VG2020 : A new trio at the head of the fleet

Since the passage of the Finnish skipper, Ari Huusela, at the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope this afternoon, the 27 IMOCAs still in the race are now all sailing in the Indian Ocean on a great garland of 3,700 miles long. And if this 9th Vendée Globe did not set out to break speed records (Le Cléac’h and Thomson were already at the longitude of New Zealand during the Vendée Globe 2016 on the 34th day of racing), the intensity of the regatta is in full swing: the dice are raised in the lead and sacred brawls take place on all floors.

Yannick Bestaven on the attack!

“We got out of this strong wind regime so I took the opportunity to attack. For 48 hours, I have been sailing at 100% of the boat’s potential ”explained this morning at the vacation the skipper of Maître CoQ, cheerful as a chaffinch, back like a bullet 10 miles from Thomas Ruyant. Charlie Dalin, in the lead since November 23, sees his throne tremble, after having slowed down considerably in an area of ​​weak winds. He was 285 miles ahead 3 days ago, he’s only 80! “I’m not of a nature to complain but between the gust of wind that I am the only one to have caught myself and now the calm that I am alone in taking myself, it is starting to weigh on me a bit. That’s enough ! »Cursed Le Havrais this morning.

Hunters who know how to hunt

It comes back from behind because there is more wind, and it slows down in front: it is the principle of the elastic band which relaxes and generates a regrouping. The first 11 monohulls of 18.28 m are held in 500 miles from Dalin to Sorel and in this beleaguered troop an incredible duel takes place between two boats with “straight” daggerboards. Groupe APICIL, 4th, and Yes We Cam !, 5th, launched in 2007 and prepared with small onions by Jean Le Cam’s team, never let go of a sole, the skippers even chatting on VHF. There was also a good fight between Isabelle Joschke and Boris Herrmann, separated by 6 miles in the scoreboard, Isa posting the second best average speed in the last 24 hours: 18.6 knots against 18.8 knots for Yannick Bestaven. For this group of hunters, now is the time to give their all not to be caught up by the expanding Mascarene High pressures system and get on the low pressure train coming from Australia!

Platoons and potatoes hunters from Good Hope to Kerguelen

Behind the duel between Romain Attanasio (who tore his big gennaker this morning) and Clarisse Crémer, two solo sailors are sailing alone far from their playmates: Armel Tripon on L’Occitane En Provence north of Kerguelen and Alan Roura to the north of the Crozet archipelago. In a potato hunt, the two men try to catch up with the breakaways, leaving behind 12 boats off Madagascar and South Africa battling in areas of weak and irregular winds. Last night, Sébastien Destremau and Jérémie Beyou met very closely and exchanged a few words. The skipper of Charal is finally rediscovering the joys of racing around the globe! For all, navigation east rhymes with confusing jetlag: “The solar time shift happens extremely quickly. We change solar time almost every hour. Dawn arrives around 9 p.m. UT! It’s quite confusing, ”confides Charlie Dalin, the leader and therefore the most easterly of the 9th Vendée Globe fleet.

Charlie Dalin, Apivia

Yesterday I saw my lead melt away visibly. I went through a soft spot. It had been a while since I had spotted him on the maps and I wasn’t sure how to approach him. Avoiding it made a huge detour. On paper, I had less than 8 knots of wind in it. I had phases at 3 knots. There, I found some wind, 25 knots, gusts to 30, I made 26/27 knots for an hour. But when I go too far, I find myself in areas where there is less wind. I had to wait for the wind to catch up with me again to start again. I move forward as the wind picks up. Behind it is more established with a slightly better angle. I think the bleeding has stabilized a bit, but it’s not completely stopped, chances are I will continue to lose a few miles for a while. It’s like that ! Hope this is the last episode. It will eventually stabilize. I’m doing my best to go fast but unfortunately I get caught up by my pursuers and things will continue for a bit.

Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV

It’s okay, the sea is pretty well tidy, I have around 20 knots with occasional squalls. The conditions are a bit irregular but it’s ok. We got out of this strong wind regime so I took the opportunity to attack. For 48 hours, I have been sailing at 100% of the boat’s potential. I can do that because the boat is in perfect condition and then I can go fast and rest at the same time so it’s pretty neat. I’m sailing with the maximum canvas the boat can handle at this speed, so I have a small gennaker and a mainsail with a reef or not. Before, the sea was really in bad shape, we crashed in the waves, so we couldn’t go fast, now we can be full and that’s nice. I bumped a little bit all over the boat, it was very uncomfortable. I took hits on the neck, head, back, because the boat was jumping all over the place. It was physically and morally hard, but the guy did well.

Jérémie Beyou, Charal

I had a good day yesterday, I finally got back to the peloton. It feels good to see people around. I just had Sébastien Destremau on the VHF, it was nice to talk to someone face to face too. This is the goal I set for myself before the start. Before Bonne-Espérance, I wanted to link up with the front group. First objective fulfilled. It was important to me. And then having found the resources to move the boat properly to that point. These are small victories, we must take advantage of them… Good after: 24 days to go to Bonne-Espérance… that’s a lot! The weather was not good for us. Nevertheless we are there. I hope the rest will be easier anyway. The sea and wind conditions were quite severe until this morning. I can’t wait to be quiet in front of a front so I can move the boat more easily. We are crossing paths with Seb. He’s three miles ahead of me, but I can’t seem to keep him in sight with the sea hugging the sky. I will also be jibing in a little while, we will be on the same trajectory.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 13 710.6 milles from finish
2. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, at 81.48 milles from leader
3. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, at 97.38 milles from leader
4. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, at 222.23 milles from leader
5. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, at 230.37 milles fom leader

Photo Credit : Yannick Bestaven

Tags on NauticNews : Vendée GlobeVG2020

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