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First Vendee Globe Woman Clarisse Cremer Set To Break Ellen McArthur's Race Record

3rd February 2021
Record breaker - Clarisse Cremer the 31-year-old French skipper of Banque Populaire X Record breaker - Clarisse Cremer the 31-year-old French skipper of Banque Populaire X

Clarisse Cremer the 31-year-old French skipper of Banque Populaire X should cross the finish line of the Vendée Globe tomorrow during the day to finish in 12th place. For the prodigious skipper who seven years ago had not even sailed her first Mini class race it will be the high point of her rapid rise through the ranks in solo ocean racing, an extreme sailing discipline she chose over a career in business. As she passes the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne she should break Ellen MacArthur’s 20-year-old race record of 94 day and four hours.

Sailing prudently across the Bay of Biscay, moderating her speed in accordance with the strong winds and big seas of another big winter Atlantic depression, she is expected to break the line Wednesday afternoon in five-metre seas.

She said today that she is on high alert, especially as she is approaching the finish on a similar course to that of Germany’s Boris Herrmann who hit a fishing boat at 90 miles from the finish.

“Boris’ story gave me a shock. I will have to be on the lookout until the finish, I have crossed the lanes and they were busy and I just had to slow down at one point to let a cargo ship pass. I can see them on the AIS so that's it is OK just now.”

"It will not be easy to slow down in 30 knots of wind so I think I will be under 3 mainsail reefs only and I will try to accelerate to aim for a finish tomorrow afternoon. It's not easy to predict an exact finish time it's a new exercise! "

Similar big sea and wind conditions are making it tough for Jérémie Beyou approaching the Azores: “The conditions are not at all funny. We have a wind of 35 knots with gusts between 45-50. It's very variable, there are squalls that you don't really see coming and there is a chaotic sea, it is really hot. In addition, we are close to the islands, it is not easy to adjust your course. We had a terrible night, yet we haven't even had the strongest winda yet. The passage first with endless doldrums, the complicated high-pressure ridge afterwards and then this low in the middle of the Azores, it's exhausting. For the finishes, the weather systems are not good either.”

Initially expected Friday night the ETA of the skipper of Charal has slipped to Saturday. To his north, and very slightly behind in the distance to be covered to the line (1,217.8 miles in the 3 pm classification, 19 more than Beyou), Romain Attanasio is experiencing the same weather scenario. They are nursing tired, worn-out bodies and boats and really now just want to be finished.

In the group of six forced west by the break up of the Azores High, the extra miles are painful for Pip Hare whose 21-year-old Medallia lacks power and any kind of creature comforts in the hard reaching conditions.

“Every single forecast I pull in seems to be different. The one I had yesterday showed four days of headwinds. I would be interested to see what this point of sail feels like on a more modern boat but just now it is phenomenally uncomfortable on this boat, I am heeled over so much. It is worse than upwind, it feels less natural. It is a grind physically just trying to exist.” Said Hare this morning while working her way through her back catalogue on 1990s music, top of the playlist today being the hits of The Cure.

The SE’ly trade winds Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) crossed the equator yesterday followed today by Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit - Jiliti) and Britain’s Miranda Merron (Campagne de France). Merron returned into the northern hemisphere at 1011hrs UTC this morning, 4hrs 19mins after Clement Giraud and 19hrs and 13 mins after Manu Cousin.

Published in Vendee Globe
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The 2020/2021 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 8 at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU and will be expected back in mid-January 2021.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

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