François Gabart (MACIF) is expected to cross the Vendée Globe finish line between 10 AM and 1 PM Sunday, 2 to 5 hours before Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire). The tide will allow the boats to enter the canal to Port Olona, Les Sables d’Olonne after 2 PM.
If Gabart can safely navigate this final furlong without incident he will be crowned the winner of the 7th edition of the Vendée Globe. Conditions for the final stage in the Bay of Biscay are 3 metre waves and 20-30 knot winds, with gusts up to 40 knots. It is an angry, difficult, inclement welcome back after a solitary endurance adventure of nearly 80 days.
Click image for a larger image
If he crosses the line first, as expected, Gabart will be the youngest winner in the history of the race.
At 1830 GMT, Team Hugo Boss sent this report from Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss)
“Last night I saw some pretty strong winds, up to 30kts, so I am very glad I came down to stay close to JP. I know I would have been feeling very nervous indeed in these conditions with no keel!
It seems that JP has got the boat into a very stable sailing mode and is very comfortable with how the boat handles in these conditions. The weather will get better today for us both with the winds falling and his forecast for heading to the Portuguese Coast looks good.
Earlier today he called me on the phone to thank me for staying with him overnight and to also say he feels fully confident in his ability to now sail towards Portugal. With the good forecast and improving conditions, I am happy the big danger has passed and I have gybed and am heading back to Les Sables.”
26 January 2013 20:40