Vendée Globe: Beyou’s Emotional Return To Les Sables

Vendée Globe

Beyou’s Emotional Return To Les Sables

Pledges to restart if the boat is fixed. Le Cam leads but foilers should extend in trade winds reaching. Mainsail damage for Kojiro Shiraishi.

On a chill, grey November afternoon a drawn and disappointed Jérémie Beyou was touched by the size and warmth of the welcome afforded to the French skipper on his premature return to Les Sables d’Olonne with his damaged Chara.

Forced to return 600 miles back to the start port after his IMOCA was damaged on the third day of racing. hundreds of local fans turned out to see the 44 year old return down the famous channel. At brief, carefully choregraphed, distanced reunion with selected media, Beyou made it clear he want to return to the race course if the damage to his boat can be repaired at 100%.

“If technically it can be done, the plan is to go. That is the objective.” Stated an emotional Beyou beside his black and silver hulled Charal. “I really want to go, that is not the issue, I want to maintain this frame of mind. I will be 3,000 miles behind so it is no longer a race, but we will see.”

Underlining the urgency to have the boat ready as quickly as possible there was a diver in the water as the IMOCA docked to evaluate the underwater surfaces following the strike by a floating object , the cockpit was quickly covered to facilitate the composite repairs required and the damaged rudder was quickly removed.

“I am convinced that we will try and fix it, but the devil is in the detail. I see that everyone is here. The designers, the builders, all the experts and shore team will collaborate and so we will know within 24 hours. Then we will take a decision.”

The start line closes on Wednesday 18th at 1420hrs, ten days after last Sunday’s start.

“Stopping was brutal for me.” He recalled, his voice shaking at the memory.

 

“I hope Jeremy re-starts and I hope it is good for him. You just never know on this race.” Commented Mike Golding on the Vendée Globe LIVE show today. Golding was dismasted hours into the 2000-2001 race and restarted a week behind the fleet going on to finish seventh, setting several in the Southern Ocean, some of which still stand.

Foilers To Stretch?
At the top of the fleet Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) still holds the lead by 21 nautical miles from Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) as the pair open the route into the Ne’ly trade winds.
“Everything is good on board with Alex. He has been resting a bit. He was quite happy through the low (Theta) really. He has seen plenty of big winds before, 50,60 knots, and so if there is a gain to be made he will go there. I think we will start to see the foilers dominate now a bit more. With the winds around 100 degrees true they should be quick for the next 4-5 days.” Commented Ross Daniels, Alex Thomson Racing’s Technical Director this afternoon.

Located furthest to the west, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) was the first to gybe then Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Kevin Escoffier (PRB). 150 miles to the southeast of them, Le Cam and Thomson gybed early in the afternoon on to a better angle and more wind. and therefore a slightly more direct course. “It’s going to be a long gybe straight into the doldrums and the foilers, who haven’t yet had the chance to show their potential, will finally be able to do it. We should fly” Thomas Ruyant added on Vendée Live, “We will be able to close to reaching angles and start to accelerate.”
But vigilance will be required explains Sébastien Josse, three Vendée Globes under his belt: “It will not be a cruise with the force of the wind – 20 to 25 knots – and on the crossover of a sail choice between Code 0 and fractional gennaker.

Mainsail Damage For Kojiro
In the middle of the afternoon Kojiro Shiraishi’s DMG Mori Global One team reported a rip at the top of the Japanese skipper’s mainsail and damaged battens. After a gybe to exit the Theta depression, Shiraishi, 19th at 3pm, suffered an autopilot malfunction. During a 3rd jibe, his mainsail tore above the 2nd batten. His team commented: “The skipper is not injured and the boat is not in danger. We will be offering different solutions to repair the mainsail and continue the race.”

Meantime the peloton has raced off and left a group of competitors in next to now wind, Ari Huusela (Stark), Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) , Alexia Barrier (TSE – 4myplanet), Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit / Jiliti), Sébastien Destremau (Merci) and Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence). “The corridor of wind between the depression and the front above is broken down they are in the heart of a windless zone and behind there is not much either.” Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist explained.

She said : 

Clarence Cremer, Banque Populaire XI

“Things are completely changed because. I got myself all wound up like an idiot. I made myself a hot cup of tea, boiling tea, like I have not been able to do since the start. I very cleverly clamped it between my legs and then knocked the whole lot over the my groin between my legs. I am suffering quite badly but thankfully was able to speak to the doctor and he has set me a course of creams and pain killers to use. It is not a pretty sight, but I can do a drawing of it. I have always been on the verge of finally saying I am ok and on the Vendée Globe and then this, I mean really, it is really so silly. Please take care at home when you make tea, do not spill it between your legs, it really hurts!

There you go, I am laughing but I will take great, great care given where I have been burnt, to not get any infection because there, at least I have an excuse for losing a few places on the ranking. You laugh and you cry, well, well there’s your normal life on the boat. So, thank you to those who have supported me because it really was very painful, and I did panic and am it will continue to annoy me. Now I am taking Doliprane painkillers. So, there is a new adventure ahead of me.”

Rankings
1. Jean Le Cam – Yes We Cam! at 22 847 miles to the finish
2. Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS at 21,5 miles to leader
3. Benjamin Dutreux – OMIA – Water Family at 26,4 miles to leader
4. Kevin Escoffier – PRB at 73,2 miles to leader
5. Damien Seguin – Groupe APICIL at 75,2 miles to leader

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