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French trio duke it out in triple-threat Vendée Globe finish

Celebrated solo sailors Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam and Yann Eliés close in on Les Sab with a mere 80 miles between them.

On Wednesday morning, January 25th Jean-Pierre Dick led a pack of three toward the Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne. His foil-clad IMOCA 60 StMichel-Virbac was first to reach the lighter winds off the coast of Brittany and hence the first to tack toward the finish. In this situation we do not always envy the leader. Because the the two skippers chasing Jean-Pierre had not yet hit the weather, Yann Eliès on Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir and Jean Le Cam on Finistère Mer Vent slowly closed the distance he had worked so hard to put between them.

The trio have battled in close proximity since rounding Cape Horn, Jean-Pierre patiently defending his lead through tantalizing weather systems off the coast of Argentina and further North as he crossed the equator with Eliés and Le Cam close behind. As of this morning they were less than 100 miles from the finish with only 80 miles between them.

In the end Jean-Pierre defended his lead with determination and finished first at 1347hrs UTC, welcomed by a sea of fans, friends and his family on a partly cloudy afternoon. He finished in 80 days 1 hour 45 minutes and 45 seconds. Later this afternoon, Yann Elies on Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir is due to become the first non-foiler of the 2016 fleet to finish. Local legend Jean Le Cam is close behind.

From the nav bench, the skippers reported to the North Sails team on the performance of their sails. “The real surprise was the little gennaker that I used like a code zero and which allowed me every time, during each transition, to build the difference between Jean and I,” explained Yann Eliés. “We had some transition periods where I was successful in getting more out of the change and the weak conditions than he. I think he even talked about this in one of his videos when he saw the sail through his binoculars.”

Yann, Jean, and Jean-Pierre have worked with the North Sails team in France for many years. For this Vendée Globe, an inventory of North Sails 3Di ENDURANCE, 3Di RAW, and NPL SPORT sails was developed for each of their IMOCA 60s. Extending a friendly shout-out to North designer Yann Reginiau, Jean Le-Cam wrote from onboard Finistère Mer Vent, “Knowing Yann, I never doubted for a second that my sails would not be powerful. Everything is absolutely perfect. Aside from the mainsail (which is a given), I have used the J2 a lot. It’s the sail with the largest range of use.”

From all of us at North Sails: Congratulations Jean-Pierre, Yann, and Jean on a safe and successful Vendée Globe! We are glad you found some company along the way.

What makes a good sail? Hear it from the Vendée Globe skippers – What They Said

Pre-start, examining the North Sails 3Di ENDURANCE J0 with Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac

Yann Eliés snaps a selfie at Cape Horn.

The sun sets behind Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir, a familiar offshore perspective captured by Yann Eliés.

Jean Le Cam sits at his navigation desk prior to starting the 2016 Vendée Globe. Image courtesy of team Finistère Mer Vent.