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Vendée Globe Day 12: Altered Images but Le Cam still in the picture

by Vendée Globe 19 Nov 2020 18:21 GMT 19 November 2020

Mischievous, amusing, sardonic, French veteran Jean Le Cam continues to light up the leading pack of the Vendée Globe who are slogging south-westward, beam reaching into choppy, slamming seas. Alex Thomson continues to lead the 32 boat fleet by about 10 miles at some 110 miles north east of Recife, Brazil.

But for all that the 61 year old Le Cam, who is on his fifth Vendée Globe race, played with Vendée Globe LIVE! viewers' minds today - altering his virtual backdrop to place himself in an empty café bar - the undeniable reality is Le Cam is still showing a posse of younger, fast foiling IMOCA boats and their much younger skippers, the way down the South Atlantic.

Just 10 hours and 13 minutes behind Alex Thomson's HUGO BOSS, Le Cam crossed the Equator fourth early this morning on the evergreen 2007 Farr design which, as Foncia, won the 2008 Vendée Globe in the hands of Michel Desjoyeaux. He returned Yes We Cam! one more into the Southern Hemisphere only one hour and 54 minutes behind Charlie Dalin on the new Verdier designed Apivia.

Le Cam's time for the passage from Les Sables d'Olonne this time is 10 days 10 hours 12 minutes, five minutes faster this time than he was on the same boat at the exactly the same point in 2016 when he lay eighth. Clearly he only improves with age!

After surgery gave the boat more volume in the bow Le Cam triumphed in the 2015 Barcelona World Race round the world race on this same boat - sailing with Bernard Stamm, in so doing won the IMOCA Ocean Masters world title. Along with Spain's Didac Costa, he is one of only two sailors in this fleet to be looking to complete his third round the world race in the space of five years.

"I was a bit fed up of my bean bag and my environment so I went to the bistro to go and get a coffee." Laughed Le Cam as he 'placed' himself in his café. Asked about his position in the race he chuckled, "As to the foiling boats getting a chance to stretch their lead: I have always said since before the start that I am in the Renault 4 category, not in the Ferrari one, but I realise that the little R4 is very well tuned!" joked Le Cam today, "The good news is that I had a great night's sleep. I have not had a good night of sleep like last night's since the start."

Leader Thomson saw his cushion shrink on the rankings today to less than ten miles, some of that due to the way the theoretical route is calculated on the official charting. His margin enlarged again this afternoon after the moving waypoint to which the leaders are racing, was recalibrated slightly west.

"Every one of these new boats has a slightly different sail and rig set up, different foil packages, different hull shapes and so each will have its strengths and weaknesses and we are all just learning about these boats in different conditions as are the skippers themselves. I don't think Alex has any problems on board right now, some boats will be quicker in some conditions some boats in others. Right now it is about staying close. You will see the Figaro one design sailors like Charlie Dalin are keen to stay with the pack and play the long game, whereas maybe Alex and Thomas (Ruyant) are prepared to do their own thing sometimes. This is much more about risk management right now." Commented second placed Thomas Ruyan's LinkedOut programme manager Marcus Hutchinson on today's Vendée Globe LIVE! show today.

Germany's Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) crossed the Equator in seventh place at 0650hrs this morning, 2hrs and 54 mins behind Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and 37 minutes before Britain's Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur). As was expected the battle from fifth placed Kevin Escoffier (PRB) to ninth placed Yannick Bestaven (Maitre CôQ) among the boats which formed the vanguard of the 2016-17 race is very engaging, just five hours exactly between Escoffier and Bestaven in terms of time across the Equator.

Otherwise the fleet are all making decent progress, tradewinds sailing, even Kojiro Shiraishi on DMG MORI, has been doing reasonable speeds under headsails as he tries to repair the battens for his mainsail. Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest - Art et Fenêtres) has 120 miles to catch backmarker Clément Giraud and Jérémie Beyou has passed Cape Finisterre this afternoon and was making 19kts on Charal.

And Nico Troussel, who lost the mast of CORUM L'Épargne on Monday morning, finally reached a mooring in Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands this morning.


Alan Roura / La Fabrique: "Here I am in the Doldrums! It's starting to get active, but I'm still getting some wind. I hope to get out of them in the early afternoon if all goes well. I think I've lost out on our superwomen, but that's the game. Once we get out it there will be a bit of an Indian file, but for now I'm between two big cloud masses.

"I don't really like this big cloud in front of me... But on the other hand last night there was lightning right next to the boat, so not nice either!

"It's baking, I spend my life half stripped! At night, I swim in my sweat, the boat feels like an oven. In a few weeks it will be a freezer. That is the beauty of a journey around the world!

"La Fabrique si doing fine and the sailor is a little tired and stressed. Going through the Doldrums is a delicate exercise where anything can happen. You can't let your guard down and above all you keep your whits about you. Soon there will be the sound of samba and the smell of limes! All this from afar of course!

"Go as soon as I get out of this area, I'm going to get some SLEEP! In the meantime, it's its about keeping and eye on the clouds and finding the way of slipping through them."

Charlie Dalin / APIVIA: "It is always symbolic going into the Southern Hemisphere and we are going to spend the next couple of months here before heading back up in January. That puts into perspective the work that is left to do!

"It is my 4th doldrums passage from North to South and in my experience, it is the the easiest we have had. It lasted less than 36 hours and only had a few squall to deal with.

"It brings back shared memories from last year on the TJV (he says speaking with Yann Eliés), it is an area that reminds you of nice things on the TJV.

"This Doldrums were relatively easy and the boat just never stopped. It was really quite easy to negotiate, it could have been a lot worse.

"We are doing well now and I would say that yesterday and today have been the hottest days of the trip so far and that as of tomorrow they will drop. The sea is not flat, but it is not too uncomfortable.

"To sleep, I have put away my mattress and now have my beanbag again. I have my little humidifying fan, let me show you!

"There are a few useful things to have on the trip! The autopilot really, without it it would be hard to do the VG. The weather too, that would not be too easy. To have energy on board you need the pilot, the desalinators. I am going to try the water from the Southern Ocean for the first time now on this trip and look forward after to trying the Indian one!"

Rankings at 17H00 UTC:

PosSail NoSkipper / Yacht NameDTF (nm)DTL (nm)
1 GBR 99Alex Thomson / HUGO BOSS20974.80
2 FRA 59Thomas Ruyant / LinkedOut20992.617.8
3 FRA 79Charlie Dalin / APIVIA21022.247.4
4 FRA 01Jean Le Cam / Yes we Cam !21117.3142.5
5 FRA 85Kevin Escoffier / PRB21168.8194
6 FRA 18Louis Burton / Bureau Vallée 221178.9204.1
7 MON 10Boris Herrmann / Seaexplorer ‑ Yacht Club De Monaco21224.6249.8
8 FRA 17Yannick Bestaven / Maître Coq IV21245.4270.6
9 FRA 109Samantha Davies / Initiatives ‑ Coeur21252.3277.5
10 FRA 4Sébastien Simon / ARKEA PAPREC21287.1312.3
11 FRA 09Benjamin Dutreux / OMIA ‑ Water Family21290315.2
12 FRA 1000Damien Seguin / Groupe APICIL21336.2361.4
13 ITA 34Giancarlo Pedote / Prysmian Group21424449.2
14 FRA 53Maxime Sorel / V And B Mayenne21466.9492.1
15 FRA 27Isabelle Joschke / MACSF21570.9596.1
16 FRA 49Romain Attanasio / Pure ‑ Best Western Hotels and Resorts21587.1612.4
17 FRA 30Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X21596.9622.2
18 SUI 7Alan Roura / La Fabrique21614.5639.7
19 FRA 92Stéphane Le Diraison / Time For Oceans21778803.2
20 ESP 33Didac Costa / One Planet One Ocean22113.31138.5
21 FRA 14Arnaud Boissieres / La Mie Câline ‑ Artisans Artipôle221361161.3
22 GBR 777Pip Hare / Medallia22170.41195.7
23 FRA 71Manuel Cousin / Groupe Sétin22221.91247.1
24 FRA 02Armel Tripon / L'Occitane en Provence22501.51526.7
25 FIN 222Ari Huusela / Stark22562.71587.9
26 FRA 50Miranda Merron / Campagne de France22565.61590.8
27 JPN 11Kojiro Shiraishi / DMG MORI Global One22571.71597
28 FRA 72Alexia Barrier / TSE ‑ 4myplanet22588.31613.5
29 FRA 69Sébastien Destremau / Merci22606.41631.6
30 FRA 83Clément Giraud / Compagnie du lit ‑ Jiliti22660.51685.7
31 FRA 56Fabrice Amedeo / Newrest ‑ Art et Fenetres227751800.2
32 FRA 8Jérémie Beyou / Charal23954.22979.4
RET FRA 6Nicolas Troussel / CORUM L'Épargne  

Find out more...

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