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#vg2102 – With a third place finish in the Vendée Globe apparently almost guaranteed, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) heard his dream break with an abrupt bang before midnight on Monday night as Virbac Paprec 3 lost her keel with just over 2,000 of the 28,000 mile race left.

Dick previously partnered Ireland's Damian Foxall in the Barcelona World Race when the pair won the round the world race in a thrilling finish in 2008.

With a squall coming there was a great risk of capsize after losing the four tonne keel (providing approximately half the weight of the boat and most of its stability) and it took all the experience and expertise of the 47-year-old skipper to avoid the worst.

He managed to ease the pressure on the sails, turn the boat running downwind and fully fill the ballast tanks to stabilise the boat. The immediate danger has passed but he is still very vulnerable.

Until that point he was continuing to close on the front two and still had faint hopes of catching them.

Dick, still technically in third place on the ranking because he has not retired, is heading for shelter at the Azores, still over 1,000 miles away on Monday morning. He is on a starboard tack in a northeast wind of 20 knots. He cannot take a direct route at the moment and must head north-east for two days, but in 450 miles he should pick up some undisturbed south-west wind and will be able to head directly to the Azores archipelago. He is expected to arrive there in six days, which will be a difficult time because he was expected to have arrived in Les Sables by then.

The skipper from Nice is in third Vendée Globe. He finished sixth in 2004-05 but had to retire from the 2008-09 race with broken rudders after hitting a UFO.

Dick's misfortune is part of the thread that runs through the history of the Vendée Globe. There is no good time to suffer a failure but there is something especially cruel about it happening so close to the finish. The second edition of the race in 1992-93 saw the first such cruel blow as Philippe Poupon, in second and chasing the leader Alain Gautier, dismasted. But Poupon was still able to limp home in third the place. The line has continued to the modern day and Roland Jourdain lost his keel bulb whilst clear in second place in the last edition in 2008-09 and was also forced to seek shelter at the Azores, where he assessed and then retired. Such keel failures failures obey only the laws of physics and chance not those of merit.

Already in this race, the North Atlantic claimed two keels in the first two weeks of this race, when Marc Guillemot's titanium keel broke off on the first night and then Jeremie Beyou suffered hydraulic failure of the canting mechanism and almost lost the whole keel in the second week.

Virbac Paprec 3 was one of the six new boats in this edition and one of the four VPLP-Verdier designed boats. Many, including Alex Thomson, had said they would be too light and fragile to make it around the world. But that has appeared wide of the mark. Vincent Riou (PRB) was forced out in the second week of the race, in the South Atlantic, after unluckily hitting a harbour buoy that drifted and submerged 500 miles off the coast of Brazil. But the VPLP-Verdier boats have continued to form the leading pack from start to finish and either MACIF or Banque Populaire have led for most of the race, setting an unrelenting pace that could smash the old record by a week if they finish in 77 days on January 26. Dick was dropped by them in the Indian Ocean and soon after made his first of several trips up the mast to make fixes, but he has been their permanent shadow ever since.

Thomson into third

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who could now achieve both his targets of third place and 80 days around the world. But Dick's sudden failure will have sent a shudder through him and the entire fleet and underlined the old Vendée cliché that 'to finish first (or anywhere) first you have to finish.' The race is not over until you cross the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne.

Only yesterday on Vendee Globe TV, Thomson had talked about keeping up the pressure in case one of those ahead had a problem. But he said he would not wish any misfortune on anyone: "At the stage of the race we're at now, I would be very sad for anybody who has a problem, I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

Thomson, is still in fourth place, 236 miles behind Dick, 562 miles behind second-placed Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) and 657 miles from the leader, Francois Gabart (MACIF). But he has a huge 1,627-mile lead on those behind him, with Mike Golding (Gamesa), who passed Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) overnight, albeit by only a mile again.

Golding (Gamesa) will understand Dick's shock more than most, after losing his keel with 50 miles to go in the 2004-05 edition, where he limped in third after the closest race in Vendée Globe history.

Le Cléac'h continued to erode Gabart's lead, taking back almost 50 miles in the last 24 hours. The 0400hrs ranking he was 95 miles behind, but Gabart had found the better breeze in the last hour, averaging 15.6 knots to Le Cléac'h's 11.2 knots, although as through the night, Le Cléac'h's better angle and VMG was nullifying that. After what has befallen Dick their finish will be even more tense.

There was some drama at the back of the fleet too as eleventh-placed Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives cœur), suffered a halyard failure and watched his huge Code 0 sail drop into the water. "The road does not end, she extendable," he wrote this moring. "The second halyard broke and the code 0 is passed in water. I had to change the sail before dark and I visually checked the halyard all the time since and noticed nothing suspicious...I was going to write you a nice email saying that it was a beautiful day with albatross and flying fish: it's nice to have two at the same time. It will be necessary that I go up the mast as soon as possible to return to retrieve the headsail halyard, meantime, I rest and will do it tomorrow."

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

#vg12 – Even though he thought he was going to be able to fix the hull of his boat, Vincent Riou found himself unable to find a solution regarding the shroud underneath his outrigger. It was therefore just not possible to consider sailing in the Southern Ocean and Vincent Riou's decision came this morning: He's surrendering in this 2012 Vendée Globe and retiring from the race.

Vincent Riou will not complete his 2013 circumnavigation. The PRB skipper had came up with a possible way to repair the hull of his boat, the shroud underneath the outrigger was a much more serious problem. Riou started working on his hull on Satruday afernoon while Denis Glehen and the rest of the shore crew were brainstorming to find a solution for the French skipper. Unfortunately, they all had to resign themselves to admit it was impossible for Vincent to secure that shroud underneath the outrigger by himself with the equipment he had on board. Sailing through the Southern Ocean with a mast that could break any time was simply not reasonable. Vincent's decision came this morning: He's surrendering in this 2012 Vendée Globe, his third, and retiring from the race.

An emotional Riou announced it with tears in his eyes. « My decision will be based on whether I can sail through the Southern Ocean in safe conditions or not », the French skipper had explained a few minutes after the collision. These conditions cannot be guaranteed and he PRB skipper is therefore sailing to Brazil where he will repair his monohull. He should reach Salvador de Bahia in three days.

Resigning to retire from the race because of a collision with a FO (floating object) is a very tough situation as the disappointment is mixed with a feeling of injustice for the sailor who so far had sailed his monohull very carefully. The winner of the 2004-2005 Vendée Globe knew he still had a long way to go and was aware of how important it was to enter the Southern Ocean with a boat intact that could face extreme sea and wind conditions. The race is now over for the PRB skipper, one of the favourites, and he will now no longer be battling against the other competitors in the South.

The Vendée Globe is one of the most demanding races in the world of sailing billed as the Everest of the seas. It is also arguably the most beautiful, and sometimes the toughest, too. This weekend is definitely an unfair one for Riou and his PRB boat.

Vincent Riou:

« It was such a tough decision, but it's also the most reasonable one. I had had this goal, the Vendée Globe, in mind for years and I spent so much energy on this project. I'm terribly disappointed, and I'm also thinking of my partners, PRB of course, but also Bouyer Leroux and Mercedes. PRB has been supporting me for ten years, they've trusted me. Even though what happened, the collision and the damage to the boat, is not my fault, I can't help feeling guilty. I felt really good in the race, our boats have such an impressive potential that I know the fight in the South will be completely different this year. The bar is will be very high and I would have loved to be part of that fight. A game that I would have died to be part of! »

PRB CEO Jean-Jacques Laurent:

« The entire PRB team is behind Vincent. He was doing so well in the race but nature chose to stop him. These damages to the boat definitely give us a sense of unfinished business because Vincent was preparing for the South with a lot of determination. Our hearts go out to him. »

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

#vg12 – At 0700hrs this morning, a front runner in the Vendee Globe race Vincent Riou (PRB) warned his shore team that he had collided with a floating object.

The skipper, who was at his navigation station at the time was able to get on the deck immediately after the impact and see that the object that had struck PRB was a large metal buo).

Following the collision, Riou found that the hull of his boat was torn and delaminated for about one metre.

The impact was on the starboard side of the boat and the torn area is three meters from the bow.

Riou was not injured in the collision. He will wait until daybreak to assess the damage and the possibility of repair.

Conditions in the area are good and the wind between 12 and 15 knots.

At the moment of impact, Riou immediately called the race office in order to report the position of the buoy to other competitors.

Riou, the winner of the 2004-05 Vendée Globe, rescuing hero of the 2008-09 edition and one of the favourites for this race has suffered a serious blow in the south Atlantic. A statement from his team said that Riou was uninjured after he had collided with a metal buoy but that the impact had damaged the bow of PRB:

"At 0700hrs (French time) on Saturday morning, Vincent Riou (PRB) warned his shore team that he had collided with a floating object. The skipper was at his navigation station at the time was able to get on the deck immediately after the impact and see that the object that had struck PRB was a harbour buoy (a large metal buoy).

"Following the collision, Riou found that the hull of his boat was torn and delaminated for about one metre. The impact was on the starboard side of the boat and the torn area is three metres from the bow. Riou was not injured in the collision. He will wait until daybreak to assess the damage and the possibility of repair. Conditions in the area are good and the wind between 12 and 15 knots. At the moment of impact, Riou immediately called the race office in order to report the position of the buoy to other competitors."

Riou is about 550 miles east of the north coast of Brazil and 450 miles due north of the Trindade Islands. He was in third place at the 0500hrs (French time) rankings, just 69.1 miles behind the leader Armel Le Cléac'h, (Banque Populaire), having been in the lead group since they started from Les Sables d'Olonne two weeks ago. It was an otherwise quiet night for the fleet with no change in the rankings in the morning.

The 40-year-old Brittany skipper is famous for his skill and inscrutability but you need some luck to finish a Vendée Globe let alone win one. It these hidden dangers, rogue containers and buoys that are not where they are supposed to be, are what the skippers fear most. Speaking before the start Riou said that sonar was not a practical solution:

"We did some research with an institute in France on a sonar system but it is not practical because it is half the weight of the whole boat and it uses lots of power," he said. "It needs a lot of energy and the boat is very fast and so to use a sonar to predict 200m ahead of the boat when you are travelling at 20 knots you need a very powerful system and it's impossible to find one that is not too heavy. You have to be realistic these kind of devices are so impractical we are not going to install them and so we can't even consider them. It's too heavy and it's uses too much power."

Riou has faced greater dangers than this in the Vendée Globe. In the 2008-09 edition his older rival, Jean Le Cam, lost his keel bulb and capsized 200 miles west of Cape Horn and it was Riou who turned and reached him first as fears for Le Cam's life grew. Le Cam had spent 18 hours trapped and brave five-degree water and 12 foot waves to swim to Riou, who got as close to Le Cam's boat as he dared. In the process Riou is thought to have clipped his outrigger on Le Cam's upturned keel and just 36 hours later, having continued the race with Le Cam on board, Riou was dismasted after just rounding Cape Horn. He was later awarded joint third place by the organisers.

Riou's PRB is a new VPLP-Verdier-designed boat, one of four who are dominating this race and which before his collision were in the top four top positions in the fleet. The four boats are all lighter and faster than previous generations, with PRB's thought to be the lightest at 7.5 tonnes.

More than anyone Riou will know that any repairs must be secure enough to withstand what the fleet faces as they prepare to drop down into the Roaring Forties and the mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under
Quba Sails have teamed up with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust to launch an exclusive Ebay Charity Auction, and the prize up for grabs is an exclusive Quba designed and individually tailored jacket and a sailing bag, both made from parts of the sails of Ellen's record breaking yacht Kingfisher.

The auction will run from the 7th – 16th January, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The charity, founded by Ellen in 2003, takes young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain their confidence on their way to recovery from cancer, leukemia and other serious illness.

The exclusive items which incorporate parts of the original sail's of Ellen MacArthur's record breaking Open 60 yacht Kingfisher are only available through the auction. Ellen famously completed the epic 24,000 mile Vendée Globe, a gruelling non-stop, solo round the world race, in 94 days and 4 hours in 2001 onboard Kingfisher, securing her place in the record books as the youngest person to complete the race, at just 24 years old.

A further five jackets and twenty bags will be available for purchase from the beginning of February, with proceeds from the sale of these items continuing to support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Each jacket and bag is hand made, individually numbered and signed by Dame Ellen MacArthur. Ellen commented, ""The Vendee Globe was a dream for me, and my first circumnavigation of the planet. It's wonderful to think that 10 years on that incredible journey can continue to influence lives, though this time through the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. It costs the Trust £500 to take one young person in recovery from cancer sailing on a four day yacht trip, but the result of that experience for those young people is not only confidence building, but in many cases life changing. We are therefore really excited to be working alongside Quba Sails on this project!"

James Marshall at Quba Sail's explains why they are proud to be supporting the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. "At Quba we specialise in taking old sailcloth and giving it a new lease of life. To be working with Ellen on this project and to be able to help a charity as worthy as the Trust just seemed like a perfect fit for us. We hope we can raise some impressive funds for the Trust through the auction".

The range will be available for viewing on the Quba Sail stand at The Tullett Prebon London Boat Show.

To place your bid, please visit the auction on Ebay. http://tinyurl.com/quba-emct-e-bay-auction

Published in News Update

Delegates attending the World Yacht Racing heard calls for change, modernity and new ways of thinking. These were the main themes at the heart of the conference, which concluded yesterday in Estoril, Portugal.

WORLD_YACHT_RACE

The forum also discussed topics on new media, host cities, sustainable development, the America's Cup and the Olympic Games. The overall consensus arising from the forum concluded that this was a time of transition and there was a need to adapt.

"Sailing is like the Himalayas, there are many 8000 summits: the Cup, the Vendée Globe, the Olympic Games... all of them are difficult to achieve and very different from each other", said Loïck Peyron, the veteran global ocean racer and multi-hull skipper.

"The America's Cup is the perfect illustration following last springs' schism: we all share the same God but not the same religion." he added during his keynote speech.

In order for yacht racing to grow the sport requires ways to find cost effective strategies to grow new audiences via TV and new media. For information about the principle speakers including Maria Ferreras, Head of Partnerships for YouTube, click here . For further details from the conference logon to www.worldyachtracingforum.com/index.html

Published in Offshore

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has launched his latest search for ten exceptional skippers to lead the internationally sponsored teams in the next edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Clipper 11-12 will start form the UK in August next year and on board the matched fleet of stripped down 68-foot ocean racing yachts will be teams of novice crews representing all walks of life. The only professional sailor on board, the skipper has the challenge of turning such a diverse mix of people into a finely-honed racing team and it's one that professionals understand can deliver valuable benefits to their CV.

Sir Robin says, "Tackling this unique challenge, with its roaring gales and towering seas, as well as the frustrations of tricky calm spells, is no mean feat. The skippers we are looking for need to be up to the challenge of competitively racing our 68-foot yachts around the world with a non-professional crew onboard.

"The successful individuals must have the ability to draw the line between competitiveness and safety, whilst also motivating a sometimes exhausted crew into an enthusiastic and committed team.

"Leading a team of novice sailors in a race around the world is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs that any skipper could ever undertake and not everybody is up to this challenge."

Successful candidates will skipper one of the Dubois designed Clipper 68s and must also have an understanding of the commercial and media demands of this high-profile global event which can help launch a skipper's career.

The youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race was Alex Thomson who was just 25 when he led a team in the 1998 edition of the race. Twelve years later and Alex is getting his brand new IMOCA Open 60, Hugo Boss, ready for the double-handed Barcelona World Race which starts in December. The Gosport based sailor is widely considered to be one of the UK's top solo ocean racers and once he has returned for the Barcelona World Race he will be hoping to fulfil his dream by becoming the first non-Frenchman to win the Vendee Globe.

Other Clipper skippers who have gone on to secure sponsorship for solo ocean racing include Hannah Jenner who skippered in both the Clipper 07-08 and 09-10 Races. Hannah will be taking part in the Global Ocean Race next year, a 30,000-mile double-handed race around the world. Similarly Clipper 09-10 skipper, Chris Stanmore-Major is about to set off on his 2,500-mile qualifying passage for the VELUX 5 OCEANS race onboard his Open 60 Spartan having secured sponsorship to take part in what is deemed to be 'The Ultimate Solo Challenge'.

Interested skippers need to have the correct level of qualifications, including an MCA approved Ocean Yachtmaster. They need to be excellent sailors who put seamanship and safety first, have a proven track record in sail training and can demonstrate that they are strong team leaders.

Clipper Race Director Joff Bailey, skipper of New York in the Clipper 05-06 Race, says, "Being a race skipper in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. However, the reward and satisfaction when you see the crew that you have trained react to situations as though they were full-time professionals and the look of achievement on their faces when they have crossed an ocean and finished a race, is the best high in the world."

If you think you are up for the challenge and have the right characteristics and experience contact Sir Robin by email on [email protected] to request an application form.

 

Published in Clipper Race

Jean-Pierre Dick's brand new 60 foot monohull, Virbac-Paprec 3, has just been launched in Auckland, New Zealand. As for the first two boats, once again the design team has innovated and the VPLP Verdier plans mark a radical break with the two previous monohulls skippered by him. Afloat.ie readers will recall Dick was partner with Ireland's Damian Foxall when they won the Barcelona World race two years ago.

The French skipper now has a new vessel on which to go in search of the Holy Grail: the Vendée Globe 2012. Between now and then, the schedule is busy with a half round-the-world, the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race.

What is the philosophy of your new boat?

Jean-Pierre Dick: "The philosophy is monastic! Virbac-Paprec 3 will be a very light boat and therefore spartan. Paprec-Virbac 2 was a palace in comparison! This is the ultimate boat for extreme races in which there is complete physical and moral involvement. I now have sufficient experience in offshore racing to do without the unnecessary and only to think of the objective! The only items of comfort will be the seats on board for steering and sailing preparation, a berth designed by a bedding specialist and two helm stations which are real cocoons."

What are the main characteristics of Virbac-Paprec 3?
" The bi-roof. We have created two cocoons under a Plexiglas dome to provide a perfect view; much as you would have in a helicopter. They will enable me to watch and steer in all weather and stay dry. Before, there were two distinct stations, so this means a reduction in weight. This work is a continuation of that carried out on Paprec-Virbac 2 with the sliding roof. The difference is that this time we agree to manoeuvre wet.
Lightness Virbac-Paprec 3 is 10 to 15% lighter than Paprec-Virbac 2. At each step in the construction, we found the means to simplify; to find a lighter and more intelligent way of building her. For example, the chart table is only a computer screen on a rotating stand with a seat that can be moved from one side to the other. The boat is completely empty inside! The advantage is the capacity to make quicker progress with less sails or to keep it longer. The skipper does less manoeuvring and saves more of his energy.
Hydrodynamics We have designed 70 hulls with architects. Four were retained and tested in the test tank. To finish, they sailed a virtual round-the-world routed by a meteorologist to make the final choice. The lines are very taut and they have sharp bilges.

Aerodynamics

We have a standard mast with two spreaders, but with only one backstay cable* instead of 3. This is an innovation to reduce weight and wind factor. Safety We have focussed on safety by learning from unfortunate experiences. We have designed a safety hatch in the centre of the hull, so as not to have to leave the yacht from the rear. This hatch is pre-cut in the carbon and I will be able to saw it open if I find myself upturned. We have strengthened the watertight bulkheads to prevent the boat from filling up with water completely, at all costs.

What is the Virbac-Paprec 3 programme?
"One of the advantages of building in New Zealand is the return journey to France by sea. This helps us to get to know and perfect the new IMOCA 60 in real sailing conditions and on a world scale. This requires a lot of involvement, since it lasts 2 months but is extremely rewarding for the team and I. When I arrive in Lorient in mid-July, the boat will already have sailed more than 12,000 miles (22,224 km), or the equivalent of three transatlantics. So this is a perfect test bench for the run up to a busy end of the year with the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race, in which I will be defending my title!"

 

VP3_mise_a_leau_180510_brendon_ohagan_1VP3_mise_a_leau_180510_brendon_ohagan_3VP3_mise_a_leau_180510_brendon_ohagan_5

Published in Vendee Globe
Page 23 of 23

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