01 March 2017 - 08:34 • 8492 views

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There is now just one obstacle remaining for Dutch skipper, Pieter Heerema – the Bay of Biscay. He is still sailing in strong winds and is expected to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne tomorrow (Thursday) between 1700 and 2100hrs UTC. Almost 1500 miles further back, Sébastien Destremau is going to have to wait another ten days to become the eighteenth and final competitor to complete the eighth Vendée Globe…

Pieter Heerema excited, yet focused
Sailing off the coast of Spain this morning, Pieter Heerema (No Way Back) can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It has taken him some time on his new generation foiling IMOCA, but the 65-year old is about to succeed in his personal challenge of completing the Vendée Globe. He is expected to finish tomorrow between 1700 and 21000hrs UTC and take 17th place after around 116 days of sailing. The first Dutch competitor in the history of the Vendée Globe, Heerema will enjoy a fantastic welcome back to Les Sables d’Olonne with the harbour entrance open from 1500 to 2130hrs.
For the moment however, Heerema has to remain focused in the rough conditions. Yesterday evening, he gybed to head eastwards to avoid the winds in excess of thirty knots. In the coming hours, he will be sailing in a 25-knot SW’ly wind in heavy seas with a 4-5m swell. This evening Herrema will have to gybe again to head to the NE. The wind will ease during the night and veer to the NW dropping to 10 knots. Tomorrow morning, another shift is forecast with the wind swing around to the east-south-east. This wind will then push him along to Les Sables…

Sébastien Destremau on rations with ten days to go
After his long sail in the NE’ly trade winds, Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-faceOcean) is slowed in light airs. Over the past 24 hours, he has only sailed 147 miles (average speed: 6.1 knots). At the latitude of the Canaries, Sébastien is stuck in the Azores high, which is currently a long way south. He is sailing this morning in a 5-knot NE’ly wind. His routing has come up with a variety of routes, but the majority show him heading east under the Azores. But it is not clear whether Destremau will want to try that option.
In a video sent back yesterday, Sébastien admitted he was rationing himself and into his reserves to be able to feed himself until the finish, which is likely to be around 10th March. He is attempting to fish to find something different to eat. Tomorrow evening, after Pieter Heerema finishes, he will be the final competitor left at sea in this eighth Vendée Globe.

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