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post #3654 of Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Vendee Globe

[QUOTE=PCP;974813]It seems I really should have made a bet, I guess there is somebody accepting bets on this. He was not the favorite at the beginning and the money would have come handy.

Now wit Armel at 260Nm and following the same course, unless he has a technical problem he is going to win this race. And it will be a good thing: He will prove that now there is not needed a huge amount of previous experience on this race to win it (he is a rookie) and therefore young talents will have more chances to find a budget to race the big one, this race. /QUOTE]

I also think so Paulo, at least now I do .

François Gabart made a false start (at a round the world race ?? ) but was certainly not the only one. At least it hasn’t stopped him from leading most of the race, together with Armel Le Cleac’h.

Until a few days ago, when they made different choices for the third time. The first time was in the South Atlantic and the second at the passage of the second “porte de glaces” in the Indian Ocean, but none made a significant difference.

Having passed cape Horn and the Falklands/Malvinas (Argentina raises this geopolitical issue again ) François Gabart chose to stay East of the direct course looking for better winds. A very successful move that has earned him an advance of 260 NM. This is a real, objective distance since Armel Le Cleac’h is now back on the same longitude, still 2 knots slower than François Gabart and without any short time perspective for better winds.

Of course the doldrums are awaiting all of them and also the Azores high can still complicate things. But since François Gabart has made not one single mistake yet (apart from the “dinghy style” start ), I agree only technical failure can prevent him anymore from winning his “Everest of the Seas” (although many more have conquered the Everest (or died up there) than finished the Vendée Globe, but this is a different topic).
Or running into a fishing boat without AIS or any other UFO (Unidentified Floating Object) .

So I also think the “rookie” is going to make it to the top of the podium of what I personally consider the most challenging and thrilling sailing race ever.

I would not have made a single penny out of my own first bet, Paulo. Even if Vincent Riou would not have damaged his hull and especially his outrigger after colliding with a freaked buoy, and even if he would then win the VG, having already participated twice and won once he was a top favorite anyway.
Now I realize you once again did your homework perfectly well before pointing to François Gabart. And now I also see why he is not really a “rookie”.

The boat: a recent VPLP design, launched 15 months before the race, extensively sailed and improved (21.000 NM!).

The sponsor: MACIF takes François Gabart seriously and supports him professionally since 2010.

The team: Mer Agitée, coached by Michel Desjoyeaux (“Mich’ Dej”, “le professeur” for the frenchies), the only double winner of the VG and now a living legend, at least in France .

The guy: only 29 years old, French national champion in Optimist at 14, in Moth Europe at 16 and youth world champion in Tornado at 20. At 22 and at 24 he wins the student rank of the Tour de France à la Voile. Then come participations to the Solitaire du Figaro (2nd in 2010) and to transatlantic races, also in open 60’s ( 2nd Transat Jacques Fabre in 2009). With actual the open 60’ MACIF he was 4th in the Transat Jacques Fabre and won the Transat B to B (Back to Brittany after the Jacques Fabre) in 2011.

Meanwhile he became a mechanical engineer at the INSA of Lyon. And according to Wikipedia he also routed Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Col during the Transat Jacques Fabre in 2007.
So apart from sailing and mechanics, he also seems to know quite a lot about weather and wind patterns .

All this information was readily available before the start of this extraordinary race and now the analysis is of course quite easy. So it really takes a real expert such as Paulo to see the whole picture right from the beginning.

After the abandon of Vincent Riou, Armel Le Cleac’h was my second bet. Again very safe, because of an equally promising and recent VPLP design, a truthful sponsor and a very experienced team. Plus a guy with also a very impressive sailing record and much more experience, especially in this very particular race.

But now I fully agree François Gabart will very probably win this VG and become the next French living sailing legend.
Again an easy bet for me but more importantly a good thing for us, sailors, because it really seems this 29 year old is a guy we will hear a lot more about.

Watch out for the images from Les Sables-d’Olonne when he will finish this VG ! Plus all the others, who equally deserve our very profound respect.

Best regards,

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