Miranda Merron 22nd in the Vendée Globe

Capture-decran-2021-02-17-a-23.31.33Miranda Merron finishes 22nd in the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe! She crossed the line on Wednesday evening at 23h16m51s. She completed the course in 101 days, 8 hours, 56 minutes and 51 seconds!

In finishing this Vendée Globe Miranda becomes only the 9th ever female to complete this legendary course and the 5th British woman.

She will complete her voyage by bringing her trusty IMOCA60 Campagne de France down the famous Les Sables d’Olonne channel at 08h00 local time (07h00 UK).

To watch her arrival visit: www.vendeeglobe.com

Miranda expected around 11pm tonight! the channel tomorrow morning!

1e8d2250-734a-4f03-9221-efc9b154da98-600x450Miranda Merron is expected to take 22nd place in the 2o21 Vendée Globe this evening around midnight. The tide will no longer be favorable and the sailor from Campagne de France will spend a final night at sea with Halvard Mabire and fellow crew members, including the sailor Louis Duc. She will enter tomorrow morning at 8 am and descend the channel to reach the competing pontoon and follow the traditional arrival protocol. To be followed live on the race website and on the dedicated Facebook page. https://www.vendeeglobe.org

The last night at sea

Miranda-nuit-BD-copie-2This morning marks the last sunrise at sea for Miranda Merron and her IMOCA60 Campagne de France. The British-Norman sailor is about to complete her Vendée Globe, solo, non-stop, round-the-world, without assistance. Having now spent 101 days at sea, alone onboard her trusty vessel, she will put an end to the greatest feat of her long career which has ready seen her collect a huge number of miles and the experience that’s allowed her to complete her circumnavigation.

This evening she will become the 9th woman and 5th Englishwoman to compete the Everest of the Seas. A monumental feat championed by one of Miranda’s biggest inspirations, Tracy Edwards MBE, Skipper of the maxi catamaran, Royal Sun Alliance which Miranda, in the company of a certain Samantha Davies, had attempted the Trophy Jules Verne record.

“What you have achieved is absolutely spectacular. I know what you had to go through to accomplish this. You are the 9th woman to achieve this feat. We are all very proud of you…”

Less than 170 miles from the finish line at the first check-in in the morning, Miranda had a night of extreme caution, dodging the many cargo vessels and large fishing fleet traditionally found in the Bay of Biscay. She slowed down the high pace that had been hers all day yesterday and pushed back the time for rest. As with the 21 riders who came before her, Miranda will submit this evening to the demands of the tide which, after 8 pm, will prevent her from descending the Channel of Sables and reaching the arrival pontoon. If so, she will spend her last night on board with Halvard Mabire, the man who made this incredible story possible, and then reach the arrival pontoon tomorrow morning. We will know more at the midday rankings.

Word of the night:

“I am terrified and stressed about going through the same mishap as Boris (Herrmann) who crashed into a fishing boat. They are everywhere around me. I hope they’re on the radar. I am in any case. I’m only beginning to think about the arrival. I don’t really realize. The transition with the earth’s world will be brutal….

Miranda Last ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival): Between 10pm and 1am. this evening.

 

Photo: Bertrand Duquenne

The fear of leaving absolute freedom

44ab9a35-7f81-4aef-949b-bc57016a560a-600x450Superstitious as always, Miranda defends herself from mentioning even the very idea of her arrival in Les Sables d’Olonne. Wednesday in Les Sables?

However, the routing on the screen of her on-board computer shows more and more clearly Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, the Bay of Biscay and the shores of Vendée. At her current speed, Campagne de France will be able to reach Les Sables d’Olonne next Wednesday. Miranda, while wisely avoiding the strongest wind that sweeps the Azores archipelago, follows a road that brings it closer to Portugal. Her cruising speed has increased considerably and Miranda is now lining up days of 300 miles. On Tuesday morning, she could pass Cape Finisterre, at the western tip of Spain, and begin the crossing of the Bay of Biscay, still benefitting from a very manageable breeze from the South West. She will then only have 360 miles left to travel in a direct line. Miranda remains surprisingly serene after 98 days of solitary sailing, Miranda enjoys every moment spent aboard Campagne de France, her sailboat well like her partner of the Maîtres Dairys, solid and reliable in all circumstances. The return to earth worries her a little. « I have only spoken for 98 days to crews of the cargo ships or sailboats I met. I will be happy to see my family, friends and partners again. But I fear leaving my space of absolute freedom… »

The word of the night:

« The nights are long, it’s starting to get cool, it’s grey and there’s moisture in the air. There is always a long northwest swell.

Campaign of France is getting closer to Europe. Having not been able to go north before because of the monster in the middle of the Atlantic, and there is another depression en route, I would be closer to the coast and therefore to traffic and fishing boats. We will have to be very vigilant. Traffic is intense at the latitude of Gibraltar! ”

Miranda / Campaign of France

Head east..!

CDF-du-9Miranda will not see the Azores, a group of islands that hold a special place in her heart. She decided yesterday to ignore her routing which took her to the heart of the Portuguese archipelago, and to head east.

The goal is to avoid the strong winds, 40 knots and more, which will sweep these volcanic islands all weekend. But the number one annoying factor, and for several days now, has been the state of the sea. A 5 to 6 meter swell sweeps from the northwest, preventing Campagne de France from moving in the right direction. Wisely, Miranda chose early yesterday not to face this brutal sea state head on. She gently slipped east and towards Madeira. She should resume her march north, some 250 miles in the south of the Azores this afternoon. The idea is to overflow Punta Delgada from the east, and take advantage of the strong southwesterly winds to clearly point the bow of Campagne de France towards the Bay of Biscay, France and Les Sables d’Olonne. She should arrive next Thursday or Friday, after a little over 100 days of racing. With more than 48,000 km on the clock, the end of this ruthless Vendée Globe. Cold, humidity and the discomfort of a boat battered by the swell are on the menu for the 1,300 miles (direct route) to come.

A unique view:

At the beginning of last week, in the middle of the Atlantic, the IMOCA 60 ‘Campagne de France’ crossed the Maxi Yacht ‘Kokotea’, a Dubois design measuring 40 meters and weighing 200 tons. Miranda had time to chat with the crew and her boatCDF-du-9 captain Basson van der Westhuyzen. « A very nice moment » according to Miranda.

6 Remain

winchesBD-1Yesterday saw the arrival of 5 solo sailors into Les Sables d’Olonne, putting an end to their Vendée Globe in 95 days. With 8 boats having retired, only 6 remain on the racecourse. The Spaniard Didac Costa, should finish tomorrow, barring any unfortunate, last minute incidents! Clément Giraud will follow next before leaving the door open for Miranda Merron and her IMOCA 60 Campagne de France who currently holds 22nd place. Miranda is not expected to cross the finish line before next Thursday, perhaps even Friday.
She’ll have to manage the arrival of a new, powerful depression as she gets closer to the Azores. She’s currently sailing in difficult conditions with huge waves breaking around the boat but she’s adapted to the conditions and will slide south of the Azores in order to perhaps avoid the worst of it! Campagne de France will therefore lengthen its route a little bit, headed towards Madeira before heading North to go up along the Iberian Peninsula.
A word from Miranda: 
« The monster low that is dominating the North Atlantic has generated a heavy north-westerly swell. In theory, I should be heading north, but in practice I don’t dare gybe into a 6 metre swell. Clément tried it yesterday for a short while. It didn’t sound good. So we are going the long way round. It’s been hard to find the right balance as the boat was getting laid over just behind the top of each wave and then coming past upright on the front of each wave.
Normally when I furl a sail, I run quite deep, but the problem with the swell was that the sail kept going to windward of the boat, so I had to furl with the boat luffed up which is rather unusual. Working on the foredeck and changing sails was also a little exciting.
Yesterday morning, I crossed paths with a ship that was heading parallel to me but in the opposite direction, so beam on to the swell too, and the officer on watch called for a chat, and finished the conversation with a warning to be careful in the heavy swell. Must have been quite uncomfortable on the ship too. »

An untimely slowdown

imageThe Azores high is making its own decisions without consulting those in and around the local area. It chose to re-install itself last night and subsequently snapped up Miranda and Campagne de France, who are again subjected to a weak and fickle wind.

The good news is that it looks as if the high pressure moves east as the low that currently encompasses the entire North Atlantic makes its presence felt. Miranda should therefore, return to more stable breeze from the West-South-West sector, and resume her journey at good speeds towards the Azores, islands Miranda is not only familiar with but particularly fond of. Miranda must choose her course there, on the edge of a new, rather tough depression. She will find formed seas, nearly 5 meters deep, behind the passage of the depression and with the rise of the continental shelf. The finish is getting closer, and Miranda is beginning to think about crossing the line at Les Sables d’Olonne next Thursday, February 18….

 

Beautiful day of downwind sailing yesterday ahead of the front, which arrived late afternoon. The other side of the front is high pressure again. There is very little wind and it is oscillating betweeen north and east,  which is making progress complicated! It’s also getting much cooler now.
Busy shipping crossroads here between the Straits of Gibraltar and Americas. Busy Atlantic Ocean generally.
Miranda/ Campagne de France

The last chapter!

Miranda-du-10-fevHaving extricated themselves from the Azores high earlier this morning, which had come down very low to the latitude of the Canaries, Miranda and Campagne de France ended the penultimate chapter of their Vendée Globe.

Now it’s time for the last piece of bravery of this monumental ordeal, the negotiation of the North Atlantic depressions which are sweeping over Europe, and which must supply the sailboat in the colours of the Maitres Laitiers brand with excellent fuel to return to Les Sables d’Olonne. A clever placement game is now offered to Miranda, who is spending her last hours in the sun and the heat of the trade winds. Strong westerly winds are sweeping the Azores and Miranda will have to seek them out south of the islands, trying to avoid the stormy flows circulating in the north of the Portuguese archipelago. She should return to good speed but also to rough sea conditions making this final chapter somewhat uncertain.

Word of the night:

“Beautiful day yesterday, very little wind in the afternoon and much of the night. I went northwest to try to get out of the slack, and now I’m doing NNW or North for the moment because even if it would be interesting to go east in front of the front, after it there is not much more to the east. Even going north, there will be no wind for a while behind the front with the high pressure area. I found the GPS track of the route that Halvard and I had followed at the end of 2019 when returning from the Transat Jacqes Vabre and Salvador de Bahia. I am practically on the same road. I was starved all night, forced to cross the high pressure. We feel that the air is densifying. I had a beautiful day in the sun yesterday, maybe the last for a long time. I don’t think about the finish at all because I still have a long way to go and strewn with pitfalls.  »

Miranda

Company at last..!

0137bf04-485c-4210-9350-375c14877e29-600x450Flattened by the enormous winter depressions descending from Newfoundland, the Azores high is languishing at the end of the 93rd day of the Vendée Globe at the latitude of the Canaries.

Miranda and her two traveling companions, Clément Giraud and Manu Cousin (handicapped by serious damage to the keel), will struggle there all day. The objective is to cross just west of the heart of the high, and set sail for the Azores, some 750 miles north-east of the bow of the Campagne de France, and the first land before arriving at Les Sables d’Olonne. The latest arrival estimates(!!!) see Miranda crossing the line in a little over a week on Wednesday February 17th! Miranda, more than ever focused on her end of the race and on preserving the boat, could therefore complete her round-the-world trip in a hundred days! Today will require a good negotiation of the calm flat areas of the high pressure system, which have already brought Clément Giraud to a halt this morning. No weariness noticeable in Miranda’s voice today. The Norman-Briton takes advantage of every moment spent at sea, and definitely goes around the world with a certain element of zen!

A word from Miranda: 

« Stunning clear night with millions of stars, light breeze as expected. A busy day ahead of trying to get through to the other side of the high, plus assorted maintenance.
Yesterday afternoon I again crossed paths with a yacht en route to the Caribbean, this time a rather beautiful yacht called Kokotea. Since they were motoring, they came past quite close and I got to wave at people I could actually see! I bet they have running hot water and fresh food on board… »

Three months at sea

7-fevrier92 days! 3 months in which Miranda has been crisscrossing the worlds oceans, alone in her quest to finish this 9th edition of the Vendée Globe!

« Already? She is surprised, close to being offended when asked about possible weariness. Citizen of the world, woman of the oceans, Miranda almost apologizes for doing what she loves most in the world on a daily basis, sailing, managing her boat, plotting her route in serene contemplation of the eternally renewed spectacle of sublime maritime solitudes. With 47,000 km on the clock of her Campagne de France sailboat, she intends to make the most of the 4,000 km still to be covered before putting an end to her extraordinary adventure. She knows and has learned to approach with cool blood and vigilance the difficult moments that await her from here at Les Sables d’Olonne.

Starting with the Azores anticyclone which continues to spread. She will have to be patient and be sharp and hyper reactive again when the wind is once again evanescent at the latitudes of the Canaries. The high is followed by several nasty looking North Atlantic low pressure systems that’ll perhaps throw one or two final tests prior to Campagne de France’s arrival into LSD. More than ever, Miranda will protect and pamper her solid IMOCA. The misfortune of Manu Cousin who fell victim to serious damage to his keel has been a constant reminder that in a solo round-the-world trip is never over until it’s over…

A word from Miranda: 

« There has been almost non-stop small cumulobeastie activity, sometimes every few minutes, not too much wind in them and not a lot behind. The radar screen is dotted with little squalls. Yesterday, I crossed paths with a yacht called Dreamcatcher on its way from the Canaries to Grenada. Lucky them! We had a brief chat on VHF. This is the closest I have been to other human beings for a long time!
The Sat C distress alarm has been going off regularly to warn of yet another pirate attack on a merchant vessel, mostly in or off the Gulf of Guinea. It’s amazing how much we heard about piracy when it was taking place off Somalia and how little we hear about it now, when hundreds of crew have been kidnapped, some killed, and some of these attacks are taking place nearly 200 miles away from land by heavily armed pirates. Nothing romantic about the the word « pirate ». »