Thursday, December 11, 2008

Loïck's devastating dismast

Loïck Peyron, who's held a dazzling lead for much of the Vendée Globe to date, dismasted in the Southern Ocean yesterday. Video here.

In a message of support to his competitor, compatriot, some time co-skipper (together, Peyron and Jean Pierre Dick won the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre) and friend, the current leader JP writes:

"Can someone explain how in one second the work of so many people can be wiped out? Can anyone explain how you get this far in the Indian Ocean, having achieved so much. I can't accept this rule of sailing, where you can go from a proud racer to a floating wreck in a few seconds....

"Bravo Loïck who will yet challenge and demonstrate his immense talent. Yes, you are undoubtedly our Zizou to us and without the head shots! We love you. Full of courage to bring the baby home."

Poignant words from JP - no stranger to the shock of dismasting alone during a solo race in a remote part of the ocean, but finding a way to jury rig and bring the baby home - long after everyone else crossed the finish.

Michel Desjoyeaux echos: "Hats off, Loïck."

All the Vendée skippers feel genuine heartbreak for Peyron, who they've raced hard keep up with or keep off their back since November 9.

To date, this race has been the closest ever.

Mich Des - dubbed the "Bruce Springsteen of sailing" by race organizers - is up in third place today! This stunning performance after he was forced to return to the start for repairs in the first couple of days. He's come from behind and is just 30 some out nautical miles behind the leader. Unbelievable. And Bernard Stamm, another favorite who also had to return to the start early on, and today, is still far behind the lead pack, quietly continues his steady ascent up the ranking chart. Keep an eye on him. Watch his 24 hour speed from day to day. Keep an eye on the competitor in front of him. That is his competition right now. Just the one in front. Not the leader. Not yet. 500 miles to go, and then it's a new strategy.

Steve White. You rock.

And to all the skippers in the Vendée Globe. You are amazing, every one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008 Vendée Globe

They're off... and running. The 2008 Vendée Globe officially got underway 10 days ago at Les Sable-d'Olonne.  Plenty of the old familiar faces are out there along with several Vendée Globe virgins.

By the end of the first week, the grueling solo, non-stop, round-the-world race, dubbed by organizers as the "Everest of the seas," had already bounced four skippers out of action.

As of today, nine boats are duking it out in the Doldrums, all within 100 miles of the lead.

Catch all the action.

Vendee Globe Official Web Site  Check it out. Many great improvements here for this race.

Quick link to current rankings. 

And The Field (alphabetical): Skipper - Boat/Boat Designer

Unai Basurko - Pakea Bizkaia  Murray-Burns & Dovell
Yannick Bestaven - Finot-Conq OUT
Jérémie Beyou - Delta Dore Farr Yacht Design
Arnaud Boissières - Akena Vérandas Finot Conq
Dee Caffari - Aviva Owen Clarke Design
Samantha Davies - Roxy Finot Conq
Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty - Maissoneuve Artech Design team
Michel Desjoyeaux - Foncia Farr Yacht Design
Kito de Pavant - Groupe Bel VPLP-Verdier OUT
Jean-Pierre Dick - Paprec-Virbac 2 Farr Yacht Design
Raphaël Dinelli - Fondation Océan Vital Nandor Fa
Yann Eliès - Generali Finot-Conq
Mike Golding - Ecover Owen Clarke Design
Marc Guillemot - Safran VPLP-Verdier
Derek Hatfield - Algimouss Spirit of Canada Owen Clarke Design
Sébastien Josse - BT Farr Yacht Design
Roland Jourdain - Veolia Environnement Marc Lombard
Jean Le Cam - VM Matériaux Marc Lombard
Armel Le Cléac´h - Brit Air Finot-Conq
Jonny Malbon - Artemis Rogers Yacht Design
Loïck Peyron - Gitana Eighty Farr Yacht Design
Vincent Riou - PRB Farr Yacht Design
Norbert Sedlacek - Nauticsport-Kapsch Joubert-Nivelt-Sedlacek
Bernard Stamm - Cheminées Poujoulat Farr Yacht Design
Marc Thiercelin - DCNS Finot-Conq OUT
Brian Thompson - Bahrain Team Pindar  Juan Kouyoumdjian
Alex Thomson - Hugo Boss Finot-Conq OUT
Dominique Wavre - Temenos II Owen Clarke Design
Steve White - Toe in the Water Finot Conq
Rich Wilson - Great American III Nivelt

Kendal Mountain Festival Starts Tomorrow - "Must See" Nights Ahead

David Breashears
Andy Cave
Kenton Cool
Steph Davis
Leo Houlding
Reinhold Messner
Doug Scott

These are a few of the many names on deck who will speak at this year's Kendal Mountain Festival, a premier celebration of mountain film, literature and photography. The festival kicks off tomorrow and runs through November 23, and looks bigger and better than ever.

David Breashears starts things off with a presentation about his 1996 experience making the IMAX movie, Everest. Breashears and his crew were on the mountain during one of the most devastating seasons on Everest, and his lecture will feature many never before seen photos.

Those familiar with Russell Brice, one of the better known commercial outfitters on Everest each year and a key figure in Discovery's "Beyond the Limit" program can attend his show Friday night to learn about the trials and tribulations of "Everest season."

A sold-out crowd on Saturday evening will listen to Reinhold Messner--who commemorates 30 years since his historic, oxygenless ascent of Everest--discuss life and "Pushing Limits." Sunday afternoon, Messner gathers with Doug Scott, Russell Brice and Kenton Cool to chew the fat with Stephen Venables about Everest climbing's past, present and future. (Tickets are still available for this event.)

Saturday brings Andy Kirkpatrick's "Brokeback Mountaineering." "He looks back at ten years worth of partners and wonders why no one will climb with him anymore? Intimate tales of man love for the mountains - with and without protection."

Oh, and there are plenty of movies, too.

Word is that Anthony Geffen will be previewing his film, "The Wildest Dream," which documented Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding's May 2007 Everest Expedition as they recreated the footsteps of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. The full film is set to premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.