Breaking records and breaking keels – Owen Clarke Vendée Globe round-up

Last week Mike Golding and Dominique Wavre both finished their Vendée Globes in sixth and seventh places respectively. These two remarkable skippers of the Owen Clarke designed Open 60s Gamesa and Mirabaud have wrapped up a record three Vendée Globe finishes each, the only two skippers to have ever done so. Mike also retains his WSSRC world record Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn, set in 2004 on Ecover 2.

Having started this race with the intention of bettering his third place in the 2004 event, on arriving in Les Sables on Thursday evening Mike described his third Vendée Globe as: “a very hard race, I am sure Jean [Le Cam] will have told you. I think we sailed a different race to the leaders. Our race was a tough race, no question. I think it is the hardest, it is the third Vendée Globe I have finished, but the hardest Vendée I have finished."

As well as the satisfaction of finishing his third Vendée Globe, Dominique Wavre’s Mirabaud (ex Temenos) now picks up the reins from Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher as the most travelled Owen Clarke 60 and possibly the ‘most travelled’ Open 60 of all time?  Along with ten Trans-Atlantic races and deliveries this Southern Ocean Marine  built yacht has racked up an incredible two Vendée Globes and two Barcelona World Races, which included a podium finish in the first BWR.

At the dock and then in the press conference Dominique described “sharing the love” and how “nothing was scripted”, perfectly describing the passion and risk of the race: “I do the Vendée Globe to share it. We are here to communicate. I am thanking my sponsors, my team, and so to spend some time doing the videos, to thinking about the answers to some of the questions. It is a privilege to be out there and to be able to share it. When you start the Vendée Globe you can be first, you can be last or you can abandon. Nothing is pre-determined. As we have seen we have had abandons through bad luck or bad preparation. Nothing about the results are scripted before the start. It was difficult to say who would win, Riou or Dick? Logically they are both good boats with skippers with a lot of experience. One broke and one lost its keel, and you cannot legislate for either happening.”

Which leads unhappily into the story of Acciona 100% Eco-Powered which with just over a thousand miles to go to the finish, capsized, having lost its keel. There is still no news as to the reasons for this shocking event, except that project team have already salvaged the yacht and over the weekend she was being towed at seven knots towards Ponta Delgada, Portugal.  Owen Clarke Design will be working with the project team, the engineers and other parties over the coming weeks to ascertain the cause of the failure that has blighted what has otherwise been another ground breaking and successful project.

Merfyn Owen, lead designer for the project commented: “Bubi had been doing a great job and we’re proud of what he and the team achieved, showing good speed in recovering miles to find himself among the Le Cam, Golding, Wavre group after several climbs up the mast and the loss of part of his port rudder in a collision at the half way stage.  The team can be proud too that Acciona 100% Eco-Powered crossed its outgoing track in the South Atlantic and so did circumnavigate the globe  with no admissions, making her the first eco efficient racing yacht to circle the globe. This revolutionary design promises to change the way that Open 60’s race around the world having done so with zero power generation issues, in a race which saw a number of high profile competitors’ performance severely compromised with battery charging problems at various stages.”

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