Miranda Merron: “The Vendée Globe will be the greatest challenge of my life”

After more than ten years competing in Class40, French based English skipper Miranda Merron took the plunge this spring and established a Vendée Globe project. She has the Owen-Clarke designed IMOCA which started life as Dominique Wavre’s Mirabaud and raced the last Vendée Globe as Great American IV Rich Wilson. The boat is renamed Campagne de France after her long time sponsors, a large French dairy products cooperative. Now Merron is preparing for her first solo IMOCA race on her new boat, Bermudes 1000 Race which starts on May 9th. The 49-year-old Briton, who works closely with her partner Halvard Mabire, who joins the discussion, tells Tip & Shaft the reasons for her new life pinnacle challenge.

Imoca: It’s all about the foils

At the start of the last Vendée Globe in 2016 there were seven of the 29 IMOCAs with foils. In last year’s 2018 Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe half of the IMOCAs which raced had foils. And in the upcoming 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre more than two thirds of the fleet will have foils. In less than four years foils have become the rule rather than the exception. But they are still very much in the early stages of development. Less than one week before the start of the Bermudes 1000 Race, the first of the 2019 IMOCA season, we review tips and shafts, by Tip & Shaft. 

Vendée Globe International round up

The Vendée Globe’s organisers preference was to call the 2016-17 solo non stop round the world race the most international, when eight nations were represented. Regardless, as the 2020-21 edition wrestles to taper down a bumper entry. There are 13 non French skippers with active projects. Tip & Shaft takes a quick tour round the houses a couple of weeks before the first IMOCA Globe Series race of the season, the Bermudes 1000 Race, the 2000 miles season opener from Douarnenez to Brest via the Fastnet and the Azores which starts May 8th. 

Libby Greenhalgh: “Even now, I find it incredibly hard that we didn’t find John”

Two times Volvo Ocean Race navigator Libby Greenhalgh admits she is still in consolidation mode, looking for projects, after a mentally tough race on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. She admits she struggles daily trying to come to terms with the loss of John Fisher just over one year ago, but she is quietly determined to move her career on to new levels. Tip & Shaft caught up with Libby.

What we learned from Sardinha Cup

The first race for the new Figaro Bénéteau 3, the Sardinha Cup was certainly exciting at sea with victory going to Yann Eliès and Sam Davies (StMichel), but a lot happened ashore too with a number of technical problems which led to a series of meetings. Tip & Shaft identifies the lessons learnt from this race with several of the participants (Yann Eliès, Jérémie Beyou, Anthony Marchand, Fred Duthil, Gildas Mahé and Pierre Quiroga) and the Race Director, Francis Le Goff. 

[Sponsored feature] Why Plastimo has become the title sponsor of the Plastimo Lorient Mini 650

It does not happen so often in racing sponsorship: an equipment manufacturer gives its name to a sailing event. After a successful first experience last year, Plastimo is teaming up again with Lorient Grand Large, the organiser of the first Atlantic-side Mini 6.50 race in the season in France, and names the event the Plastimo Lorient Mini 6.50. For the french company based in Lorient, it means much more than simply lending a hand.

No slowdown after the Rhum for Class40

The Défi Atlantique, a new double-handed or crewed race between Pointe-à-Pitre and La Rochelle (in two legs via Horta), will open the Class40 season. While usually the years following on from the Rhum tend to be much slower for the 40-foot boats, 2019 seems to be different with in particular, two new boats and around twenty or so duos expected in…

Pascal Bidégorry: “I am looking for money to buy Macif”

In the wake of victory in the Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team, Pascal Bidégorry spent the latter part of last year helping young French skipper Arthur Le Vaillant prepare his Class40 for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. He is continuing that collaboration with Le Vaillant right now as they train on the Figaro 3 Leyton. And the duo will sail the Sardinha Cup at the end of March But at the same time the Basque bred sailor Bidégorry is looking for sponsoring partners to back him on an Ultim. But he is also cited as one of the potential successors for Sébastien Josse in the Gitana Team hot seat. He covers all these topics for Tip & Shaft.

Sponsored article [How the LCJ capteurs ultrasound anemometers are reducing the need to climb the mast by offering a great back up solution]

Climbing the mast can become something of a sailors’ obsession, particularly solo racers heading to desolate, lonely areas. It is very physical, risky and complicated. From Mini 650 sailors to IMOCA skippers it is probably the task feared most of all. But it happens quite frequently, gennaker hooks get jammed, halyards are twisted or tangled, or when…