Quotes from the ninth radio vac

Jean Le Cam
© Vincent Curutchet / DPPI

Jéremie Beyou (Maître CoQ):
Hi all, thanks for being here. The situation is clear, the way the keel head is tied right now will resist the tide and has allowed me to go find a shelter. But it won’t be enough to stand all the pressure and weight throughout the race around the world. I’ve started the engine. The race is over. There’s so much frustration and disappointment, for myself and people who trusted me, especially Stéphane (editor's note: Maître CoQ CEO Stéphane Sallé) and the Maître CoQ staff. I’m angry too, there are so many things than can make such parts of the boat more fragile. I’m glad I have Maître CoQ and Stéphane’s support.
We’ll need to dive under the boat to see what happened exactly. It’s too early to say.
The breakage definitely made me nervous, I was laughing hysterically, then I got really mad but remained focused on repairing. I couldn’t sleep, no way. Eventually, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep last night.
We’ll go to the port, dismantle and remove the hydraulic jack which will be studied and analysed.

Stéphane Sallé (Maître CoQ CEO):
Jérémie, you know we’ll keep supporting you throughout the next four years, it’s time for new goals, new challenges. There is mutual trust, we have so many things left to experience together.

Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS):
It wasn’t the best time to be doing it (editor's note: repairing the broken rudder bar) to be honest, but we didn’t really have much choice. It seems to be fine, we still have to repair the hydrogenerator bracket I might make start on that today if I can make some progress throught the Doldrums. I just managed to keep the boat going the whole time, I didn’t feel the need to stop, the boat was pretty comfortable and going fast. I just had to do what the guys told me to do. 

(On Beyou retiring from the race)
That is very sad. I did suspect that might be the case when I found out that his keel (jack) had broken. I feel very sorry for Jérémie, it’s his second Vendée and second time retiring, I know how it feels. I was only saying the day before that I reckoned I was going to be saying the whole way round the world with him. It’s not only your dreams you take people with you. There is so much work and commitment that goes into it not just by him, but by his family, his friends, his team, his sponsors. Jérémie is going to be feeling absolutely gutted for all of them. It’s a tough race this one, the same with Sam Davies and all the guys who’ve had to retire like Kito (de Pavant), it’s a very sad day when it happens. 

I’d say I’m in the Doldrums, I currently have about four knots of wind and I think out here to the west is a good place to be. But to some extent it’s a bit of a lottery because it can change so quickly. The priority now is to try and get south, clear of the Doldrums and into the tradewinds. 

I didn’t lose the hydrogenerator, it started vibrating, getting worse and worse and it ripped off the back did a cartwheel and smashed the tie bar, but I was there and managed to get to it quick enough to save the hydrogenerator. I need to repair the bracket and I’ll have it back on the boat in the next couple of days.

Armel Le Cléac"h (Banque Populaire):
No more swimsuit for me, but a lot of rain and clouds instead. Big thunderstorms, too, and strong winds. I’m manoeuvering a lot. It’s hard to see colours, because it’s so dark and cloudy.
The satellite data said the sea was going to be calmer but it’s not, it’s rougher than expected.
The heavy rain is a good opportunity to take a shower! I was manoeuvering outside so I took one.

Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives-coeur):
It’s hot out there today, it’s a nice day.
I’m in trade winds, 12 knots of east wind, I’m sailing south with my gennaker.
I did some work on the boat, I climbed 3 metres high on the mast. I’m taking advantage of the conditions to do that.
Every day I have to check and fix things. Today, there was a little rubber band that needed to be replaced, it was no big deal but I didn’t want it to stay on my to-do list for too long.
I use binoculars to check the top of the mast or other parts of the boat, especially after the tough winds Sam and I faced when she dismasted.

Jean Le Cam (Synerciel):
Hi all ! Everything’s fine for me on board, I cleaned up the boat a little bit, the conditions make it possible. I did my laundry too. I had never slept as well as last night.
I have bad memories of the doldrums, especially on multihull. But I think it’s less dangerous on a monohull.
I’m quite happy with how my boat is doing. I’m glad to still be on the race, especially when I see what’s going on for other skippers.
I’m in the middle of an international group with a Swiss and a Brit. Go France!!!
I don’t want to say too much about that strategy we worked on, the three of us (he laughs). Now, let’s be frank, one thing is for sure, I don’t have any strategy going on with Mike Golding, we can’t agree on anything (he laughs). With the two guys I have around me, I know I’ll never get bored!  I’m thinking of a Swiss-French alliance against England.

Mike Golding (Gamesa):
When asked about that Swiss-French alliance with Dominique Wavre and Jean Le Cam against the English: "Good luck with that! The night was fine, I was having a nice sleep actually.
We are 100% focused on the Doldrums strategy because it is all about where we are going to enter the Doldrums and each evolution of the model gives a slightly different outcome, we only have a limited amount of time, very limited now, to adjust our course to hit in the optimum place. Right now the Doldrums are front and centre of our minds and not the boats around us.
Well, we were separated in a weather system, compressed in a  weather system, it can happen. The reality is that it is possible (editors note: to close te gap), but it is not looking great for the Doldrums, but we'll see. We have one file one day, each evolution of the file shows a different outcome. Sometimes I run their routes and we make a little catch up and other times we don't. It is changing because the doldrums are so dynamic, it changes literally from hour to hour."

François Gabart (MACIF):
Hey, I’m doing great! I’m right next to Jean-Pierre Dick, we had a bath on our respective decks (he laughs), and now there’s no wind. There were beautiful colours around me yesterday. Blue sky that turned black, but I couldn’t take pictures because of the rain. And then when the rain stopped it was all gone. But I’ll remember that forever.
I’m keeping an eye on Jean-Pierre, I think we’re both trying to find an opportunity to sail away. There is no real strategy involved at this point, we just need to go south and hopefully, we'll have some luck. We know the doldrums will help some boats go up in the rankings and others will go down.

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