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Vendee Globe - Bianchetti 12th & 1st Italian home

by Mary Ambler 10 Mar 2001 19:25 GMT

Simone Bianchetti (Aquarelle.com) crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe at 1739hrs French time. He has achieved his solo, non-stop circumnavigation in 121 days, 1 hour and 28 minutes, and finished in 12th place in the Vendée Globe 2000/1. Simone has also become the first Italian skipper to achieve a solo, non-stop around the world yacht race. This was his first, but the boat's fifth circumnavigation.

The fog was settling offshore and the day drawing in as the support boats went out to look for Simone's green and white Open 60, 'Aquarelle.com' on the horizon. Finally she appeared out of the mist under staysail and 1 reef gliding over the Atlantic swell at 9 knots, her skipper still tucked inside the cabin and unaware of the swarm of boats arriving to motor alongside for the final 2 miles.

Bianchetti popped up out of his cabin, his traditional navy sailor's cap cocked to one side, unshaven, weather beaten but evidently happy. Once through the line the shouts and cheers from his Italian compatriots rose loud and clear. Simone himself sailed the boat right into the harbour entrance, where he was welcomed by thousands more people lining the walls 5 deep and cheering in admiration of the Italian skipper.

In the Press Conference, Simone was asked what the hardest thing was in the race: "Finding the budget!" came the jovial reply. Would he do the Vendée Globe again? "Yes," he replied without hesitation, "but with a faster, more modern boat next time." Philippe Monnet, the owner and previous skipper of Aquarelle.com, was there to welcome Simone and gave his vote of confidence to the Italian skipper for bringing his boat back in such good condition.

Behind him, still on course, Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) is advancing well towards Les Sables d'Olonne with a good average speed of 12 knots. "I'm sailing in a steady SW breeze under staysail and 2 reefs in the main, I've furled the genoa to preserve it a bit. I'm waiting for the wind to change so I can gybe onto port and climb North a little. The wind should stay from the West until the finish in theory. I think I'll arrive on Saturday morning if the weather files are right and I don't have any technical problems. But you know it's not like I'm on the fast train, at the very least I know I'll be coming home. I'm a little anxious for the finish, these are my last moments of serenity and peacefulness and I am loving every minute."

Didier Munduteguy (DDP/60eme Sud) is still in the 15 ­ 20 knot Northerly Trade winds. "I've been making good progress for the last two days, heading North, and should arrive in about 15 days. My rudder is holding up well, I don't sense any trouble with it at any rate."

Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind) is still soldiering on under jury rig, and handicapped as well by the fact that he can only receive weather files by fax, unable to access information by satellite or web. "Today has been another so so day, battling in light NE airs and heading barely over 0 degrees. Actually, we have made little progress considering the light upwind conditions and the reduced mainsail we are forced to sail with due to our emergency rig. In the last 6 days we have averaged 60 miles per day."

ETA:

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) ­ 17th March

Latest Ranking* polled at 1400hrs (UT):

   Boat                  Skipper              Lat     Long    Hd  Av.Sp DTF
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1 PRB                   Michel Desjoyeaux    Finished 10 Feb 20:08 hrs 32s
 2 Kingfisher            Ellen MacArthur      Finished 11 Feb 20:36 hrs 40s
 3 Sill Matines          Roland Jourdain      Finished 13 Feb 17:13 hrs 33s
 4 Active Wear           Marc Thiercelin      Finished 20 Feb 12:48 hrs 49s
 5 Union Bancaire Privée Dominique Wavre      Finished 22 Feb 18:58 hrs 12s
 6 Sodebo Savourons      Thomas Coville       Finished 22 Feb 23:35 hrs  0s
 7 Team Group 4          Mike Golding         Finished 28 Feb 08:33 hrs  0s
 8 Voilà.fr              Bernard Gallay       Finished  1 Mar 08:18 hrs 11s
 9 EBP-Défi PME-Gartmore Josh Hall            Finished  1 Mar 11:59 hrs  2s
10 Nord Pas de Calais    Joe Seeten           Finished  5 Mar 08:57 hrs 50s
11 VM Matériaux          Patrice Carpentier   Finished  5 Mar 16:43 hrs 48s
12 Aquarelle.com         Simone Bianchetti    Finished 10 Mar 17:39 hrs  0s
13 Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier         34°24'N 25°24'W  77 12.1 1291
14 DDP - 60ème Sud       Didier Munduteguy    16°14'N 32°58'W 358  7.0 2403
15 Wind                  Pasquale de Gregorio 15°08'S 35°57'W 348  5.7 4218

More Information:

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