Vendee Globe Finish.

Sebastien Destremau - Route change - Skirting coast of Erromango

It looks like Sebastien was heading towards Port Villa, then suddenly turned South. Did he have to get within radio range to find out what the situation was regarding Covid and visitors? His route Southwards took him towards the North West corner of the island of Erromango.
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Erromango has two airstrips. These are at Cooks Bay on the East Coast and Dillon's Bay on the West Coast. Europeans brought diseases for which the population had no immunity. Some missionaries were eaten by cannibals in 1839. The island was a source of sandalwood which was depleted by 1865. Much more here: Erromango

At one point I thought he was sailing away but since then he sailed down the West coast to Dillon's Bay, where he slowed right down to take in the views and maybe record a video.
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Two photos of Dillon's Bay. I wonder if there is any volcanic activity at the moment.
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Lock down at Noumea is not due to be lifted until around Tuesday next week, at the earliest. Perhaps he will sail West to the islands of New Caledonia and record the experience without landing anywhere else first.
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The following tracker map is out of date and shows arrival near the island. It usefully shows the relatively low number of vessels. At least vessels with AIS. There may be other small craft about without AIS.
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It seems to me that whatever the situation, he will at least try to sail by the islands and record his experience before either getting clearance to enter Nomea next week or heading on to his next destination, which should be France, though I suspect he may have a small list of en route options.

I wouldn't go near countries in the Indian Ocean as it's a hot bed of Covid at the moment.
 
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Sebastien Destremau - Grand tour ;-p

Yesterday Sebastien sailed close to the island of Erromango before heading towards the islands of New Caledonia. Here he is sailing to the South of the island of Mare. Apparently it is a raised coral atoll.

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Lets zoom in a bit:
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Maré Island
Travel to New Caledonia - Maré
Mare Island - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

One obvious thing to do, if he is waiting to find out if Noumea will be open to him next week, is to sail past Lifou, Ouvea and the Atrolabe Reef, before sailing down the other side of Grande Terre to Noumea. It depends on weather, time, safety, any advisories etc. Perhaps the reef is best seen from the air though.

New Caledonia Protects Remote Reefs, Helping Thousands of Species
 
Sebastien Destremau - Arrival at Noumea

Yesterday we watched Sebastian sailing to the South of the island of Mare. He didn't turn North immediately after Mare but continued west to Grande Terre and up to Noumea. We know Noumea was in lock down, so I'm guessing the French authorities have agreed to his arrival provided that he has been in quarantine on his boat and undertakes a test? It was while waiting, quarantined on a pier in New Zealand that Sebastien started sending updates, so we can but hope he does an update soon.
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There's more to Noumea than a little name on a map.
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Yes, it looks like he is moored away from anyone else, for quarantine and testing before being permitted to moor up in the marina. His justification may be reportage, his specialism nautical history. Perhaps he can fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge of the situation on the ground, how Covid is affecting the islands in terms of health, economy and isolation.
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Are these coral reefs that Sebastien has had to sail through? Yes they are. In fact "New Caledonia is surrounded by the largest lagoon in the world" The coral reefs
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Wow!
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Vendee Globe - Statistics
Sebastien Destremau - New Caledonia Covid situation


While looking for any updates on Sebastien Destremau I found this article on Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Vendée Globe by the numbers >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Sebastien Destremau's yacht, Merci, is still in quarantine as far as I can tell. March 22nd was due to be the last day of the two week lock down. However, flights are being banned until 31st March due to the ongoing situation and limited hotel space for quarantine. Sebastien has obviously brought his own quarantine accommodation. As regards the rules on vessels:

Commercial and leisure vessels​

The entry of ocean liners, fishing boats and leisure boats arriving from abroad into New Caledonian waters remains prohibited. This does not apply to container ships, ore and oil tankers, or ships already in New Caledonian waters that depart and return to the territory, so long as they do not stop in any other port of call outside of New Caledonia and the crew has no contact with individuals on board another ship coming from international waters.

It may be that Sebastien has special arrangements, as he is nominally not a tourist ie he didn't set out to go on a yachting vacation. This may come under profession ie journalism.
New Caledonia: Coronavirus (Covid-19) safe travel destination ✓
 
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Sebastien Destremau - Short video; Ari Huusela update

The video appears to be of Sebastien sailing past an island, presumably some days ago, with some verse and music. It's only a few minutes but you can enjoy the views.


Ari posted a new entry on his website on 21st March. This is about the influences, partners and sponsorship that made his race possible.

TOGETHER WITH SPONSORS AND PARTNERS​

TOGETHER WITH SPONSORS AND PARTNERS | Ari Huusela Ocean Racing
 
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Sebastien Destremau - Update of sorts from the quarantine mooring

Sebastien published a pictorial news update 11th April. He is still moored in quarantine by the look of it. His yacht, Merci, attracted the attention of thirty or so junior sailors from Noumea. No update however on his case for being there. It's a mystery.

"VERY GOOD …
In Les News
Visit of around thirty real little sailors in short breeches from the SRC Nouméa Sailing .. too nice to see them discover the Vendée Globe with so much enthusiasm."

Trop bien ... - Merci avec Sébastien Destremau

Noumea has strict biosecurity measures in place which have to be followed and now of course quarantine.

New Caledonia | Noonsite

Coronavirus New Caledonia​


Last updated: 12 April, 2021
The borders to New Caledonia remain closed. The New Caledonian government has made this decision to ensure the safety of its local population.
► All flights to New Caledonia are suspended until 31st October 2021, with the exception of repatriation and freight flights, subject to authorisation.
► All international travellers are advised to postpone their travel.
► The entry of ocean liners, fishing boats and leisure boats arriving from abroad into New Caledonian waters remains prohibited (except French government or military vessels).
Of the 29,182 tests conducted since 18 March, 2020, New Caledonia has reported 121 cases of COVID-19.
63 cases reported since 7 March, 2021, and there have been zero deaths.


New Caledonia: Coronavirus (Covid-19) safe travel destination ✓
 
I was wondering what had happened to him.

Some interesting statistics, given that New Caledonia has had no Covid deaths:

10% over 65, so quite a large proportion of the at-risk age group while major infectious diseases are bacterial diarrhoea and malaria. I wonder whether either of these are a natural defence against Covid. I confess to expecting that the population would have been prone to outside diseases much along the lines of Spaniards/smallpox/Incas.

 
I was wondering what had happened to him.

Some interesting statistics, given that New Caledonia has had no Covid deaths:

10% over 65, so quite a large proportion of the at-risk age group while major infectious diseases are bacterial diarrhoea and malaria. I wonder whether either of these are a natural defence against Covid. I confess to expecting that the population would have been prone to outside diseases much along the lines of Spaniards/smallpox/Incas.

In fact I believe that was indeed the case. Here is a reference: "Europeans brought new diseases such as smallpox and measles, which caused the deaths of many natives.[16] The Kanak population declined from around 60,000 in 1878 to 27,100 in 1921, and their numbers did not increase again until the 1930s.[20]"

Westerners were at risk of disappearing, through widespread cannibalism.

New Caledonia - Wikipedia
 
I thought this was more likely to find the right mark here, rather than in the Dead Pool thread.

RIP Peter Warner: fair winds and a following sea. It seems to have occurred while he was going what he loved; I just hope it was quick.

'Sailing legend and three-time Sydney to Hobart champion Peter Warner has died aged 90 after a boat he was on capsized.

'The death of Mr Warner, who was also known for rescuing a group of marooned Tongan teens from a desert island in 1966, was confirmed by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

'NSW Police said the incident that took Mr Warner’s life happened on Tuesday morning at Lighthouse Parade in East Ballina on the NSW north coast.

'Emergency services were called there at 8.45am by bystanders who said two people were in the water after a boat capsized while crossing the Ballina Bar.

'A 17-year-old boy dragged Mr Warner to shore, and a member of the public tried performing CPR, but the man’s life could not be saved.

'The boy was uninjured, police said. A crime scene was established, and police said they would investigate the circumstances around the death before preparing a report for the coroner.

'Mr Warner devoted his life to sailing after taking to sea as a teenager. As a skipper aboard the yacht Astor, he won the Sydney to Hobart race in 1961, 1963 and 1964.

'Two years after the final win, he encountered the group of shipwrecked Tongan boys and performed the rescue that would become one of his life’s enduring legacies.

'Passing by the tiny island of Ata at the southern end of the archipelago that makes up the nation of Tonga, Mr Warner noticed through his binoculars a burnt patch.

“In the tropics it’s unusual for fires to start spontaneously,” he told The Guardian last year.

'When he went in for a closer look, a boy leapt into the water and came towards him, and more followed. It turned out the six boys had been stuck on the island for 15 months.'


 
I thought this was more likely to find the right mark here, rather than in the Dead Pool thread.

RIP Peter Warner: fair winds and a following sea. It seems to have occurred while he was going what he loved; I just hope it was quick.

'Sailing legend and three-time Sydney to Hobart champion Peter Warner has died aged 90 after a boat he was on capsized.
Thanks for posting that. What an interesting guy he was.
 
I thought this was more likely to find the right mark here, rather than in the Dead Pool thread.

RIP Peter Warner: fair winds and a following sea. It seems to have occurred while he was going what he loved; I just hope it was quick.

'Sailing legend and three-time Sydney to Hobart champion Peter Warner has died aged 90 after a boat he was on capsized.

'The death of Mr Warner, who was also known for rescuing a group of marooned Tongan teens from a desert island in 1966, was confirmed by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

'NSW Police said the incident that took Mr Warner’s life happened on Tuesday morning at Lighthouse Parade in East Ballina on the NSW north coast.

'Emergency services were called there at 8.45am by bystanders who said two people were in the water after a boat capsized while crossing the Ballina Bar.

'A 17-year-old boy dragged Mr Warner to shore, and a member of the public tried performing CPR, but the man’s life could not be saved.

'The boy was uninjured, police said. A crime scene was established, and police said they would investigate the circumstances around the death before preparing a report for the coroner.

'Mr Warner devoted his life to sailing after taking to sea as a teenager. As a skipper aboard the yacht Astor, he won the Sydney to Hobart race in 1961, 1963 and 1964.

'Two years after the final win, he encountered the group of shipwrecked Tongan boys and performed the rescue that would become one of his life’s enduring legacies.

'Passing by the tiny island of Ata at the southern end of the archipelago that makes up the nation of Tonga, Mr Warner noticed through his binoculars a burnt patch.

“In the tropics it’s unusual for fires to start spontaneously,” he told The Guardian last year.

'When he went in for a closer look, a boy leapt into the water and came towards him, and more followed. It turned out the six boys had been stuck on the island for 15 months.'


RIP Mr Warner. Fair clouds.
 
Sebastien Destremau - Movements! Investigation and a French news article.

As he is no longer under contract to the Vendee Globe to produce regular updates, any updates are likely to be infrequent and sparse. Whenever I have looked at his official tracker it showed the same location, which I presumed to be the quarantine area.

If his Covid quarantine period passed why was he still there? If they were not allowing him on to the island after two weeks, why wasn't he sailing away? Perhaps he was being ferried to land via biosecurity measures?

I took another look this evening and the tracker shows, MOVEMENT!

You may be wondering why the arrow is pointing back at the direction he came from.
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The bigger picture shows that he has not left the island at all but has simply taken the boat out and is heading back. Does he have anyone aboard? A delegate or a yacht specialist? Maybe a Vendee Globe enthusiast?
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Marine Traffic has an out of range entry and shows his last position at the quarantine mooring on 25th April.
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Vessel Finder eventually caught up with his location and this is very informative! It is now obvious that Sebastien was eventually cleared to a visitor's berth and given permission to enter Noumea but when?
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According to this French article I found, Sebastien moored up on Tuesday 20th April, after passing his PCR test. This seems to be the overseas service of Radio and TV France.

Merci drops anchor in Nouméa

After his retirement from the Vendée Globe, the skipper Sébastien Destremau decided to drop anchor for a while in Nouméa. He arrived on Friday and was able to land yesterday, after the results of his PCR test.
Cédrick Wakahugnème and Charlotte Mannevy • Posted on March 21, 2021 at 12:59 p.m.,


A flag in hand, bearing the name of his boat, Thank you , Sébastien Destremau has a smile. The French Vendée Globe skipper can indeed rejoice. He who had docked on the Caledonian coast on Friday was awaiting the results of his PCR test before being able to set foot on land and find his partner recently installed in the territory. The green light was given to him yesterday at the end of the afternoon.

Fortnight at sea​

Sébastien Destremau left New Zealand on March 5, in fact preferred to “spend my fortnight at sea, rather than rushing here and staying in a hotel. “ A choice that allowed him to dawdle at sea, discovering neighboring Vanuatu and in particular the Matthews and Hunter Islands , from where he sent a video to Internet users who follow him on social networks.

Sébastien Detremau, who was taking part in the Vendée Globe for the second time, had to retire on January 16 due to major technical problems. He then headed for New Zealand to repair his boat. But finally, he decides not to take the road to Les Sables d'Olonne , the sea conditions in this season not being favorable for a return to the Northern hemisphere, and to head for Nouméa, where his partner has been practicing for six months as a nurse.

After a rest period to recharge the batteries, Sébastien Destremau is already full of ideas. The French skipper wishes to tell the story of the Vendée des Globes in Caledonian schools.

« Merci » jette l'ancre à Nouméa - Nouvelle-Calédonie la 1ère

:) The article above includes two videos, the first being the poetry piece while looking at an island. The second is a short interview, in French. I don't know how to link it as the video is for embedding so just view it on the article linked above. However the video is dated 26th April and perhaps is the clue to the purpose of he short sailing, i.e. for the purposes of the interview.

ETA - There was an article on the 16th April which helps explain Sebastien's intentions:

< All the Vendée Globe sailors have returned to port, except one. Sébastien Destremau, skipper of “Merci”, is determined to resume his round-the-world trip… but at his own pace. After a long stopover in New Zealand, where he was able to repair his 18-meter vessel , the 56-year-old sailor set sail for Nouméa, awaiting more favorable sea conditions. >

< “ The weather is getting very bad at Cape Horn in mid-March. So it's not reasonable to go and spend it alone at that time. I have a few months ahead of me to go crisscross New Caledonia and perhaps the surrounding islands ”, launches the navigator. >

L’esprit du Vendée globe soufflera bientôt sur la Nouvelle-Calédonie - Nouvelle-Calédonie la 1ère

Here is a short video posted four weeks ago by Sailing Luce who had an opportunity to sail aboard Merci when Sebastien was in New Zealand.

 
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So - all this time we've been worrying about him and it turns out that he's just wobbled off to cherché la femme.
 
Vendee Globe - Pip Hare - Seawolves interview; New IMOCA rules; On course for 2024 - VG article.

1. Pip Hare
Interview by Florian of Seawolves last month, 2nd April



2. New IMOCA rules in place through to 2025 - This was published last week.

The updated IMOCA rule seeks to limit foil size and limit environmental impact and to contain costs. The new rules which are in force until 2025 were unveiled by the IMOCA Class last week. They are interpreted by skippers Thomas Ruyant and Romain Attanasio.

The new four year cycle means new ambitions, objectives and with that, a new iteration of the IMOCA rules which govern the development ocean racing class for which the pinnacle solo event is the Vendée Globe.

The last race was completed seven weeks ago. Already skippers and their teams are busy with the next 2024 edition in their sights. Before the next generation of new boats can be formulated the measurement rule has to be updated. This was undertaken at the annual meeting to decide the changes for 2021 and 2025.

What is the objective of the rules?
"To have fair rules which leave room for innovation but which preserve the existing fleet as well as maintaining budget control," explains Antoine Mermod. The Class president also says the class is about maximising safety and the importance of limiting the environmental impact. He says it is about “technical evolution, not a revolution.

“These are not major changes but they allow certain aspects to be fixed so as not to allow evolution to run away unchecked”, confirms Thomas Ruyant who was 6th in the Vendée Globe.

Foils are an increasingly important contributor to all round performance and they have been getting bigger and more powerful but obviously there have to be limits to keep costs realistic and consolidate the knowledge about the foil engineering. A size limit has been set, even if their outline and profile shapes and configuration can always be decided by the teams.
“The larger the foils, the more surface there is and therefore the more power there is,” summarizes Ruyant,

“ This rule now keeps foils which are not too powerful which therefore are not difficult, dangerous or hard to manage solo”. Romain Attanasio, 14th in the Vendée Globe, adds: “It was important to decide on this matter because some options used were sometimes too extreme. Now, four boats are over the limit since they are limited to 8m2, the size of the foils of MACSF and APIVIA ".

On-board electronics must now comply with an approved list and the number of sails is limited. And more elements are becoming one-design, following after one design mast, keel rams it is now the turn of the boom, standing rigging and satellite communication system to be standardized.

"These are ways to contain costs at the design stages," says Thomas Ruyant. “But we must be careful not to limit everything, so the rule remains open so as not to have one-design boats ”.

"What is tricky is to make sure that the limitations do not actually promote more detailed R&D looking for other avenues which can ultimately lead to increased costs," Romain Attanasio analyzes. “ Sails for example, teams who have the money can design and build more sails leave them in the container and just make their choice at the last moment before the start depending on the weather so it is not perfect but a compromise had to be found ”.

Interviewed by Tip and Shaft, his partner, Sam Davies assures us that "We could have gone further in limiting costs" notably with "a boom and one-design rudders"

Safety, environmental impact: the progress of the Class

Steps have also been taken to improve safety and security. The rules to foster unsinkability and the impact resistance of the hull, at the level of the keel and the foils, have been further improved.

“After each difficult experience, like that of Kevin (Escoffier) or the one that almost happened to me in 2016 (a shock with a UFO off New Zealand, there is a real sharing of experience between the teams, adds Thomas Ruyant, “ This sharing of information and consolidating ideas is particularly valuable for collaborating together and making the boats even more reliable. "

There is a real focus now on the need to reduce the environmental impact of the boats and the races. In this context, the use of bio-sourced materials for the non-structural elements of the boat is favoured, as are sails made of alternative materials or entirely recyclable - which was the case on the last race with Pip Hare and Ari Huusela. These will become increasingly mandatory as will be using sustainable energy sources.

"These are small steps in the right direction,” assures Romain Attanasio, who says solar panels have become more and more efficient over time.

In addition, the teams are all signatories of the "IMOCA Teams Charter" which aims to ensure that each team adopts practices that are more respectful of the environment. "It is also at this small level that initiatives can be put in place," says Ruyant “It involves thinking about how a project works, how to involve the team and partners to the maximum "

So the general trend is to be more secure, more" green "and control spiralling spending, the new IMOCA rule is about meeting the challenges of these times.

Ruyant adds “The rule does not block everything, it remains open and we will therefore continue to promote semi-flying boats, exciting to look at and which will make people dream. "
News - All We Need to Know About the New IMOCA Rules - Vendée Globe - En

3. As the following Vendee Globe article is going to be updated as we count down to the 2024-2025 competition, I'll simply include the introduction paragraph and a link to the official article. You can always bookmark it and check for any updates as the months and years roll by.

01 May 2021

Article
A starter for 10…..they want to do the Vendée Globe 2024
The huge wave of enthusiasm for the Vendée Globe during and after the last edition means there are more and more solo skippers intimating their plans to do the next race which will start November 2024.
(This article will be updated as more skippers emerge with solid projects).

News - On Course for 2024 - Vendée Globe - En

4. Nothing new on Sebastien Destremau but I expect he will be keeping busy, especially since we now know that his partner is a nurse on the island. That will probably have made a difference to his application to land after quarantine. I'm not going searching for French articles right now but I still intend checking for signs of his journey starting again, eventually. It could be weeks or months.
 
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