Pre-race favourite Jérémie Beyou suffers damage and has to return 600 miles to Les Sables d’Olonne. Leaders making good speeds south after weather front last night. Fabrice Amedeo Restarted Tuesday night.
Jérémie Beyou, one of the Vendée Globe solo round the world race’s pre-race favourites has been forced to turn back to the start port of Les Sables d’Olonne in France after suffering a succession of problems including rudder damage and a broken backstay after three days of racing.
Beyou is more than 600 nautical miles from the French port where the solo, non-stop round the world race started last Sunday afternoon. He is expected back in Les Sables d’Olonne late on Friday. The race rules leave the start line open for ten days since the start, so until Wednesday 18th November at 1420hrs.
At 0915hrs this morning Vendée Globe Race Direction contacted Charal's team manager, Vincent Beyou, after noticing a change of course of Beyou’s black IMOCA on their race tracking system.
A few minutes later the team manager confirmed the solo skipper Jérémie Beyou had made the tough decision to turn around towards Les Sables d'Olonne.
Beyou, 44, third on the last edition of the Vendée Globe, was widely considered among the favourites to win, not least a key rival for British skipper Alex Thomson.
The French solo racer, launched his boat earliest of the newest generation of foiling IMOCA 60s and most recently confirmed his favourite status when he won the Vendée Arctique Les Sables warm up course in June.
The Charal team issued the following statement :
After an ideal start to the Vendée Globe being in the leading pack after two days of racing, Jérémie Beyou suffered problems on Tuesday afternoon.
Technical Director of the Charal Sailing Team, Pierre-François Dargnies details: “It started around 2pm on Tuesday when a sheet block tore off, which sprayed carbon all over the cockpit. Jérémie had to do a little repair, he got in the boat to get it all set up, and while he was inside the boat he hit something. In so doing the boat gybed it ended up on the other side. He then realized that the starboard rudder was damaged. He decided to wait for the passage of the front in last night to start the repairs on the rudder. He tacked this morning while waiting for the sunrise to be able to tackle this repair, but after a few hours later the starboard backstay (cable that supports the mast from the rear) broke suddenly, probably because the sheet block is quite close, beside backstay and the carbon shards must have sheared it. "
After discussions with his team Beyou therefore took the decision this Wednesday morning to return to Les Sables d'Olonne to repair as quickly as possible: "With a torn off sheet block base, a damaged rudder, knowing that it is possible that the foil might also have been hit, and a broken runner-uphaul that is quite a bit for the third day of the race ”, adds Pierre-François Dargnies who has put in place the logistics necessary to receive the IMOCA Charal, expected back in Les Sables d 'Olonne Friday at the end of the day.
"The ETA will depend on the speed and routing as long as he is on the port tack, as is currently the case he can go at more or normal speed, but on the starboard side, since he has no backstay he will have to go quite slowly. The good thing is that it is mostly downwind. As for the repairs, we have a spare rudder, so that's not a problem, and for the rest, everything will depend on the exact extent of the damage, we will obviously do everything to repair the boat in the best possible way, meet the deadlines to allow our skipper to leave. ”
Other race news
After the first big weather system of the race last night, today the Vendée Globe leaders are making good speeds on a south westerly course 450 miles offshore of the Iberian peninsula. Brutal gusts of more than 45kts and big seas proved especially challenging but seem to have caused on minor damages to the fleet. After a split which saw the slower, daggerboard boats largely stay to the south closer to the NW corner of Spain on a more prudent option while the faster foiling boats punched west through the system, the main packs are now aligned with Maxime Sorel (V and B Mayenne) still holding a narrow lead.
But the quicker foiling boats are starting to make inroads up the rankings, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is up to fourth at just under 12 miles from the leader having gained 16 miles on Sorel today. Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) is furthest to the west and lies fourth. The tight group of new generation foilers are hunting as a pack, Alex Thomson’s HUGO BOSS at 2.7 miles behind Dalin.
Kevin Escoffier (PRB) has largely recovered from a sudden ingress of water overnight which came from a damaged valve on the outflow from the foil box housing. And Armel Tripon who it seemed this morning was set to take his L’Occitaine to the north Spanish coast after a halyard lock hook failed and dropped his J3 to the deck suddenly causing some unspecified damage. He has resumed a southerly course on the scow bowed Sam Manuard design making 10 kts but dropped to 32nd 160 miles behind the leaders.
And on Tuesday evening at 2315hrs local time Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest - Art & Fenêtres) restarted at the Nouch bouy off Les Sables d’Olonne. After returning to Les Sables d’Olonne on Monday morning he had to make a repair to a hairline crack at the top of his mast. Amedeo was touched by the local support who left their homes to send him on his way on the banks of the famous Les Sables d’Olonne channel.
“It was a very hard night with more than 45 knots of gusts. I had three reefs in the main and it had lots of water in the reefs and it was impossible to gybe with this, so it took time to take out all of the water. As for myself, I’m fine, I’m doing well but I’m just a little bit tired from all the troubles from last night, and the boat has small problems here and here but overall there is no big problem so it’s going to be fine. The wind is about 20 knots at the moment but since last night the waves are going opposite to the boat’s direction, so the boat is slamming a lot. This is really really tiring, and I know that the Vendée Globe is the hardest yacht race in the world, and these really are the conditions where I can feel that the Vendée Globe is really tough. So the wind will go down in a little bit so I will repair the boat - small things that happened last night during the storm. And most importantly I will try to rest myself because I haven’t been able to sleep much in the past days."
“Last night I was sea sick for the first time in my life and vomited, no doubt due to the stress. I am finding it hard to relax. The front stressed me out a bit and in the end it was quite strong, but the sea state was not too bad. After being ill I managed to get a bit of sleep and we are behind the front now. There is quite a lot of tidying up to do. The wind has changed and the boat has really accelerated now. When this is all outside, I will be able to get a bit more rest. I saw on the AIS that Ruyant is close and I am really happy to be close to these leading boats. I was trying to not push too hard through the front, but to find myself close to them is pretty nice. The boat is going well and apart from a bit of tidying up to do, all is going well. Over the next few hours it should calm down and a bit and I will have to change the sail, but am going to wait a bit to do that. It is risky to do it now as there are still a few squalls at the tail end of the front and there has been a small front that has gone through the leaders so am just going to wait a bit. Conditions are really quite “shit”. These are not at all the sort of conditions I had imagined. It is a bit soon to say that I am enjoying it. The start was incredible, we had amazing conditions and I did not even use my oil skins for the first night. I am just trying to sail well and not anything stupid. In a few days I am sure I will enjoy it more when conditions are better.
I am a bit apprehensive about the next front that we are due to get on Friday. I have just had 40 knots head on, so I am a bit worried about what is coming next. It is not easy to trim the boat in these conditions."
“I was pretty much awake and up all night because it was really complicated to get any sleep with such strong wind. We had peaks of 50 knots and the sea was really messy. I just focused on sailing safe and anticipating and right now, conditions are not all that calm. The sea is still really messy. You have to be really be really instinctive and I had two reefs in the main and the G3 up and even with that I think there were times that a it would have been better to have had a third reef in. It was just in the gusts, but I stayed with two reefs and it was ok in the end. I can see that the sails can take it and thankfully all is going well. I am tired, but it is good to have some bad weather now and test our boats before we go into the southern ocean as we have not had that much time to work on them in the Sables d’Olonne. This will be a leveller to see which boats are prepared and not find the problems in the South when we are far away from everything. My boat is doing really well, just a few little things that can be sorted once we get into the trade winds, the good waether, which I am looking forward to! I am sailing safely as the are still in it and have a very big cross sea. I will check in with the family a bit later and see how my wife is and how the kids day was at school!"
1 - Maxime Sorel (V and B - Mayenne) 23685 nms to finish
2 - Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA - Water Family) +7.72 miles to leader
3 - Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) +8.75 miles
4 - Charlie Dalin (Apiva) +11.7 miles
5 - Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) +12.8 miles