Thunderclap on the Vendée Globe fleet: Alex Thomson faces major structural problems on his HUGO BOSS. The Briton, yesterday in 2nd position, 40 miles in the transom of Thomas Ruyant, decelerated considerably, letting his opponents slip away to repair a longitudinal beam at the front of the boat, and is already 200 miles behind. At the same time, Thomas Ruyant was going up the mast to repair his halyard problems. In addition to the strategically complicated weather, the skippers tinker and operate draconian controls on their IMOCAs … The great South is not so far away.
Good for him to make a full circle of the boat before attacking the southern oceans. Alex Thomson therefore spotted a longitudinal stringer (structural reinforcement) which was probably detached and which could in time have created other more substantial damage. Ross Daniel, Technical Director of Alex Thomson Racing said at noon: “Alex has now put the boat in a safe position to handle sea conditions to reduce movement on board while he does the repairs. He has all the necessary equipment on board, a detailed plan to follow and a team of highly qualified engineers to advise him. We are therefore confident in its ability to complete the repair. “Sanding workshop, bonding of carbon fabrics and lamination for the HUGO BOSS skipper, who is forced to take his turn in the corridor open to the head of the fleet, but whose door could well start to creak or even close completely. Alex Thomson, like his direct pursuers (the group led by Kevin Escoffier on PRB) less than a day away from his position, will have to deal with light airs and lose a lot of ground on Thomas Ruyant and Charlie Dalin: 200 miles already at 4 p.m. . Unless he leaves quickly …
Hallucinating Thomas Ruyant!
Since the start of the Vendée Globe has been deprived of one of the two halyards that he uses to send his downwind sails to the masthead, the LinkedOut skipper had been looking for the right time for several days to climb his 28-meter-high mast. and carry out major repairs before entering the deep South. The emergency halyard broke last night, so the Dunkirk had no choice but to climb. In a messy sea, as the boat continued to sail under sail, Thomas Ruyant climbed the huge carbon tube to repair … never stopping. The two leading IMOCAs, LinkedOut and Apivia, side by side 10 miles apart, are pursuing a frenzied battle in a small cold front under the Saint Helena high which will require constant attention and a number of incalculable maneuvers …
Combining competition and prudence to last
The 9th Vendée Globe fleet stretches over more than 3,000 miles, Jérémie Beyou, 32nd, lengthening his stride in the south of the Canaries. Listening to the skippers on vacation or reading the messages sent from the edge, whatever the age of the boat or its position on the Atlantic chessboard, every day brings its share of odds and ends. Yesterday, it was a weather vane for Sébastien Simon, today a stratification on a part of the foil well for Armel Tripon, all week the complete overhaul of the mainsail of the Japanese Kojiro Shiraishi… Little or big hassle for everyone without exception, foiler or not. Armel Tripon, the wise and philosopher skipper of L’Occitane en Provence, talks about it better than anyone: “The boat asks only to accelerate, the polars are built in that sense, the teams and architects are pushing to go fast. Now it’s up to each sailor to sail with his soul and conscience. “.
Fabrice Amedeo, Newrest-Art & Fenêtres
I’ve been watching the Doldrums for a few days now and I’m sure you have to go around 29 ° West to get out of it easily. I organized my line to be on it, even reset 20 miles west to secure the shot. I think that’s really where it’s going to play out. It’s not an exact science but on the face of it it’s only 80 miles thick so it shouldn’t be too long to go through. I’m happy because as long as I was behind I felt like I was alone and not in the race. The fact of finding proximity with the competitors, does me a lot of good. It marks my return to the race.
Charlie Dalin, Apivia
I hope Alex’s (Thomson) problem is not too serious and that the extent of the damage is limited. Above all, I hope that this does not mean the end of the Vendée Globe for him. We have a great race with him, and the trio that we compose is very stimulating.
The program of the day ? It’s still a light wind. We’re going to work in this mouse hole, this tiny area of wind, with the goal of staying in it. We must avoid the aisles. I will try to stay there and for that I will be watching a lot of the weather which is not very well modeled. The information changes a lot depending on the files, but despite that, you have to try to stay in this area, in the middle of the corridor. We are there for a while: we will experience this phenomenon for several days and at a given moment, there will be no choice: we will have to resolve to cross an area of weak winds to reach the southern motorway.
Armel Tripon, L’Occitane en Provence
I just learned about the structural problem from Alex Thomson. It’s a mechanical sport so obviously there are going to be problems, these boats are still unknown, we hardly sailed with them for a long time at high speeds. We will discover things as we go. Yet we all sail wisely, we do not shoot the boats as we should. There are a lot of situations where you don’t know how the boat will react over the length and it’s true that with the foils, it brings new load constraints, you can’t control everything. It’s a new way to navigate. The boat only asks to accelerate, the polars are built in that sense, the teams and architects are pushing to go fast. Now it’s up to each sailor to sail with his soul and conscience. I have quite a few minor issues to sort out, the issues show up before I can detect them. I take a tour of the structure regularly, after the boat has been subjected to stress. Yesterday I spent a lot of time composing on a part of the foil well that had torn off with the effort so we had to sand, grind, glue, it was a day at the workshop!
Rankings at 3pm french time
|1. Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) at 19 676,8 milles from finish|
|2. Charlie Dalin (Apivia) at 24,24 milles from leader|
|3. Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) at 171,42 milles from leader|
|4. Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) at 278,53 milles from leader|
|5. Kevin Escoffier (PRB) at 293,65 milles from leader|
Photo Credit: Pierre Bouras
– PR –