in an area where the 60-footer will be less battered by waves and strong winds, Sébastien will then be able to more calmly study the possibilities for repairs and set up the various scenarios under study with his team on land.




    This morning at 9:20 am HF, ARKEA PAPREC hit a UFO. This shock caused significant damage to the starboard foil. The situation is taken in hand by the skipper and his team ashore. Sébastien is not injured.
    While sailing in 4th position in the Vendée Globe to 436 miles from the leader Charlie Dalin, ARKEA PAPREC collided with a UFO. The impact took place with the starboard foil. The skipper quickly established an inventory which he shared with his shore team and the race director to warn them of the situation.



    The starboard foil is damaged. The low wedge (low fulcrum of the foil, junction between the foil and the boat) and the foil well (it is in this well that the foil crosses the boat) are no longer attached to the boat. Sébastien is doing everything he can to get the situation under control, particularly in anticipation of heavy seas and sustained winds to come next night. He laid the boat down to limit the entry of water, the importance of which is not yet known.



    Remember that Sébastien was among the baffled boats to go and rescue Kevin Escoffier the day before last night. He was able to resume his route in the race at the end of the rescue operations, at 2:24 HF in the night from Monday to Tuesday. Since then, he has adorned the Cape of Good Hope, the first highly symbolic passage of this solo round-the-world trip. It was 3:30 am HF last night. She was sailing on port tack at 17.6 knots instantaneous speed in the 9:00 HF ranking in about 20 knots from the west and rough seas with troughs of 3 to 4 meters.
    Last edited by Photoboy; 12-02-2020 at 11:58 AM.
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  6. #46
    If they were looking to push things to the limit, they may have exceeded it a bit!

  7. #47
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    Sam Davies Latest UFO Victim



    Bad news: Initiatives-Heart hit an unidentified floating object (OFNI). Thankfully Sam isn't hurt.

    She is heading north at low speed and inspects her boat to assess the damage with her team. She will keep us posted asap.


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    Update From Sam

    UPDATE:

    Having struck something in the water last night Sam Davies this morning is heading out of the worst of the weather and the sea state to further assess the damage to Initiatives Coeur. She spoke to Vendee Globe HQ this morning.

    Sam Davies this morning on the audio call, “I was sailing last night I had gybed in the shift in the front, there was 30-35kts of wind for the gybe and that had gone well, and I was happy with where I was. I was sailing on starboard gybe heading east, and obviously the sea state was quite chaotic which it has been for the last two days. And obviously I know I was in these currents and I know these risks are there but I was sailing really nicely, as well as possible given the sea state. So speeds between 15 and 22kts and I was actually just making a hot meal after the gybe and the stack and everything and it was just starting to get dark.



    I hit something. I did not see anything. I did not know what it was. It was pretty much dark when it happened. But it was as if I had run aground on a rock at the time. The boatspeed went from 20kts to zero. The boat nosedived on the impact with the keel. I knew it was the keel. I heard a crack coming from there. I and everything else flew forwards, including my dinner which has repainted the entire inside of my boat. Everything moved. I went flying into a ring frame, luckily, because that could have been worse. It was really violent. But luckily I have just hurt some ribs. It is not serious but really painful. But I stopped the boat, dropped the main, and went to check around the keel, the bearings and the bulkhead. The bulkhead, the main bearing bulkheads (which support the keelbox) are intact as far as I can see. The keelbearings are intact.

    The longitudinal structure around the keelbox is all cracked. That has taken the shock of the impact of when the boat moved, that is cracked on both sides. The keel ram, because the keel ram goes through the sidewall of the keelbox, that had all moved and there is a watertight seal on the ram and that was knocked off. There was some water coming in but I have a really good immersion pump which I got going really quickly and permanently to keep the water down. For me the most important thing is to stabilise the boat. It is still is really bad, 30kts of wind, so I have the boat on a course which will minimise all the strains and effort on the keel and the bulkheads. And then I ran a whole lot of checks with my team who mobilised really quickly, the architects and the structural engineers just to check I was not in immediate danger. We did that really and the news was reassuring, they were really confident that I am not in danger unless I sail fast, so there is no bad noise and the keel is still in its bearings and not moving at all. I cannot sail at any speed, so I am heading slowly towards Cape Town because that is the nearest shelter and we are continuing to assess the damage and what to do with my shore team who are being amazing.”

    Sam Davies / Initiatives-Cœur
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  9. #49
    My guess is only 15 boats complete the race unscathed and Cam wins on redress!

  10. #50
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    The Cape Of Sorrows




    Each edition of the Vendée Globe, Cape Town, South Africa provides final safe haven for stricken solo racers to retire to, restore their mental equilibrium, to reflect on what should have been and to enjoy the safety and security of terra firma after nursing an injured IMOCA to port.

    After nearly seven days and 1800 miles since he announced his hopes of winning the 2020 Vendée Globe had been terminated by a broken starboard rudder, Alex Thomson arrived in Cape Town this morning. He will be joined over the weekend by young Vendéen skipper Sébastien Simon who also announced he has had to give up the race because of damage to his starboard foil casing and his foil on the Juan K designed ARKEA PAPREC.

    Of the 33 IMOCAs which started the race, four have now officially abandoned, CORUM L’Épargne, PRB, HUGO BOSS and ARKEA PAPREC.

    Thomson said, “I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened, and I’m obviously utterly devastated that this is how the race has ended for us.”

    “But, as I’ve said before, it’s in our toughest moments that we find our greatest strength. Now we have to pick ourselves up and move forwards, and I’ve no doubt that we can do that together as a team. Over the past week or so we’ve been reminded of just how difficult this race is. I’ve said it time and time again but there really is no sporting challenge in the world as tough as the Vendée Globe. I have such admiration for any skipper who takes on this race. My thoughts go out to those who, like us, have had their races cut short. And I wish the remaining skippers a safe passage and a good race. I’ll be watching closely.”



    CHART



    The British skipper has been forced into Cape Town in early December before. His first Vendée Globe ended with his retiral on 7th December 2004 after an area of his coachroof around the mast gave way due to a structural problem. And in 2006 he and Mike Golding arrived in Cape Town on December 3rd 2006 after Golding had dramatically rescued Thomson from his IMOCA in the Southern Ocean after he had to abandon it because his keel had failed. Golding’s mast broke not long after the rescue and the pair had to sail 1000 miles north under jury rig.





    Alex Thomson arrived in Cape Town, South Africa this morning and officially notified Race Direction of his abandon from the Vendee Globe. He took nearly one week for him to sail HUGO BOSS the 1800 miles to the South African haven. Thomson suffered irreparable rudder damage which left him with no alternative but to retire.

    On his arrival at the dock Thomson said: “I’m certainly relieved to be back on dry land but I have very mixed emotions today. I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened, and I’m obviously utterly devastated that this is how the race has ended for us. But, as I’ve said before, it’s in our toughest moments that we find our greatest strength. Now we have to pick ourselves up and move forwards, and I’ve no doubt that we can do that together as a team”.

    “Over the past week or so we’ve been reminded of just how difficult this race is. I’ve said it time and time again but there really is no sporting challenge in the world as tough as the Vendée Globe. I have such admiration for any skipper who takes on this race. My thoughts go out to those who, like us, have had their races cut short. And I wish the remaining skippers a safe passage and a good race. I’ll be watching closely.

    “My arrival here in Cape Town marks our retirement from the race. To everyone who has sent messages – a huge thank you. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received. It means so much to us, it really does.

    “Right now, I’m looking forward to a shower, some sleep and getting home to my wife and my beautiful children”.

    [IMG]://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/93367680689280976634.jpg[/IMG]

    Britain’s Sam Davies is making steady progress north under reduced sail nursing her damaged Initiatives Coeur back to sheltered waters and this afternoon was about 80 miles south of Cape Town. After the best sleep since she hit a floating object which has damaged the structure round her keel, Davies admitted that the emotions were suddenly released as she was accompanied on her route by an albatross, “The sun came out too which helps to ease the aches and pains - I went and sat outside in the warm sun. And then suddenly found myself in floods of tears - and this is a bit weird for me who never cries to deal with all these emotions. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying - whether it was sadness for my boat and for my place in this race, or relief that my boat and I are safe? Or a mix of all these emotions? I’ve always felt that it’s stupid to cry when you are alone on your boat - nobody’s going to help you or hug you or reassure you so it’s pretty much a waste of time and energy. But at that particular moment I had no control over these emotions. I leant on the coach roof and looked out and there, right there, really close, unusually close, was the most beautiful albatross I have seen, gliding past silently and slowly. He was so close. Normally the albatrosses keep their distance but this was different, as if he could feel my emotion and wanted to help. He stayed close and gave me a wonderful display of effortless flight that was a welcome distraction. They say that albatrosses have the souls of sailors of the past and I can well believe that. I feel like I am being escorted to safety by these amazing creatures and I am grateful for their concern!”




    Meantime yesterday night Romain Attanasio (Pure-Best Western), Davies’ partner was nervously crossing the exact same zone where she had her collision two days ago and where four years ago he hit something which damaged his rudder, requiring him to repair at anchor off Port Elizabeth.

    “I am fully in the zone where Sam and Seb hit their OFNIs and it is exactly the same area as I did four years ago, the same spot same latitude, same longitude it is in the Agulhas current, there are all sorts of things in the water, objects, it is a zone which is a bit critical. I am reaching in quite a big sea and so I am on high alert. I have my eyes on OSCAR as much as possible, this camera system that surveys the route. You can’t see much in the water on the surface. So it is not easy all this.” Said Attanasio







    Conditions are still demanding for the fleet leaders who will shortly be able to angle more to the south east after passing the corner of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. Led by Charlie Dalin (Apivia) with Louis Burton now just 140 miles behind on Bureau Vallée, they are still all struggling to set a good average speed in the typically big seas and gusty winds. A second, deeper low pressure is set to combine next week to provide very testing conditions which it is most likely the leaders will change their route to avoid.

    The top ten now contains a fascinating mix of solo racers, six of them racing in the ‘big south’ for the first time, Charlie Dalin, Yannick Bestaven, Damien Seguin, Benjamin Dutreux. Isabelle Joschke and Giancarlo Pedote and still three non foiling boats, those of Seguin, Dutreux and Jean Le Cam.

    Louis Burton’s attacking force seems relentless, his wife Servane noting today on the Vendée Live English programme, “Louis never stops surprising me, but he has a mind of steel. When he went south he asked me, will you still love me if I screw up?"
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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