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January 2013 MAINE COASTAL NEWS Page 9. VENDEE GLOBE - THE EVEREST OF YACHT RACING


and so I have to go up the mast again.I can lower the sail if I need to, but I cannot hoist it to full main. Something is stuck up there. Hopefully it is not the track again.” 27 December, Day 46 +18hours, 1790 miles to Cape Horn: The weather has been Stamm’s problem and has slowed the re- pairs. It has also forced him to move again, as the winds and seas increased. He moved eight miles to fi nd better shelter. 28 December, Day 47 +18hours, 1650 miles to Cape Horn: Stamm was nearly ready to resume racing. He has been pro- tested by the Race Committee due to his mooring alongside the Russian research vessel.


Dick and Thomson are benefi ting from strong westerly and northwesterly winds. They were on a direct course to the next gate. The leaders had been forced south with Le Cléach12.7 miles ahead of Gabart. It is likely that they will continue to lose some of their lead on the other competitors. 29 December, Day 48 +18hours, 1400 miles to Cape Horn:Le Cléac’h’s lead was now just 0.3 of a mile over Gabart. The fi nal gate is only 50 miles ahead and the two are match racing as they head towards it. It was announced that when the leaders round Cape Horn there might be 15 rela- tively small icebergs to the south and east. This seems to be a problem only for the two leaders.


30 December, Day 49 +18hours, 1400 miles to Cape Horn: The two leaders, Gab- art and Le Cléac’h, were still just a couple of miles apart, which they have been for about 20 days. They were at 55 degrees south and as they approach Cape Horn they must watch for the reported ice. 31 December, Day 50 +18 hours,


Pacifi c Ocean at 650 miles to Cape Horn: Alessandro di Benedetto, on his 1998 Finot Conq designed TEAM PLASTIQUE is now just 300 miles from entering the Pacifi c Ocean. He is 5,000 miles from the leaders. The leaders are still within sight of each


other, a mere seven miles apart. The forecast for their rounding of Cape Horn is expected to uneventful. The two leaders are still more than two days ahead of the race record and might still break 80 days.


Dick is still in third and back 318 miles, which is staying constant.


After rejoining the race three days ago Stamm has been gaining on Boissières and is now back of him by 49 miles.


The cold and damp weather is starting to get to some of the competitors. Golding said, “It is foggy, drizzly, rainy and unpleasant. And it is cold. Inside the boat everything is damp and that makes the cold feel worse.” 1 January, Day 51 + 18 hours, Pacifi c Ocean at 200 Miles to Cape Horn: When Di Benedetto passed into the Pacifi c Ocean this morning all 13 racers were in the Pacifi c Ocean. However that will not last long as the leaders near Cape Horn. They are ex- pected to pass into the Atlantic later in the afternoon. Ice is still an issue, with one big iceberg (100 metres high and 200 metres across) was grounded at Diego Ramirez island, some 50nm from the Horn. This iceberg was afl oat again giving off growlers. Gabart has a 26 mile lead and both boats were doing about 18 knots with 200 miles to go to the Horn. It appears that Gabart will break the record set by his project manager and mentor Michel Desjoyeaux in January 2009 at 56 days 15 hours and 08 minutes. He could break the record by four days and nine hours. Le Cléac’h will round two to 2.5 hours later.


At 1820hrs UTC Gabart set a new record for the passage from the start line in Les Sables d’Olonne of 52 days 6 hours 18 minutes. He broke the record by 4 days 8 hours and 50 minutes. His lead was now 25 miles.


2 January, Day 52 + 18 hours: Le Cléac’h radioed the problems both leading boats were facing when rounding the Horn. He said, “When we have all this ice around it makes it much more diffi cult. We have 150 complicated miles with icebergs on the course. And when night comes it will be more diffi cult. Once we are past Staten Island we will be back to simpler sailing conditions.”


It was also learned at that the Race Com- mittee was disqualifying Bernard Stamm on board CHEMINÉES POUJOULAT for breaking article 3.2 of the Notice of Race. The issue was his mooring alongside the Russian scientifi c vessel PROFESSEUR KHOROMOV after it was discovered he was dragging anchor. When leaving, he no- tices that someone has jumped on his boat to help retrieve the anchor, but did not ask him to leave. Stamm starts his engine and moors behind the Russian vessel. The jury fi nds that mooring to the Russian vessel; not asking the person he discovered on deck to leave and receiving assistance in tying up to


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Alex Thomson's HUGO BOSS going through a wave.


the Russian vessel were all breaches of the rules. He now has 24 hours to appeal and have a jury re-examine his case in regards to rule 66. If he does not respond the decision will stand.


RANKING AS OF 1 JANUARY at 0400 1 Francois Gabart, MACIF, 6899 miles


from the fi nish 2 Armel Le Cléac’h, BANQUE POPU- LAIRE, 12 miles from leader 3 Jean-Pierre Dick, VIRBACPAPREC 3, 440 miles from leader 4 Alex Thomson, HUGO BOSS, 869 miles from leader


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