The skipper of Apivia played fair. His little shift downwind of LinkedOut as close as possible to the small cold front allowed him to touch a little more air than his opponent and thus take the lead of the 9am standings this morning. Pushed by light winds for 10 knots, the two leaders wet the jersey like two climbers in a heatwave on a mountain road: gybing maneuvers, adjustments, refining the trajectories. One thing is certain: the record set in 2016 by Alex Thomson between Les Sables d’Olonne and Bonne Espérance (17 days 22 hours) will not be broken!
They rushed into the corridor under the Saint Helena high, leaving the pack in embarrassment. “Everyone will have to find their way, ours is more difficult. This affair will occupy us three or four days, with very little wind. “Sighed this morning Boris Herrmann, 6th, aboard his SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco. His closest competitor, Yannick Bestaven on Maître CoQ IV, 5 miles from his transom, is no further ahead: “The next few hours are going to be complicated, we will have to get rid of this weather system that is stuck in our midst. We’ll have to swing south to get some air while avoiding the Saint Helena high pressure system so as not to get stuck there.”
For the pursuers of Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant, this day of November 23 will indeed be crucial in terms of choice of route. A side road is emerging, over 200 miles long that would take them down south before they can go east to Cape Africa. Suffice to say that the gaps are likely to be significant upon entering the Indian Ocean.
Clean and fresh
They’ve all spread the word to each other! This 15th day of the race was that of cleaning up all the floors. The stainless Jean Le Cam, 3rd in the scoring, masterfully leads his IMOCA drifts, with the other the washing of his socks and boxers. Six skippers who entered the Doldrums this morning (Fabrice Amedeo, Miranda Merron, Clément Giraud, Ari Huusela, Alexia Barrier and Sébastien Destremau) have a good heart against bad luck: are not grains soaked in torrential rain the best of showers after 15 days to bathe in salt and humidity? In short, morale is good on all floors of the 2,969-mile long pendant: time flies, the round-the-world mode is well activated, the rhythm of the sea is taken. And sometimes a nothing lights up the day: “I passed by the Trindade and Martim Vaz islands, it seems unlikely to find a pebble here in the middle of nowhere. It was the little present of the morning, in the midst of the rays of the sun, I almost almost stopped! »Smiled Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) this afternoon.
Alex Thomson and Jérémie Beyou: another race for two big favorites
“The good news is that I managed to fix it with all the gear I had and the boat is probably even stronger than before. I will leave as soon as possible! »Confided this afternoon Alex Thomson in a video sent from the ship. It shows ongoing repairs to structural bulkheads forward of HUGO BOSS, which has stopped in the mid-South Atlantic for 36 hours now. Leading the race for more than 6 days with only one goal of victory, the Briton is now 300 miles behind, but he knows better than anyone how long the road is as he is racing Everest of the Seas for the 5th time. Jérémie Beyou rushes along the Mauritanian coast to catch up with his 9-day delay. The competitor, for lack of a fight with his playmates, struggles with himself to find positive energy and meaning in this new approach. “I am discovering a facet that is more human than I imagined” confided the skipper of Charal this morning.
Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL
I felt like I was reliving a second Doldrums, but more complicated than the one we had this year, there were squalls everywhere, little wind and big changes in direction. I got a little tired changing the sails, maybe I should have taken it more calmly because I got tired and afterwards, when you are tired, morale drops. But this morning it’s off to a good start! This morning, I have to work on the latest weather files, there are crossing roads that exist but we are not sure that they will be sustainable over several days. We all wonder. The first ones have taken these paths, but they are further ahead than us, the middle group is also having a difficult time so for us behind, it’s not much easier, we will have to adapt to the conditions that ‘we’re going to have to get out of the game and navigate as best as possible. What is certain is that it will take a long time to reach Good Hope.
Manu Cousin, Groupe SÉTIN
The weather was one of my apprehensions and so far the 15 days of racing have gone by super fast. I see that the first are starting to turn left and when it is my turn there will be a little apprehension, it will be the unknown but also the desire to discover! I look forward ! Tonight I am going to cross the equator, even though I have already passed it several times, it will be another stage of the race and there will always be little rites. I try to take things day by day, to have a good race, we are a group of 4, it’s nice, that’s why I didn’t want to get stuck in the Doldrums.
Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ
I am in a good group of partners that I dreamed of being. I rubbed shoulders with them in the last few races. We all have boats that are not very similar but close from a performance point of view. It motivates me, they are good benchmarks, it allows you to force yourself to settle everything and look at the gaps. I started to do an inventory and minor work on the boat yesterday. We must take advantage of the softer wind to check the whole boat before the South Seas. I don’t count the hours and the days, I know what day it is thanks to my food bags. I’m good in my sneakers, I’m happy to be on the water, I’m having a lot of fun. I was afraid that I would have trouble getting into the race, but the more the days go by, the more I feel comfortable there.
Jérémie Beyou, Charal
Morally, I have ups and downs. There, I’m sad for Alex (Thomson), because it pisses him off, it pisses him off to see him slow down. He has a big repair to do, which is really not cool. I’ve been thinking about him all day. I offer my support for him, I hope he will make amends and get back into the fight soon. But when I see that I’m 3,000 miles behind my head, that I’m in the North Atlantic while they’re down the South Atlantic, it’s not easy to live with. I take advantage that the boat is doing well, and I move forward hour by hour. It’s complicated, because these are not easy going boats. To push them, you need motivation, and that motivation comes from competition. It’s the one pushing you to your limits.
Rankings 15 pm French time
|1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia à 19421.4 milles from finish|
|2. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut at 28 milles from leader|
|3. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam! at 270 milles from leader|
|4. Kevin Escoffier, PRB at 289.1 milles from leader|
|5. Alex Thomson, HUGO BOSS at 350.8 milles from leader|
Photo Credit : C.Dalin / Apivia
– PR –