VG2020 : Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) assertive leader

Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) took the lead of the Vendée Globe since Friday evening. With 32.43 miles ahead of Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS), the northerner is leading the way in the Saint Helena high. Charlie Dalin (Apivia) rounds off this trio, which rushes forward with the hope of making the most of a weather option that will not smile on everyone …

Thomas Ruyant slipped into the lead of the Vendée Globe last night, on the descent to bypass the Saint Helena high pressure system. The LinkedOut skipper is now ahead of Alex Thomson, who has held the top of the ramp continuously since last Sunday, and who has seen his lead gradually melt along the Brazilian coast. 32.43 miles separated the British skipper from the northern leader in the 6pm classification this Saturday, the Normand Charlie Dalin (Apivia) completing the top three (+67.79 miles).

The trident, as one would be tempted to write, as the longitudinal differences played a role in the distribution of positions. From farther west Alex Thomson to farther east Thomas Ruyant, the lateral gap was still around 80 miles this afternoon. And, in between, and although he has gently bore down, Charlie Dalin maintains a central position, 35.4 miles from the English skipper and a good sixty off Thomas Ruyant’s eastern route.

LinkedOut : 511,4 milles in 24 hours

Joined this morning, the Thomas was pleased to have been well served: “My shift to the east came naturally: I was looking to have a quick angle, to have good pressure all the time. Alex (Thomson) was slower than us for a long time, maybe it was less windy on that first part of the South Atlantic. There we all three have close speeds ”. Well done: Thomas Ruyant averaged 511.4 miles over 24 hours yesterday, averaging 21.2 knots. A performance close to the record set by Alex Thomson in IMOCA, set at 536.81 miles in 24 hours.

The three leaders have clearly made up their minds to play cat by sinking into the mouse hole a cold front creates in the Saint Helena High, which will allow them to cut the cheese in half. There they still find a moderate northeasterly wind of about fifteen knots which allows them to maintain high speeds at about a hundred degrees of wind. LinkedOut, HUGO BOSS and Apivia will preserve their optimum angles to the wind, which will gradually give way at the start of the week. The competitors will then sail with a full tail wind in a narrow lane, forcing them to jibe regularly. We will then see who will have best integrated this classic strategic passage in the reflection of the overall design of his boat … and who will have had the good idea possibly to slip a spinnaker in his package …

The hunt group looking for the option
It is still a little too early, in terms of weather, to know who will be able to take advantage of the gap which will gradually be filled by the high pressure system returning from the south. Will the cold front allow three, six, ten boats to pass? In any case, the trio made the break: 4th, Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) concedes 308.64 miles behind. Sixth in the fleet, Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2, +364.83 miles) spared his options: “You have to try to keep a steady pace because the more it goes, the more complicated it will be (to pass). On the timing, it would be good to take the corridor of depression because you can leave with this depression towards Good Hope. Otherwise, the high pressure rises in the west, and you will have to circle around the high pressure edge. It’s not easy when the high pressure is building… Well, the weather is never very accurate in these areas, and for us, it’s a game of poker. We go due south, and we gradually refine relative to the high pressure system so as not to get trapped too close to the center “.

9th in this Vendée Globe, Sam Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) continues her brilliant journey. If she is the most northerly of the group of followers, the English sailor has just concluded a 24-hour session at an average of 18.9 knots, which allows her to still nourish the hope of not having to go around Sainte -Hélène by the South. Likewise, Sébastien Simon (ARKEA PAPREC), 10th, tries to chart his course while waiting to have finished tinkering with his weather vane, which let go. Deprived of this electronic element, the Vendéen advances quickly, but gropingly. “The boat moves a lot and I try to connect very small wires of a millimeter in diameter, it’s not easy,” he told the Vendée Live vacation, the daily Vendée Globe show (12:30 p.m. for the French version, 1:30 p.m. for the international version). The cold front which is currently cutting the high pressure system in two will indeed allow the leading group to fit into this mouse hole. They may be the only ones who can engage in it because behind the high pressure will reform into one big bubble. The rest of the fleet may be forced to bypass the high pressure area by west and then south. In the next 48 hours, the positioning of each other will be key. Having speed can open up the possibilities “.

Isabelle Joschke is facing big issues
On Friday evening, Isabelle Joschke had the very unpleasant surprise to see the gennaker sheet block tear off, then to witness the tearing off by said sheet of the aft balcony system and its lifelines. Brutal, the phenomenon spared her physically, and the boat did not lose in performance. However, there is a security feature missing from the back of his MACSF. While waiting for more stable hours, the Franco-German sailor made a makeshift repair. She also took the opportunity to repair … a two-hour penalty for accidentally breaking the lead on her propeller shaft.

Kojiro back on tracks?

It took Kojiro Shiraishi nearly a week, of good advice from the land and infinite patience to complete the repairs to his mainsail. Although his speed was still relative this afternoon, the Japanese skipper of DMG Mori Global One has started to move away from the coast of the Cape Verde archipelago.

The ice zone remains unchanged

This Saturday also sounded a first security deadline. Race management still had the option of modifying the first part of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, which protects the fleet from any encounter with icebergs. A final verification session on satellite photos, validated this morning, made it possible to comfort the race management and to keep the description of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone as it is in version 1. Over the days, Jacques Caraës, the Race management as a whole and CLS, the official supplier of the Vendée Globe, will scrutinize the satellite images to ensure that the road is safe… for what is discernible in any case.


Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2

Despite the occasional complexities, the penalties, the repairs to be made, I’m laughing, I’m on a good pace. Bureau Vallée 2 is a very sensitive boat because it is very light. It reacts to the smallest adjustment. I have great food on board, I sleep well, it’s happiness, all the ingredients are there to attack to the max.

Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut

I have several options for sleeping. There, I am on a big mattress which is 20 cm from the floor, very thick, wide enough, made to measure for me. I also have my big angled center bucket seat, which is great for naps. After that, I have a beanbag, under certain conditions it’s not bad, I can put it all over the boat. It’s true that we have weird dreams at sea. Sometimes I go very far, I dream a lot! It’s not very pleasant, a bit like a nightmare. But all is well eh! I don’t wake up in a panic or in a sweat. I am not much in contact with the earth. I’ve had a few partner dates since the start. I write a lot on Whatsapp, but I avoid spending my time on it, it’s not my thing, it’s not my way of shopping. After I hang up, I’ll go to sleep again!

Maxime Sorel, V and B-Mayenne

I have been in a fairly tight wind for more than 24 hours, around 70-80 °. I feel the buddies up front are slipping a bit more. It gets a bit monotonous, I’m not used to it. We are going to be on the same tack for several days, with not a lot of set-up, no change of sails. It’s the first time that I’ve been on the same tack for so long. The descent of the South Atlantic will be done at the same angle, quite tight. It’s not super fast for me. My boat isn’t super powerful, these are clearly conditions for the foilers, but that’s part of the game.

I think this is a step to take in the Vendée Globe! I realize the length of the ordeal. Me, I love contact racing, I love to maneuver, I almost love it when it’s hard. It’s not the part of the Vendée Globe that I prefer, it’s a bit monotonous. I like to hear from the land, I interact with a lot of people, it allows me to wander a bit, to get my head out of the boat. I read news that has nothing to do with racing, little articles, I am not a pure lone sailor. But I am well on the rhythms that the boat imposes on me, I am fine. I have some Sables d’Olonne bread left! I eat seeds, a little cold meats for protein and then a lot of compotes. For water, it’s complicated, I don’t drink enough. It’s also the first time that I’ve done a race where there is a need for a watermaker. I feel like I drink less because the water is worse. I don’t feel like drinking so much, I force myself to drink water that I don’t like too much, about 2.5 to 3 liters.

Rankings at 6pm French time

1. Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), at 19 943.9 milles from finish
2. Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS), at 32.43 milles from leader
3. Charlie Dalin (Apivia), at 67.79 milles from leader
4. Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!), at 308.64 milles from leader
5. Kevin Escoffier (PRB), at 349.78 milles from leader

Photo Credit : Pierre Bouras

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