Posts Tagged ‘Vendee Globe’

Race finishes – close and otherwise

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), in winning the Vendee Globe by more than five days from Armel Le Cléac´h (Brit Air), who is due to finish today, reminded me of a very different yacht race finish.

In the 1982 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by just seven seconds, to win the battle for line honours. If you’re not familiar with it, the Sydney-Hobart is a 630 nm race.

The Race Directors of the Vendee Globe calculated the total distance this year, using great circle and taking in the marks of the course, as 24,840 nm. But when Desjoyeaux finished he had sailed 28,303 nm at an average speed of 14 knots. The average came down to 12.30 knots when calculated for the Race Directors’ distance.

For Brit Air to have finished as close to Foncia as Apollo did to Condor, the margin would have been only 4.5 to 5.25 minutes. That would have been truly exciting yacht racing!

Another Vendee Globe yachtsman in trouble

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Today’s news about Canadian Derek Hatfield allows me to raise a What if? in addition to those already covered in a series of our Newsletters (see below), namely:


What if one or more of your spreaders get broken?


In the case of Hatfield, a competitor in the Vendee Globe, it has meant that he is now heading to Tasmania – a distance of some 1,000 miles. As he has no fuel, he has been forced to sail the boat. The prevailing wind where he is means that he has to sail on port tack, where two spreaders were broken when the yacht was knocked down in heavy conditions at the weekend.


I understand the shrouds themselves are still intact but without the spreaders, the shrouds would be quite loose. I, for one, would be reluctant to climb up a mast that is only partially supported in order to assess the damage close up and try to make repairs.


If he’s unable to tighten the shrouds I’m sure he would use one or more halyards that he could tighten on a winch and give better support to his mast.


The scenarios we covered in our Newsletter were:

* What if the wind strengthens to storm force?

* What if the engine stops or can’t be started?

* What if the steering fails?

* What if the main halyard jams?

* What if the boat goes aground?


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Vendee rescue – valuable operation or waste of taxpayers’ money?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

While everyone following the Vendee Globe is relieved that Yann Elies has been rescued by the captain and crew of HMAS Arunta, some people in Australia are querying why such a rescue should take place, and at taxpayers’ expense. It’s an easy question to answer. Australia, by nature of its position in the world, has responsibility for a large amount of the Southern Ocean. And it’s good that it takes that responsibility seriously.


Such a rescue operation is also so much better than any practice exercise – there’s nothing like actual experience to learn and develop skills.


Also of note is that Vendee organisers requested that two yachts divert to give moral support to the injured Yann Elies. Sam Davies, although she knew that she couldn’t reach the stricken yachtsman before HMAS Arunta, maintained her course until she was stood down by the race organisers. Marc Guillemot was standing by and watched the transfer take place: “Some highly professional work. They prepared Yann for the transfer. Still heavy swell but they carried out manoeuvre perfectly. Yann is now aboard the frigate and has a doctor taking care of him.”


All this was done to meet the obligations under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and, for the whingers, consider how you would feel if you had carried out such an operation successfully, your morale would be sky high.


You can discover much more about safety at sea in The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship – Safety and Emergencies.