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Posts Tagged ‘cape horn’

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Clean Report

Shortly after rounding Cape Horn is his wrong-way circumnavigation attempt in the Nigel Irens-designed Ultim Actual (née Sodebo), Yves Le Blevec’s big trimaran found itself in 50-70 knots of Southern Ocean breeze and 5-7 metre waves, and something had to give.  It turns out that the big boat had the same weakness her sistership did; the beams couldn’t take the punishment, and when one of them broke, the trimaran capsized.

Fortunately the Chilean Navy and the cruise ship Stella Australis were around to help, and as you can see from the picture to the left, Le Blevec is safe and sound.  We’ll have more below, but this is a good time to point out just how cursed these Irens 100s seem to be.  Despite a narrow, conservative design specifically tailored for solo sailing, all three sisterships have now behaved very, very badly, with one death to count between them and a couple more that could easily have gone that way. Let’s look at each of them:

Gavignet’s Oman Air Majan was built off the molds for IDEC 2 and Sodebo to become the progenitor of the Arabian 100 one-design trimaran fleet.  After snapping a beam, Gavignet was plucked off the bent deck by a commercial ship and dropped off in Europe.

Francis Joyon’s RTW-record crushing Irens 100 IDEC 2 went on to Chinese ownership as China Qingdao under management of Volvo Ocean Race vet (Green Dragon) and record-breaking Chinese solo sailor Guo Chuan.  Chuan disappeared halfway into his Pacific solo record attempt last year, and the empty yacht was recovered a few months later.

Now Le Blevec is sitting in Punta Arenas while his shore team work on salvage.

Maybe it is better to just let these cursed boats die?

More info in the thread here, and official news from the Actual record attempt site.

The whole News team warmly thanks the CROSS Gris Nez, the MRCC of Chile and the crew of the Stella Australis, baffled to rescue Yves le Blevec, for their responsiveness and efficiency.

After the emotions of the first hours and the rescue of Yves, the time is of course also looking for explanations, because nothing was left to fear such events last night, when Yves doubled the hard way. He mastered the situation, sailing lightly (3 reefs, tormentin) in the weather conditions that had been estimated by his router, Christian Dumard, namely 30 knots of wind, gusts, and 5 to 6 meters of hollow.

Now that Yves is safe on the ground, the technical team is going to tackle the issue of trimaran salvage.

Given the incredibly bad luck that both of the big Irens trimarans have had

The reaction of Samuel TUAL, President of Groupe Actual  : “It is a great disappointment to the size of the challenge that we tried to achieve with Yves. I am sad for Yves and the employees of Groupe Actual who were all behind him. We knew it was going to be difficult, but I salute Yves’ audacity and courage for trying. This test does not detract from our determination to meet challenges. We continue to learn and grow, and we stay the course. “

December 14th, 2017 by admin

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No French solo sailor has more personality than “Le Roi” Jean Le Cam, and he’s in good spirits as he passes the Horn on the last day of the year.  Watch from about 1:10 to see him wrestle verbally with his Osmo camera’s auto-spin function, and go to the JLC facebook page to see dozens of great Vendee Globe cartoons.


December 31st, 2016 by admin

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Armel Le Cle’ach rounded Cape Horn on a sunny summer day, once again showing he can do no wrong in this edition of the Vendee Globe.  His 47-day tally from France to the Horn shaves an incredible 5 days off Francois Gabart’s record-destroying benchmark of just four years ago, and with Hugo Boss more or less useless upwind on one tack, it’s all over but the cryin’ for him – and in fact, Jeremie Beyou on the Master of Cock has a real chance of reeling in the unlucky Thomson.

Stephane LeDiraison got the worst of recent bad luck, and he blames his dismasting quite specifically on a shattered Harken runner block.  Here’s some of his words as translated by SA’er Laurent:

It is middle of the night, there is 6 Beaufort, The sea state is already well-developed; I am ahead of a cold front. The boat is doing about 16-17 knots.  The boat speeds up in a gust, and I hear something like a gun shot. A very violent noise, something very sudden, very short, very loud.

I run outside, and when I turn around and look forward, I realize that…the mast is gone.  Almost nothing is left. There is a 1 meter piece of the mast still tied to the deck and another 4 meter long piece, with shrouds and spreader attempting to punch holes in the deck.  Everything else, the rig and the sails are dragging in the water.

So I go back inside, put on my survival suit, a harness, take with me some spotlights and go back on deck to do a quick assessment, which ends up very dire, of course. Not only the rig is gone, but I have damaged the daggerboards, stanchions are gone…and the rig is threatening to hole the hull.

It takes me several hours to clean up the mess. You have to understand the conditions: breaking waves washing the deck, wind is getting stronger and stronger…Very cold water, all in the middle of the night. It is really not easy to manage…First, I keep the rig and the sails attached to the transom, thinking that I will be able to recover some sails. After several trials, it is obvious that it is impossible to do. It is even dangerous, because the whole rig behaves like a sea anchor, attached to the transom, stopping the boat in the breaking waves. The wind is now 8 Beaufort, the swell is about 5 to 6 meters high, so each breaking wave is crashing in the cockpit, sinking the rear of the boat. It is now puting the boat, and therefore myself in danger. So I decide, heartbroken, to cut off everything and let the rig go.

Watch it all unfold in the thread here.


December 24th, 2016 by admin

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Try as they might, French marketeers just don’t have a handle on the art of the publicity stunt.  Brian Hancock mentioned it the other day, and now the video is in of Julbo eyewear and Franck Cammas becoming the first humans to foil around the Horn. While they accomplished their goal, is it wrong for us to be completely underwhelmed?  ‘Cause we are.

We also wonder what it says about the Flying Phantom that Cammas chose to go with the Nacra 20 FCS instead of the boat he helped to develop.  Was the FP not up to the task for the first stunt we’ve ever seen from the Man in Green?

Hey – at least they added their names to the record books – and got a nice big spread in GQ-France.  Clicky above for the video.


November 23rd, 2015 by admin