VG2020 : Giant slaloms

The Cape of Good Hope and the depressions of the great south are ardently desired. 19 of the 32 IMOCAs in the 9th Vendée Globe fleet are still grappling with the Saint Helena high pressure which is slowly moving east. The staircase trajectories demonstrate that the hours at sea are not easy and laborious. And this morning, a blow from Trafalgar: the LinkedOut of Thomas Ruyant is now deprived of a port foil.

“I naturally continue the race, disabled, with only one wing, but I take comfort in telling myself that I have my starboard foil left, which is perhaps statistically the most important for a round-the-world race. The road is long. I continue, I hold on! »Confided Thomas Rettant this morning after noticing serious cracks on the left foil of his boat. Bad news for the Dunkirk, of course, but if we remember a certain Alex Thomson in 2016, we note that he finished 2nd, a stone’s throw from the winner Armel Le Cléac’h … with one foil less. It is all the same to note that of the 8 new flying IMOCAs that counted the start of the race, only one remains that has not yet been slowed down in its tracks: Charlie Dalin on Apivia who prances in head of the fleet for 2 days.

Meeting with friends

This capricious and fickle weather had the merit of creating connections and beautiful images. The organization’s video server has heated up: drone images of Benjamin Dutreux and Boris Herrmann, video of the Initiatives-Cœur board where we can see Bureau Vallée 2, and of Maître CoQ IV on board with Seaexplorer-Yacht Club of Monaco. It’s crazy how small the world is in such a big ocean! On this 17th day of racing, the fight becomes very intense in each group that counts the fleet stretched over a little more than 3000 miles. 1.5 miles between Boris Herrmann and Yannick Bestaven, 6 between Sam Davies and Louis Burton, 12 between Manu Cousin and Pip Hare along the Horn of Brazil and 2 miles between Fabrice Amedeo and Clément Giraud who finally come out of the Pot in the dark…

Add a layer

Apivia and LinkedOut are the first to feel the frost of the great South. Already lower than the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope, at latitude 38 south, 160 miles west of the volcanic Tristan da Cunha islands, the two skippers will probably already be donning fleeces and underlays as soon as night falls. A few more hours in a windless bubble and soon they will continue south, not far from the ZEA (Antarctic Exclusion Zone), then take the low pressure train heading east. The great South awaits them, that’s what they came for!


Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut

I was about 120 ° to the wind, I was going at 20 knots when I heard that loud noise. I don’t really have an explanation. I retracted the foil all the way so it wouldn’t drag in the water. With daylight, I was able to inspect the foil and its well from top to bottom, in conjunction with my team and the architects on land. There is no waterway and the foil well is healthy. But the foil is really cracked in many places. The very structure of the foil is affected. I’m waiting for the architects’ analysis to know if I should cut it.

Isabelle Joschke, MACSF

So far I’ve done half the job, I’ve more or less rebuilt a balcony, the second part will be to fix this new balcony on the deck. Safety is really very important and we are heading in a complicated area so we should not play with that. As much on a transatlantic, it is not a drama, there I am going towards the difficult conditions that I will suffer, I will not choose what I will encounter. It’s important for me to feel safe going on my transom, and it’s also important to get things stuck back up and running for now. This descent is quite complicated, I’ve had a lot of squalls over the past two days, with the wind picking up, turning, so it’s no longer possible to do the planned course, with the question of changing the sails or not.

Boris Herrmann, Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco

I’m happy I have found a stable wind again, I’m upwind, the sea is fairly flat and there is a little sunshine. Yannick (Bestaven) is 2 or 3 miles behind me so it’s great, we’ve been talking on VHF since yesterday. Life is good but I’m a little tired, I slept little last night because the wind was turning in all directions, I changed sails, it was pretty hard. I had an unforgettable moment last night, we were really very close, there was a beautiful sunset, we are in the middle of the ocean for a world tour, it was magical. We were so close he could watch me change my sail from his cockpit. I’m taking it hour by hour right now, every time things change and the pilot regains control I’m happy.

Arnaud Boissières, La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle

What we saw from the start is unprecedented: whatever group of boats you are in, this is an unusual weather scenario. Afterwards, the bypass of Saint Helena is not classic but it does happen. But it’s true that the conditions have been strange, you have to adapt, I will try not to fall for it several times. There are a lot of similarities between the two hemispheres, you have to see the equator as a mirror. There are the north and south trade winds, the Saint Helena high, if we draw a parallel, we can say that it is like the Azores high to the north. The difference is that the climate will change when we go around it, it will quickly get cold. There, we are along the Brazilian coast, there are local weather phenomena that can disrupt the systems but also an impressive number of freighters and fishing boats.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia à 18 972,9 milles from finish
2. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut at 78,53 milles from leader
3.Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam! at 364,07 milles from leader
4. Kevin Escoffier, PRB at 453,11 milles from leader
5. Boris Herrmann, Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco at 475,51 milles from leader

Photo Credit : Boris Herrmann

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