Posts Tagged ‘Vendee Globe’
It was great to get an update from Phil Sharp on Imerys and his drive to win the Classe 40 Championship, but what about the future for the charismatic Brit? Hit this 17-minute audio interview on Soundcloud about Sharp’s Vendee Globe aspirations, the pros and cons of hydrogen/fuel cell technology, which historical figure he’d most like to sail around the world with, and more.
One issue with Sharp’s claimed goal to be the first to race around the world with zero carbon fuels: Didn’t Conrad already win that battle?
April 15th, 2017 by admin
We’ve reported extensively on the troubles IMOCA has had reaching beyond the hotbed of solo interest that is France and frequently called for a shakeup in the conservative French scene, but until today, they’ve resisted any real change to their signature race, the Vendee Globe. This morning, Voiles et Voiliers broke the news that Vendee boss Jacques Caraes has pushed for and received the agreement of IMOCA to reverse the course of the race for the 2024 edition.
“Basically the race has lost its edge; the boats are too easy to sail and too quick to get caught by the worst storms,” Caraes told us by e-mail, explaining that the kind of life-threatening adventures that turned the Vendee into the biggest sporting event in France no longer exist. “If we are to get the world on board, we must have real adventure again!,” he said. The type of boat is still under discussion, but Caraes says they will aim for a target of around 130 days for the winning skipper. ”There’s only one race that the world will ever care about, and since we will never change the frequency of the race [once every four years -ed] both the organization and the fans need far more time than the 70-130 days in which the current fleet finishes. ” Caraes says the back-enders will take closer to a year, providing “maximum return for the international sponsors we are seeking to attract.”
Read on here.
- Tags: Vendee Globe
April 1st, 2017 by admin
There’s only one place in the world where you’d see an 60-foot racing yacht hoisted up on a nation’s most recognizable landmark, and it’s no surprise that place is France. Go here to find out what’s going on with Initiatives Coeur and the Eiffel Tower this coming May. Head to the finally-winding-down Vendee Globe thread for more info.
March 22nd, 2017 by admin
We’re not sure what it is about Conrad “The Crazy Kiwi/Friwi” Colman, but every race he enters becomes an Odyssian epic. His Global Ocean Race, Barcelona World Race, and now Vendee Globe have been long, grinding, obstacle-strewn voyages, and through conquering them, he’s proved to be one of the toughest sonofabitches in all of ocean racing. Conrad arrived in Les Sables D’Olonne yesterday after a two-week slog under jury rig to finish his first Vendee Globe, the first by a kiwi skipper, and the first-ever round-the-world finish without using a single drop of diesel or gasoline, and if we could get the busy man on the phone, we might be able to bring you a full debrief. Until then, we’ll give you the full finish report from his media team. Photo thanks to BRESCHI/Foresight Natural Energy with a full finish gallery over here.
After being dismasted late on the evening of Friday 10th February, when he was in tenth place and some 250 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal, Colman constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which has allowed him to sail the final 740 miles of the 27,440 nautical miles race which started from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 6th 2016. Since he was dismasted in what should have been his last big storm of his race, only three and half days from the finish line where he seemed assured of an impressive 10th place, Colman has run out of food and lasted out his final days on the survival rations from inside his life raft. On Wednesday he confirmed by radio that he had only two biscuits left.
Colman, a trained sailmaker and rigger, set one of the most efficient jury rigs seen in the history of ocean racing, working diligently and smartly to the end to improve the sheeting angles and hence efficiency of the rig which is constructed from his boom, part of his mainsail and his storm jib. Only Philippe Poupon and Yves Parlier have previously completed the Vendée Globe under jury rig, while others, like Mike Golding and Loïck Peyron had to set up jury rigs to bring their boats back to shore. He achieves his goal of becoming the first ever skipper to race solo non stop around the world completing the Vendée Globe using no fossil fuels, only renewable energies, his electrical power generated by an innovative electric motor, solar and hydro generated electricity and stored in a bank of high tech batteries.
Before leaving Les Sables d’Olonne he explained: “The objective is to have it as a reflection of my philosophies. Growing up in New Zealand I was aware of the hole in the Ozone layer there. I converted to become a vegetarian not especially because I care about cute lambs but because I was more concerned about the global impact of the chain, of food production and consumption. And so the project is a reflection of my ideals.”
He also is first New Zealand born skipper to finish the epic solo round the world race, concluding a remarkable storybook adventure which has captivated race watchers from all around the world since long before the start. His finish reflects his incredible tenacity, drive and talent, the culmination of a dream which saw him move from the USA to France over 10 years ago to pursue his goal of competing in the legendary solo round the world race. From pursuing an academic and business career in the USA, where his late father was from, Colman worked different marine related jobs to expand his skillset to a level where he could achieve a competitive finish in the Vendée Globe.
Before the start he spoke of how he had staked his financial future in taking part in the race. He found an unloved IMOCA 60 designed by South African Angelo Lavranos which to date had a chequered, limited racing history where he lived in Lorient, where it was being used for day charter hires, and set about refitting and re-optimising the boat in order that he could realise the boat’s true, untapped potential. Even a matter of ten days before the race start Colman did not have the funds to compete at what he considered to be the very minimum level of participation. But he was determined to go anyway. An absolute last minute call found support from the London based Foresight Group. His boat was only branded two days before the Sunday 6th November start.
On start day he said: “I feel great. How could I not. It is the start of the Vendée Globe and it is a sunny day. It is a dream I have been chasing for years and years and I have it here in my grasp. It was hard to say goodbye to my wife. I hang my wedding ring in the cockpit so she is always with me.” His spirit and skills have been tested in equal measure and on many occasions he has overturned situations which would have ended the Vendée Globe of lesser sailors. Even just days into his race he found an innovative way to repair a keel ram problem which jeopardised his race. An electrical fire damaged the wiring on his Foresight Natural Energy which sent his autopilots haywire. In one incredible 12 hour period he climbed his mast three times, spending hours aloft to repair sails.
The 33 year old has made mast climbing an almost commonplace skill among his extensive personal armoury of abilities required to compete in the Vendée Globe, despite the fact it was a fall from the top of a mast which took the life of his father whose legacy Colman holds dear.
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, near to the most remote point on the race course, Colman was caught in the path of one of the biggest storms of this race. His forestay, which holds up the mast, became detached when a pin failed. His IMOCA was knocked flat and stayed over for some hours in huge seas and winds gusting to 40-45kts. He took four days to recover, replacing the forestay, finally losing touch with Nandor Fa, the Hungarian skipper with whom he raced the 2014-2015 on Fa’s Spirit of Hungary who went on to take eighth place.
Conrad Colman’s remarkable Vendée Globe
9th November Conrad Colman is a Political Sciences graduate of the University of Colorado. He reacted to the news of the election of Donald Trump. “It is a bit of a shocker. I thought my uncle was playing a joke on me when the news came through. It makes me happy to be out here.” Colman, 17th, conceded a place to Louis Burton after sailing close to him approaching Madeira. “It is great being at sea, getting to know the boat after three weeks not sailing together. It took a little while to get into the groove. It’s good to be able to learn against Louis who has a slightly newer boat.”
11th November He ended up closer to Madeira than he had hoped. “The local effects of the island really slowed me down. I had been trying to pass over the top of Madeira and really got stuck there. I got sucked in by the shifting winds.”
12th November I hoisted my heavy weather furling spinnaker (which means it’s rolled up around a flexible cable). Just before I finished hoisting, the sail started to unfurl. I had to continue hoisting quickly otherwise I risked breaking the rope and losing the sail into the water.
The time that it took to top of the sail however, all hell had broken lose at the bottom. Because the sail had unrolled prematurely, the furling unit blocked and wrapped itself up in a collection of tack line, furling lines and sheets to create a thick bar tight multistrand cable with an angry sail on the end of it. It took me over four hours of non-stop work to rig another line to secure the sail.
15th November It is very much a course of learning by doing. That is one of the advantages of ocean racing is that you have plenty of time to sort things out, to learn and try different scenarios. So I have been trying different sail set ups, different ways of trimming. The boat is good upwind and downwind, reaching is not so good.
16th November Leak in the hydraulic system
18th November Out of the Doldrums. “It was easy in the Doldrums – I never stopped, my strongest squall was about 30kts.”
22nd November Four rookies in this part of the fleet put the pressure on the more experienced rivals around them – Frenchmen, Fabrice Amedeo and Stéphane Le Diraison, the Japanese sailor, Kojiro Shiraishi and the New Zealander, Conrad Colman are only a few miles apart.
25th November Climbs the mast to replace some lashing. “Going up the mast is the worst job to do onboard the mast. It’s really scary, it’s really dangerous. You’re 100ft or 30 metres up in the air, so the slightest movement of the boat or the smallest wave sends the tip of the mast swinging through an enormous arc and the thing that’s really tricky is there’s no-one here to help us climb to the top. Every time I come down I’m heavily bruised because of the violent movement at the top.”
Duel with Nandor Fa.
28th November At the latitude of Porto Alegre, struggling in light winds sometimes down to below six knots. “I’m fed up with the highs.”
2nd December Conrad celebrates his 33rd birthday. “I’m celebrating my birthday by doing the Vendée Globe. I’m also celebrating by eating salad. It’s made up of beansprouts, and I’m really excited to have fresh salad onboard. My wife also made me a special birthday food box containing some crusty dehydrated astronaut ice cream, which actually tasted terrible.
4th December Knocked flat. “An electric bypass destroyed one of the solar charge controllers and it damaged the electric cables next to it. It stopped the electronics and thus the pilot, and I lost control of the boat as I wasn’t at the helm. By the time I got there the boat was on its side and the gennaker in the water.”
“I saw black smoke and yellow flames leaping from behind the chart table. One of the solar charge controllers was burning and was in the process of taking down the entire electrical system. When the flames were gone I heard one beep from the autopilot and my world turned upside down. the boat bore away from the wind and did a crash gybe with me still inside, hands full of molten plastic.”
8th December “I feel a little like I’m sitting on death row and my fellow competitors have already been taken to have their last meal. It’s emotional and shocking to hear about Kito’s rescue and to think that for the third time in a row he won’t make it back to Les Sables under his own steam.”
Losing oil from hydraulic ram. Electronics problems. Had to climb the mast again to repair damaged solent.
16th December Pacific storm. Two reefs and small jib and still reaching peak speed of 27 knots.
18th December Crosses the longitude of Cape Leeuwin. “As a Kiwi I cannot going celebrate going past Australia too much. I always think Cape Leeuwin is the runt of the litter when it comes to the three Capes. It does not belong in the same company as the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.”
27th December After working on his autopilot problems, Conrad had to prepare to face a storm. 36 hours of violent winds and the need to be quick to remain ahead of the worst conditions. His boat was knocked down and he ripped his J2.
2nd January 60 knot gusts. Damage to standing rigging. (forestay pin) Had to wait for quieter weather to carry out repairs. 3 days of work. Exhausted after doing that in 40 knot gusts and then continued towards the Horn. Boat knocked down during the storm and another sail shredded. “Physically I am shattered. Emotionally I am very disappointed I felt like I was doing everything right, I was sailing very conservatively at the time, I was let down by a technical failure.”
12th January Colman rounded Cape Horn in 10th place at 0416 UTC after 66 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes
21st January Slow climb back up the coast of South America due to weather conditions and lack of sails.
30th January At 0845UTC Colman returns to the northern hemisphere
31st January Happy to be out of the Doldrums
5th February Looking forward to the final straight. Hard to find the route back across the North Atlantic. “My route to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne looks like a dog’s breakfast, a smorgasbord of options. I can either get hit on the head really hard, or get hit on the head really, really hard. I can go upwind in 40kts or downwind in 50kts. It is not an easy choice.”
7th February After passing Madeira, back in European waters.
10th February 2200UTC dismasts 300 miles off the coast of Portugal. Waited for calmer conditions before inspecting the damage. Had to repair his boom to use it as a jury rig.
24th February Takes sixteenth place
February 26th, 2017 by admin
Unless Conrad Colman can figure out a jury rig and slog it out to the finish, the elusive ‘first non-fossil fuel Vendee Globe finisher’ may have to wait four more years, as today the Friwi dismasted just 300 nm from the Portuguese coast. According to VG media, Conrad ditched the rig and saved the boom, and is sorting out the mess as he and his team figure out the next step.
February 10th, 2017 by admin
What do the Vendee Globe champion, the Volvo Ocean Race winner and the solo mono 24 distance record holder all have in common? They all trust one company to keep them warm and dry wherever the hell on the globe they find themselves.
Armel Le Cle’ach and his entire Banque Populaire team stood out amongst the throng in the Vendee start village with their smart and sexy shoreside Musto gear, while Armel showed just how smart he is offshore with a brilliant, textbook race that let him finish some unfinished business. Congratulations to both Armel and Alex and to Musto – pwning offshore for generations. Learn more at Musto’s site.
- Tags: abu dhabi ocean racing, alex thomson, armel le cle'ach, imoca, musto, open 60, Vendee Globe, volvo ocean race
January 20th, 2017 by admin
UPDATE: French sailor Armel Le Cléac’h has today won the Vendée Globe, setting a new record for the solo non-stop round the world race in the process. Le Cléac’h, 39, from Brittany, crossed the finish line of the race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, at 1537hrs UTC after 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds at sea on his 60ft racing yacht Banque Populaire VIII.
His time sets a new record for the race, beating the previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition by 3 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes. Le Cléac’h, the runner-up in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions of the Vendée Globe, covered 24,499.52 nm at an average speed of 13.77 knots during the race, which began from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 6 last year.
Armel benefitted significantly from the early-race foil breakage of what most believe to be a much faster design in Hugo Boss, but despite Alex Thomson pushing Armel as hard as maybe any human could have, we once again will have to wait another four years for the chance of a non-French winner to emerge from this quintessentially French race.
We continue to be amazed at Thomson’s ability to remain glued to Le Cle’ach’s transom for the better part of 70 days despite the damage to his boat, but Le Cle’ach played the game more as a wise owl than a sneaky jackal, and sailed a masterful covering match race from Cape Town all the way home.
While Armel had all the pressure of the favorite, once again, Alex has proved he belongs in the solo racing Hall of Fame with the performance of a lifetime. Beating his own 2012 race time by nearly 10 days and setting the Vendee Globe and outright solo monohull 24 hour distance record in yet another edition (only exceeded by four crewed boats in the record books), Thomson really is the only hope for taking the title away from the French – and only if he comes back and gets it right, this time without the bad luck. Photo © Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE
Ask Alex and Armel ANYTHING! We are 99% sure that we’ll be doing audio or video with both these top dogs in the next day or two for the Sailing Anarchy Podcast, and as usual, we like your questions better than our own. Ask Alex and Armel your own questions in this new thread and we’ll see if we can get them answered.
Title should to the movie adaptation of a classic Forsyth spy thriller.
- Tags: alex thomson, armel le cle'ach, banque populaire, finish, hugo boss, imoca, open 60, record, Vendee Globe, verdier, VPLP
January 19th, 2017 by admin
We suspect this little nugget is simply yet another example of the mess that is the Vendee Globe’s official English coverage, but maybe – just maybe – there’s more to the lower/thirds title slip up caught by an observant Anarchist watching the 28 Dec “Vendee Live” show on Facebook.
Look carefully under Alex Thomson team member “Neal McDonald” and you’ll note it says “Alex Thomson Racing Volvo Race Skipper”, and we’re not quite sure why. Did the VG producer simply forget to put Mac’s ‘title’ on another line, or did someone sending over title graphics make a freudian slip because they know too much? Could it be possible that Alex – and Hugo Boss’s – next big challenge will be a crewed one? VOR boss Mark Turner and Thomson go way back and there’s precious little going on in IMOCA world for quite some time…and of course, much stranger things have happened. What do you think?
January 2nd, 2017 by admin
It took Stephane LeDiraison nearly two weeks of jury-rig motor sailing - including a seaborne refueling – to get to Melbourne Australia after his dismasting, and SA’er Andy Roche was part of a group of local marine-response firefighters who went out to greet Boulogne-Billancourte on her arrival. Big props to Andy for the snaps, and for the Melbourne community of both French-speakers and Aussie sailors for offering assistance and such a warm welcome for the Breton.
In other news, this Vendee Globe’s constant source of jokes, tea, whisky, and Irish folks songs dropped his rig on New Year’s Day about 200 miles SE of New Zealand; Enda O’Coineen will retire from his 15th place position and head for Dunedin to regroup. Discuss it all in the thread.
January 2nd, 2017 by admin
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