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Displaying items by tag: Pip Hare

British solo skipper Pip Hare, 47, fulfilled the dream that she has held since she was a teenage sailor in her native East Anglia, England when she crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe solo non-stop round the world race at 00:57:30 hrs UTC on the 12th February, emerging from a bitterly cold Bay of Biscay night off Les Sables d’Olonne on the west coast of France to take an excellent 19th place.

After 95 days, 11 hours, 37 mins and 30 seconds of racing, Hare is the first British skipper to finish the 2020-21 race, and only the eighth women ever to finish the Vendée Globe in its history. Her performance on a 21-year-old IMOCA, the oldest boat yet to finish this edition, has drawn admiration from all corners of the world of French and international ocean racing, not just for her high level of motivation and drive throughout the race but for her intelligent, efficient courses and her ability to push her elderly but evergreen boat hard all the way to the finish line.

Pip Hare Vendee Globe Finish Photo Gallery by Richard Langdon / Ocean Images

She has illuminated every aspect of her Vendée Globe, demystifying solo ocean racing with her colourful and comprehensive daily reports and her cheerful, super positive video messages. Her global following has grown exponentially not least in the race’s ancestral home, France, where her eternally sunny disposition and megawatt smile transcend any language barrier.

“She is a ray of sunshine, what she is doing in incredible,” is how veteran French ocean racer Jean Le Cam, who finished fourth in this race, described Hare, while Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm, who built Hare’s boat over 20 years ago, described her as “my hero”.

Her race was not without drama, and she overcame a significant technical problem in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Replacing one of her rudders in big seas and 25knots of wind allowed her to stay in the race and to still remain close to a group of four faster rivals, all sailing a newer generation of foiling boats, which she had worked hard to pass. Even today just over one month on from her rudder damage, Hare was still pushing to close every last mile on the pack ahead of her and was less than 50 miles from 18th placed Stéphane Le Diraison at the line, having pulled back more than 100 miles in the final 36 hours.

Her performance is all the more remarkable considering her first IMOCA class race was in August 2019 with the Rolex Fastnet Race. Her performance merits comparison with Dame Ellen MacArthur whose 94 days and 4-hour time from the 2000-2001 race was one of Hare’s benchmarks on a boat built in the same year and launched in the same month as MacArthur’s.

So too Hare’s enduring passion mirrors that of the English racer MacArthur who finished runner up in the 2001 Vendée Globe, both living in a variety of portacabins, small boats and vans when their hand-to-mouth budgets denied them the living standards of their rivals in their formative years.

Hare grew up in a typical sailing family in East Anglia, benefiting from a Swallows and Amazons lifestyle of dinghy sailing and cruising with her extended family on a wooden Folkboat and then a Moody 33 on which they sailed often with her grandparents to Holland’s Ijsselmeer. She became a sailing instructor and then professional sailing coach and journalist. While she only took the plunge into solo racing with the OSTAR race to Newport RI in 2009, the Lightwave 395 racer cruiser she raced across the Atlantic was her home for 13 years and she sailed tens of thousands of miles as far as Patagonia and Uruguay before sailing the boat home solo across the Atlantic.

And although she has proven her ability to endure and always push to new limits on her first time in the Southern Oceans, Hare is pragmatic, prudent and largely risk averse. Certainly, although her initial budget to do this Vendée Globe was minimal, supported through crowd funding and her home port of Poole, she was always adamant that she would not go forwards into the race without the financial means to pay her costs. Her biggest decision was to charter the proven Superbgiou for the race, even if she was initially reliant on friends and favours to augment doing all the boatwork herself.

But in May last year a white knight sponsor appeared in the shape of Silicon Valley customer experience management system company Medallia. Their immediate input allowed Hare to fit a pedestal winch system and update the sail inventory of the IMOCA re-named Medallia.

The Vendée Globe of Pip Hare

After admitting to pre-start nerves, Pip Hare started the Vendée Globe as she meant to go on, pushing hard even if at first, she was not so happy with her initial weather strategies. But between the Azores and the Canary Islands she found a good route to the east and was able to keep pace with some of the faster boats in front. At the Canary Islands she was 22nd of the 33 starters and 16 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières pushing through the western fringes of tropical storm Theta, chasing Isabelle Joschke and close to Spanish sailor Didac Costa, who is racing Ellen MacArthur’s former boat on his second consecutive Vendée Globe, and who was a long-standing close rival when they both raced Mini 650s

But Hare had a painful Doldrums crossing, and she lost miles to the boats in front, a deficit which was then compounded in the reaching conditions in the SE’ly trades which were tough for her older less powerful machine against the newer boats.

At the gateway to the south passing Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha, she was over 600 miles behind Alan Roura and 500 miles from Stéphane le Diraison. Under the Cape of Good Hope that duo were slowed in high pressure and Pip and Didac caught back miles. She then pushed harder and increasingly fast along the AEZ in the Indian Ocean to get up to 19th, but all the time just a few miles apart from Costa. And by the Kerguelens she and Costa had caught all the way back up to Boissieres and Le Diraison again.

She lost one of her hydrogenators on November 29th and that meant keeping all her diesel reserves for power generation, meaning no heating and so she had to ride out the discomfort of being wet cold and damp in the south.

Her most annoying performance setback came on January 2nd when her wind sensor failed. The cups stopped rotating and the boat crash gybed as the information being sent to the autopilot stopped. Having lost her second wand during the first big front a few days after the start, this became a major issue as she could no longer have the pilot steer on wind mode and had no accurate wind information. Indeed, in the big winds that followed she compared notes with Alan Roura and with Boissieres. This situation left her almost always on a high state of alert, from there on the sharpness of her attack was definitely dulled.

“But I put on my big girl pants on and went looking for a solution,” Hare memorably wrote.

Staying further south under east Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand paid handsomely for Pip and she was still keeping pace with Boissieres and managed to open up many miles on Costa. At Point Nemo she posted her best ranking at 15th and remarkably was ahead of the foilers raced by Roura, Boissieres and Le Diraison, leading the group of group of six that went on to fight it out to the very end.

It was here that she encountered her most significant problem, and on January 7th at some 1,000 miles to Cape Horn, she discovered a crack in the port rudder stock. Fortunately, she was not only carrying a newly made spare rudder, but she and her team had practised a replacement procedure. A weather window – a relative term for the southern Pacific - appeared and she was able to replace the rudder and get back under way having lost two places.

After her rudder problem she was 17th at Cape Horn and in the South Atlantic she had to slow to laminate a repair to reseal the rudder tube which was letting in significant amounts of water. She lost some miles to Roura and co., but still managed to gain on the Catalan sailor Costa.

Climbing the Atlantic she was once more very much punching above her weight and worked hard to stay with this group, even given her lack of horsepower in the hard reaching trade wind conditions. Predictably, she lost two places to the new generation foilers raced by Jérémie Beyou and Kojiro Shiraishi.

She and the group ended up with a detour of over 800 miles because of the position of the Azores high pressure which forced them west on a roundabout route but she stayed in touch and until the very last night, and was still pulling back miles on the foiling boats just in front before finishing 19th today.

THE STATS OF PIP HARE'S RACE

She covered the 24,365 miles of the theoretical course at an average speed of 10.63 knots.

Distance actually travelled on the water: 27,976.87 miles at 12.21 knots of average speed

THE GREAT PASSAGES

Equator (outward)
20th on 23/11/2020 at 12:48 UTC, 4 days, 22 hours and 59 minutes behidn the leader

Cape of Good Hope
17th on 6/12/2020 at 16:48 UTC, 5 days, 17 hours and 37 minutes behind the leader

Cape Leeuwin
17th on the 18/12/2020 at 07:30 UTC, 8 days 20 hours and 4 minutes behind the leader

Cape Horn
18th on 6/01/2021 at 01:56 UTC, 9 days, 13 hours and 12 minutes after the leader

Equator (back)
20th on 28/01/2021 at 05h43 UTC, 11 days 10 hours 31 minutes after the leader

Her boat
Architect: Pierre Rolland
Builders: 1999, Bernard STAMM, Lesconil
Launched: July 2000

Published in Vendee Globe
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Vendée Globe sailor Pip Hare has received a surprise message of encouragement for her birthday from actor Russell Crowe.

On Wednesday (3 February) the Hollywood fixture responded to a social media appeal from BBC Radio Solent presenter Steve Harris, who had recently interviewed the solo sailor from her yacht in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Master and Commander star was happy to oblige with a short video clip wishing Pip the best for her birthday today, Sunday 7 February, and urged her to “keep going” as she gets closer to the finish line.

Her effort is all the more remarkable after a crack in the rudder of her IMOCA Medallia necessitated an emergency switch to a spare during a brief weather window last month.

Published in Vendee Globe
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Britain’s Pip Hare is looking for a benevolent small weather window in the depths of the South Pacific Ocean to allow her to replace the port rudder of her IMOCA Medallia after she discovered a crack in its stock (the shaft which locates into the hull of the boat). It is a complicated operation which the 45-year-old solo Vendée Globe skipper practised at the dock in Les Sables d’Olonne, France before the solo non-stop race around the world started on November 8th 2020, but which will be made much more difficult in one of the most hostile and loneliest areas of the southern oceans.

“The crack is in the stock between the deck and the hull, just underneath where the quadrant attaches and every time the pilot was going to move the rudder the crack was getting a little bit worse. I have no choice but to change the port rudder. If I continue sailing hard the stock will fail under load in a matter of hours.” Hare reported, “Naturally I am completely devastated about this failure and what it means to my race but the only thing to do right now is to put the racing on hold and focus on solving this problem to keep both me and Medallia safe.”

In her message the 45-year-old from Poole, Dorset, added,

“I am devastated but I am also accepting. This has happened and it cannot be changed. The only action now is to deal with the problem in the best way possible and then move forwards from there. I am hugely proud of my performance to date. It has been a total joy to race this intensely for 59 days and it will be a total joy to get back into the race when I am finished. I had a few tears but not many because this problem is a big one and there is only one way to deal with it - which is a total focus of energy on solving it and staying safe. I will never forget the fact I was 15th for so long and when I get back to racing again, whenever that may be I will do my very best to claw my way back up the fleet again for now I have just hit pause.”

Her team say that Hare is looking to a potential break in the weather during the small hours of tomorrow (Thursday) morning, when the operation might be possible.Medallia’s boat captain Joff Brown explains the procedure:

“The problem really is in getting the old rudder off because it is buoyant and so sinking it to get it out it is not easy to get a lot of leverage from the bottom. But it is something we had practiced in Les Sables d’Olonne before the start and so I think that gives Pip a bit of confidence in what she has to do. But the problem is the sea state has to be reasonably flat because when the rudder is angled and heels then there is more strain on the bearings. At the dock this whole process might take an hour or so but in seas like this it can take much more. But Pip is very focused and determined. There is a small weather window around 0100hrs (UTC – when it is still daylight for Pip) but if not then it could be a couple of days waiting. She is resigned to the situation and I am sure will deal with it and get on with what she has to do.”

Medallia had a new spare rudder built by Jason Carrington Boats just before the boat was delivered to Les Sables d’Olonne. According to Brown this a standard procedure which he has practiced pre-start by previous skippers Dee Caffari and Rich Wilson previously using a method devised by Conrad Humphreys in 2004-5 where 50-60kgs of anchor chain is lowered below the rudder to help drop it out. See video here

Medallia was lying in 15th in the Vendée Globe fleet and still making just under eight knots under reduced sail. Alan Roura who is 16th is around 20 miles behind.

Published in Vendee Globe
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The Visually Impaired Sailing Association (VISA-GB) today announced that Pip Hare the respected sailor and Vendee Globe competitor has become the Patron of the Association.

VISA-GB is unique amongst disabled sailing charities because the majority of its board of trustees are visually impaired sailors who give a significant amount of their time to create opportunities for others with a visual impairment, to experience the freedom of offshore sailing. The majority of the crew on VISA-GB boats are normally visually impaired and play a full role in sailing and running the yacht.

Eddie Kitchen, chairman of VISA-GB said of Pip’s appointment: "All of us at VISA are thrilled that Ocean racer, and lifelong sailor, Pip Hare has agreed to be our Patron. Our charity will benefit from her enthusiasm, knowledge and determined attitude that will see her on the start line if this year's Vendee Globe race. Pip embodies much of what we stand for, there are many that think we chase impossible dreams, but our blind and visually impaired members are determined not to allow a lack of sight to stop them enjoying and benefiting from sailing. As our figurehead we know Pip will encourage us to achieve our ambitions.”

He added “I also know that Pip will help us to deliver our message to all in the visually impaired and blind community and that VISA-GB will continue to empower our sailors, encourage all to learn new skills and enjoy their participation in our great sport."

When asked about her new role Pip said "I was delighted to be approached by the Visually Impaired Sailing Association with a view to become their Patron. Having met some of the
VISA-GB sailors in 2019 I was extremely impressed by their approach and felt it matched my own. By empowering the visually impaired sailors to manage the complete boat trip it created a wonderfully positive approach to sailing. My own goals have been achieved by the same single-minded determination I saw in these sailors, and I found it inspirational. By
making sailing more accessible and fully inclusive I firmly believe we can make our sport open to all. I am pleased to accept the post of Patron and ambassador for VISA-GB and look forward to supporting and helping them achieve their goals."

With a full programme of events planned for 2021, VISA-GB hopes to have over 100 visually impaired sailors on the water, both cruising and racing. They are currently planning for a circumnavigation of the UK to offer a taste of life on the water to the visually impaired in all corners of the country. Trustees and members will be following and supporting Pip on her adventure in the Vendee Globe.

Published in Vendee Globe
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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