Photo: Francois Gabart/MACIF

Virbac Paprec retires with hydraulic issues

Banque Populaire now leads the Europa Warm-Up as the solo IMOCA 60s approach the Azores turning mark

Tuesday May 29th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Unfortunately after winning the opening leg of the IMOCA 60's Europa Warm and then leading the singlehanded second leg, Jean-Pierre Dick has made his mark on the event. But unfortunately he has been forced to retire from the second leg after his yacht suffered a problem with the hydraulics used to drive the keel rams on Virbac-Paprec 3. After battling to effect a repair since Monday morning, Dick had to concede defeat today and has electing to return to Cascais as quickly as possible to work on a repair.

Positions at 1800 UTC

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Long Longitude Spd Crs DTF DTL
1 Banque Populaire Armel le Cleac'h 36 35.00' N 23 01.68' W 10.2 286 1663.1 0
2 MACIF Francois Gabart 36 36.92' N 22 53.60' W 11.4 295 1669.1 6
3 PRB Vincent Riou 36 38.00' N 22 52.36' W 10.7 295 1669.9 6.8
4 Cheminées Poujoulat Bernard Stamm 36 41.20' N 22 36.04' W 10.4 288 1682.3 19.2
5 Groupe Bel Kito de Pavant 36 32.16' N 21 52.56' W 11.1 272 1718.2 55.1
6 ACCIONA 100%EcoPowered Javier Sanso 37 00.76' N 21 39.48' W 11.7 281 1726.5 63.3
7 Virbac-Paprec 3 Jean-Pierre Dick 37 44.48' N 15 43.32' W 9.6 89 2011.3 348.2

Dick explained: “Suddenly, there was a huge noise in the boat and the cylinder ram went. The keel was not at all controlled. It was iImpossible to stabilise the ram and so, I dropped keel to starboard. This is a situation where we can not sail well at all ... I'm trying to fix the keel. Ideally, I can fix that pretty quickly and I can bring the boat to La Rochelle, or Lorient. I still need to be training. It's infuriating - all the work goes up in smoke in seconds. But looking at the Vendée Globe, we have to understand what happened, and if not solve the problem or change the system.”

With Virbac Paprec 3's retirement, so Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire now leads Vincent Riou's PRB by six miles. After tacking today the leaders are making a more direct course towards the first turning mark of Santa Maria in the Azores, now less than 90 miles away.

While the leading duo, and others, have been working the small shifts and changes in wind pressure, eeking out fractions of a knot here and there, third placed Bernard Stamm place has been ruminating over the need to simply adopt the highest possible averages on his powerful IMOCA 60 Cheminées Poujoulat, rather than running himself down too much trying to make micro changes, waiting longer to make sail changes and having to accept that sometimes his boat is slower than others.

When his rivals, sailing upwind, carry out sail changes at 16 or 17 knots, Stamm has to wait until the wind reaches 22-23 to do the same. These five knots make a huge difference in terms of physical effort, so the skipper of Cheminées Poujoulat has only one choice: He has to sail his boat to her full potential and that means a lot of hard work , or plan ahead to reduce sail early and accept that temporarily his boat is not sailing as fast as his opponents. To make up for that he must aim to find a strategic advantage, which was why he was the first to tack towards the Azores this morning.

"I tacked a little before the others and hope they have gone too far and they find themselves above the lay line," reported Stamm. "Santa Maria is still far, we still have got some tacks to make. I have got into the game, but I still miss the crew! Four pairs of hands is a big help. So, I am trying to anticipate much more. I cannot wait and react. I slept a little, but not quite enough. I will try to continue to recharge my batteries ... "

The leaders are expected to round the Azores the leaders early tomorrow morning, and must consider how best to make this passage through archipelago, attempting to avoid wind-shadows, while making the most of any wind acceleration zones, and also sailing the shortest distance.


Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top