THE FLEET WON’T PASS NORTH OF ICELAND
In the face of a forecast for deep low pressure system set to bring strong gales in the area of Iceland, the organisation of the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne race this morning took the decision to change the scheduled course to eliminate the passage round to the north of Iceland for the 24 solo skippers racing. The altered course is maintained at the original distance of 3300 nautical miles.
Vendée Globe Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne Race Director Francis Le Goff explained: “ We set a gate to the east of Iceland so that we could guarantee a good, sporting course. It has become obvious since last night and especially this morning that the weather models show the weather getting worse with a depression which is very active generally over Iceland with winds in the NE of Iceland of 40 knots on the files which usually means more, certainly 50kts in the gusts and in a confined strait which is not like the open sea for example, with a lee shore (to the south) so it would be dangerous to take the boats through there. So we have maintained the course distance and moved the mark in the Atlantic and so likely still finishing back into Les Sables d’Olonne after 12 days.”
Alain Leboeuf, President of SAEM and the Department of Vendée said, “On this second edition of the Vendée Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne, we hoped that the skippers would be able to circumnavigate Iceland for the first time, crossing the Arctic Circle. We knew that this innovative and extreme course was subject to change until the last moment, depending on the weather conditions around Iceland. After an in-depth study of the situation with the race direction and our expert meteorologist, we have decided on this modification of the course. It is a prudent choice. The primary duty of any organizer is to ensure the safety of sailors. As I said before we will not make them take excessive risks”.