#vg12 – To stop or continue is the dilemma that Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) continues to battle with. He will make his decision Sunday. Heading towards the west of the Azores in fickle southwest winds of 15-20 knots, moving around to the south this evening, as he approaches the islands it gives Jean-Pierre Dick time to get the measure of the situation. He is assessing his boat and it’s performance with different sail combinations and filled ballasts. Is it stable enough? This is what he must decide. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) is determined individual and from the outset he was sailing to win but now to simply finish this hardcore race would be a victory in itself. Can he do it?
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) today on the French version of Vendee Globe LIVE explained his predicament. "I'm in the high, so there's only 12-13 knots of wind, in a situation that's not easy for a boat without her keel. I can't use large sails but the ballasts are full to keep some stability. I've talked to Bilou and Marc Guillemot, who had to experience the same situation in the past. Of course, I'd go faster if I had a keel but right now, I'm not thinking too much about my third place.
I'll see if I can finish the race, if the conditions allow, but I can't take too much risk for myself, or for the boat. I should sail off the Azores coast around the 27th, there should be around 25 knots of westerly wind there and that will help me see how the boat is doing when the sea and the wind are tougher. Then I'll try to make the right decision based on those elements and some people's opinions. So let's wait until the 27th.
Sometimes I feel like I'm windsurfing, you need to completely change the way you work on the boat. I've talked to some boat designers who told me about the calculations they had made, helping me choose what to do and what kind of sail to use. Also, because I've had hook issues, I don't want to use big sails because if they get stuck, the boat would capsize without her keel, and I would end up stuck inside my boat like Jean Le Cam in the last edition."
* It is a sign that the conclusion is imminent as the support teams of François Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) arrived today in the sleepy French port of Les Sables d'Olonne, in the Vendee region of France. The port is about to explode into life as tomorrow at 10am the race village will open in eager anticipation of the race winners. The support teams are preparing for the reception of their respective skippers. François Gabart is expected to arrive in the Vendee port on Saturday night. Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) as it currently stands 6-7 hours later. He will be greeted by a wintry, cold southwest wind, switching to the northwest, into a blustery front, gusting up to 30 knots with rain
Rankings as of Thursday 24 January 2013, 20:00 (FR)
1. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 1013.5 nm to finish
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 101.7 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 675.2 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 728.0 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2204.3 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2223.0 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2659.0 nm
8. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2859.8 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2918.4 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 3102.3 nm
11. Initiatives-coeur, Tanguy De Lamotte, 3400.6 nm
12. Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, 4267.8 nm