Musto speaks with Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac’h
We caught up with Musto Ambassador Armel Le Cléac’h whilst he navigates the tricky North Atlantic Ocean enroute to the Vendée Globe finish line. Read his thoughts and opinions on the final stage of the race and the tensely fought dual between him and Britain, Alex Thomson.
Please could you describe for us the current conditions
I am currently between the Canaries and the Cape Verde Islands, heading towards the Azores. I am unfortunately in a decreasing breeze at the moment, in a complicated weather pattern. The North Atlantic is unusually unstable at the moment. It’s a really gripping race so far and everyone is glued to the online tracker and watching the race.
It’s a really gripping race so far and everyone is glued to the online tracker and watching the race. What is it like dealing with the pressure of the race and also trying to get the boat back safely?
It’s not easy right now, especially as Alex Thomson is putting a lot of pressure on me, but I have the experience from two Vendée Globe campaigns that I can utilise. I am confident I can control the race despite being tired. The pressure is on but I am focused to get to the finish line in first place.
What is the highest speed you have achieved on Banque Populaire VIII with the hydro foils?
I am easily maintaining 21-22 knots averages over an hour. Top speeds have been achieved in the Southern Ocean, and the Bay of Biscay where it peaked at 33 knots. We have been lucky as it has been perfect conditions for foiling, and helped boost the speed difference between the new and old generation boats.
You have spent almost 3 months alone at sea on your own. What are the things you are looking forward to most when you return back to dry land?
My wife and kids! The Vendee Globe is so intense, so I’m looking forward to return to a normal lifestyle and routine, instead of looking at the weather and my performance. My life for the last 3 months has revolved around the race.
Most importantly… what day do you expect to cross the finish line?
The morning of Thursday 19th – but it all depends on the weather!
Since we spoke with Armel the light winds between the Cape Verde Islands and the Canaries have caused a struggle climbing back up the North Atlantic. Alex Thomson has managed to regain ground on the race leader, Armel le Cléac’h during the night, with the British skipper now approximately 150 miles from the Frenchman.