My respect by Alex Thompson is increased again and it was already a big one. His boat had hit badly some debris at over 20K and one rudder was badly damaged. He had done a very complicated repair in a record time and without losing much time: Chapeau!!!!!!
"After the toughest 24 hours of his Vendée Globe so far, required to make a vital repair to his rudder mechanism on Hugo Boss after hitting a floating object during Sunday night, Alex Thomson (GBR) has been losing no time in getting right back into the race, closing fast again on Bernard Stamm this afternoon to challenge the Swiss skipper for fourth place.
The British skipper’s team confirmed today that the repair to the rudder tie bar had taken around fifteen hours in total. Although he had already made the same type of composite repair in the Atlantic to rectify a similar problem which had afflicted the opposite rudder, this time the work was more complicated and had to be completed in much more testing weather and sea conditions. The accident has damaged one of his hydrogenerators beyond repair....
Now relying on a limited supply of diesel and the one remaining hydrogenerator, Thomson will be in very strict energy saving mode – running what his team call ‘dark mode’ – which means very reduced communication with the outside world."
Stamm had also to slow down due to a smaller but more painful problem
"Bernard Stamm it has been self-dentistry which has been the new challenge for the Brittany based Swiss racer.
Stamm broke one of his molars whilst eating and, under careful instruction, had to file and fill the tooth himself with a temporary dressing, a painful and painstaking operation."
Doing that with the boat at speed (I bet he did not stop) should have been complicated....and painful
On the head of the race, a Drag race over the same course, François is finally going away from Armel. I Don't know if François can be faster that Armel or is just Armel that considered that going at that Rhythm was just madness and that they would end up with broken boats? Probably Armel has some small problem on the boat. On the last hour the difference in speed was considerable (2.2K) taking into consideration that they are on the same course and not far away. It seems to me not a normal difference if everything was alright with Armel and his boat.
This boat looks so beautiful that one wonders if this is not going to be one of those very nice designs that never see the light of the day. The Project was announced some years ago and I thought that it was going to be the case.
I was wrong. They say the boat is going to be presented in Dusseldorf. Uau!!!!, I am not going to miss this one
The boat is not only beautiful as also its specifications are incredibly good in what concerns a seaworthy and incredibly powerful boat, one that uses a lifting torpedo keel that allows those performance while permitting a reasonable draft for cruising.
This is a Botin Carkeek & Partners 45ft design, the boat is made with carbon using infusion with mast and boom in carbon. It can have a variable draft (1.75 to 2.75 meters). Weight is only 8.0 tons, and almost half of it is on the ballast. It is a moderately beamed boat, much on the line of Italian performance boats.
LOA 13.72 m
LWL 12.94 m
Bmax 4.15 m
Displacement - Lightship 8000 kgs
Draft (up/dwn) 1.75/2.75 m
Upwind Sail Area 122.1 m2
Downwind Sail Area 259.8 m2
This is not one of those adventure projects that are made by some very small and amateurish companies that make a prototype and die. This boat is being built by Premier Composite Technologies a big company specialized on top composite technologies in several sectors and with a lot of naval experience. They build for designers like Farr, Botin-Carkeek, Judel-Vrolijk, Jason Ker and Mark Mills. they have built the Landmark 43, the Ker 53, the JV40, the Farr 11’s and the Farr400. Maybe the reason that allows them to offer this boat to a very interesting price, about 500 000 Euros, is possibly related with the use of a big industrialized set up in what regards composites.
They say about the boat:
Premier Composite Technologies flagship model, the Premier 45, is a fast, high performance, short handed cruiser.
Designed by Botin-Carkeek, designers of the Team New Zealand TP52, the Premier 45 is built for speed with a carbon fibre and foam cored hull. Featuring a lifting keel and a modern, stylish - yet comfortable - interior, the Premier 45 is the ultimate cruising racer.
Generous upwind and downwind sail area provide the horsepower for class leading performance whilst low displacement and wetted surface area ensure the Premier 45 is easily driven whatever the conditions. The hull design has been developed to excel in downwind conditions and maintain stable handling in waves when further offshore. Carefully optimized foil designs mean the Premier 45 tacks swiftly and maintains excellent low speed manoeuvrability during the pre-start.
Premier Composite Technologies has succeeded in combining a true racing pedigree with all the practicalities required for a great short handed cruising yacht.
After all it seems Armel has not any problem. He have recovered and lost some distance over François maintaining about a 12Nm distance to François. Jean Pierre is also not losing miles maintaining the distance (80Nm). They are trying not to get caught by a high pressure center. Maybe François and Armel can make it.
I doubt Jean-Pierre can make it and if so he will lose many miles. Stamm that has fighting with a lot of problems will be screwed. He will not be able to escape to the low wind and Alex, having lost a lot of time repairing the rudder, is playing masterfully going North to surround the high pressure center and be sure he gets wind all the way.
Stamm, fourth at 191 miles behind the leader, is in light winds, heavy rain and has been dealing with a set of repairs which have sapped his energy and tested his fortitude, but he has still held a pace with the leaders. Contacted this evening by Vendée Globe Radio with Pierre Louis Castelli, Stamm revealed he has been making repairs for several days. He has been deprived of the use of his coffee grinder winch, he has had to make a substantial sail repair and is trying to fix a failed hydrognerator.
The boat is quite fast, even though she could be even faster. If I had less technical issues to deal with, I could focus on sailing. But I can't, so it's frustrating.....
And in the light of these accumulated setbacks, Stamm continues to do a good job of staying with the lead group.
Dam! I start to understand this stuff. I was right about the last prevision: Jean-Pierre was not able to escape completely to the weak winds, and lost 100NM to the two leading boats in some hours. Stamm was effectively screwed and Alex had taken the right option and even so is losing a lot of time.
Stamm lost 300Nm in 24 hours and had ended up having to take the same option as Alex (sailing North of the High). Alex had took that option first and has gained 22Nm to Stamm (and overtook him) but lost 200Nm to the leaders.
I guess that Jean-Pierre will still lose some miles to the two in the front and then will be able to maintain that difference in about 200Nm.
It seems that the leading pack will be now a trio, with two of them in close battle for the first place.
Regarding the occasion where Gabart was winning over Armel with a speed difference that was incomprehensible to me, Michel Desjoyeaux, two times winner of this race the (" the teacher" has is called among the other racers) and François mentor had come to shed some light over it on an interview:
And what is the difference between Armel and Francois?
To me there is no surprise what is happening. I know what they do and they way they sail and race. They are just playing what they love to do, how they love to do it.
Francois has a secret weapon?
I know why Francois is so fast. He has a sail ( blast reacher) which is an improvement of what I had four years ago. We are sure now that Armel does not have the same sail. It works on the angles that he had when he broke the record, so around 120 degrees with around 35-40knots of wind, with ideal conditions of swell and sea.
Three days ago we were at the Soiree du Champions with the French Federation and they called François live during the ceremony and he said “It is OK, the wind has dropped a little, 30-35kts and I have been sleeping a lot.
And the whole theatre was silent. They could not believe it. They thought he was joking, but I am sure it’s right because in those conditions you have nothing else to do. And you have to because when it drops and you need bigger sails then you have much more work to do, you have to be on the deck and be ready to drive the boat and be ready to manoeuvre.
Funny these guys that sleep a lot with the boat on 30/35K wind surfing at over 20K, sometines 30K.
This tells also what these boats are able to do. Another racer in what seemed to be very demanding circumstances, said something like this (while the water was passing over his head and the boat was doing over 20k) you have just to adjust the boat for the circumstances and the boat does the rest.
No wonder this kind of boats to be the major hull influence on modern designed cruisers.
European Boat of the year 2013 - Special class boats
Finally the much waited (at least by me) second part of that video about the 2013 European boat of the year regarding the three last classes, Performance cruisers, Multihull cruisers and Special category boats.
There are an incredibly high number of very good boats among the nominees and the choice will be very hard. Starting with the easiest category, especially now that the A27 had to retire from the competition (impossibility of having the boat available for testing on the location due to financial problems), the Special boat category:
Special boat category: J70, Bavaria B one and Seascape 27.
Three great boats, the J70, a top performance boat but considerable more expensive than the Bavaria. The difference in performance is not that big and with the difference in price you would buy the car to pull the boat. It will be hard to choice between the two. But I Think the winner would be the Seascape 27. It is not only a great sailing boat with incredible performances as it will also permits weekend cruising, swinging keel and all. An innovative concept by one of the most brilliant NA from the new generation (for many years a solo racer), Sam Manuard. Has he says on the movie, a sailboat should be funny to sail and hassle free. A lot of fun and boat for the money it’s what I say.
Let’s have a better look on these looking at some movies
We leave for other posts the two remaining categories: Performance cruisers and Multihull cruisers.
Too badJean-Pierre, for very little lost the ride on the weather system. Was not caught by weak winds but seems not able to leave the 10k zone while Armand and François are well inside the over 25K winds. The result is that now the leader pack is reduced to two, François and Armel that slowly but inexorably is losing miles (30 till know) to François.
Jean-Pierre is already at 362Nm and cannot do nothing except lose more till he can get a weather pattern that favors him, and now is quite the opposite.
Alex did not make it and miss not for much his ride and got caught on the high, as well as Stamm. It seems to me that Stamm is playing better now than Alex but both are in a very difficult situation, much worse than Jean-Pierre and with a big high pressure center right ahead. They are already at over 550Nm from François and will be at much more tomorrow.
Someone have already baptized the two lone riders:
"The records seem set to keep tumbling as Sundance and Butch chase each other around the world as if they were match-racing in an Olympics. The leader, Francois Gabart (Macif) is just 30 miles ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), but with only around 50 miles to the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, on the southwest tip of Australia, it will surely be 29-year-old Gabart, who takes the record passage to the Cape, sometime before midnight.
The front two continue to extend away as Gabart cooly anticipated and those now detached in different weather systems feared. Gabart was making nearly 20 knots in the last four hours, Le Cléac’h just over 18 and those chasing them a far more sedate 10-13 knots.
Gabart’s time to Cape Leeuwin will eclipse another record of Vincent Riou, the 2004-05 winner of the Vendée Globe, who was knocked out of the race after an unfortunate collision with a harbour buoy 500 miles from the coast of Brazil.
The 35-year-old Le Cléac’h broke Riou’s 2004-05 record to the Cape of Good Hope by just over a day and after their incredible speeds across the Indian Ocean, Gabart will be more than two days inside Riou’s record to Cape Leeuwin of 36 days, 12 hours and 48 minutes."