VG2020 : change of head

Forced to brake to repair, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) conceded a lot of ground to Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), again leader. Just behind, Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ) is on the lookout. Higher up, the hunters navigate on sight and, armed with their cameras, deliver images of this totally incredible moment.

Yesterday, at the end of the day, Charlie Dalin heard a noise, really distinct from all the others in this very inhabited sound environment. Then he felt the boat slow down. The first nightly inspections were born from the findings: no waterway in the boat, but the damaged port foil system, around the lower hold – the reinforcement box in which the foil fits and which connects the foil and the hull of the boat.

Dalin a blow to the head
Since yesterday, a crisis unit has been set up in Concarneau, at Mer Concept, which oversees the destiny of the Apivia project. There were a lot of people around the table, including Antoine Carraz, the technical manager of Apivia, Antoine Gautier, the director of the design office and François Gabart, the boss of Mer Concept and not stingy with advice.

Since the end of the day on Monday and into the early hours of this afternoon, Charlie Dalin has put his way on hold, letting his boat drift gently to promote comfort during repairs. At around 1 p.m., Apivia resumed its journey, with a deficit of 121.9 miles behind on LinkedOut. It was Antoine Carraz, via the Apivia press service, who took stock of the situation at the end of the afternoon: “Charlie changed his trajectory in order to take advantage of favorable conditions to carry out the repair of the low hold of the port foil and it went well. The objective now is to validate the repair in the coming hours in order to spend more serenely in the Pacific Ocean. We therefore remain cautious and attentive for the next few hours, which will be crucial for the rest of Charlie’s race. “

Thomas Ruyant boss again!
Because during that time, Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) has taken back the controls, erasing like nothing his some 60 miles behind yesterday, and resisting, on the tack which is not favorable to him – he cannot press only partially on its port foil, headed – to the assaults of Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV). 9.1 miles separated the two men in the 3 pm standings – a straw. The slight shift in the north of Rochelais brings slight variations in sailing conditions. With a little more wind, but also a little more sea, with a half-foil less, but a lot of canvas and ballast to compensate, Thomas Ruyant was advancing a bit slower this afternoon than the skipper of Maître CoQ.

For the two men, diving south is still relevant. It allows them to get closer to the small depression sweeping the area, and thus come and rub shoulders with the ZEA, 100 miles below. Once in this area, the two (three) solo sailors will jibe, change tack – the leader pawns impatiently! – and knit their course eastward, the longitude of Tasmania, with New Zealand in the sights. The objective will be to hold out as long as possible in this north-westerly flow and to stay, if possible, ahead of this front, where the wind is more regular and the sea less choppy. What to hope to make the foils sing in some exhilarating slides …

The incredible regrouping
Solitary, they are not really. If they had gotten into the habit of sailing together (yes, that’s a navy term), the hunters, when they slipped into the corner of the Australian shelf in the ice zone, carried out a regrouping in due form. So much so that the Vendée lunch hour was enlivened by a series of videos from Bureau Vallée 2, Groupe APICIL, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco and OMIA – Water Family. Over the course of several hours, the skippers shared the images of this exceptional meeting in uncharted territory, 13,000 miles from Les Sables d’Olonne and the Solitaire du Figaro playground! The images are available in the race server.

Let’s see the figures: 426 miles from the lead, the 4th, Jean le Cam (Yes We Cam!) Is 0.9 miles ahead of Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), 1.2 miles on Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco), 1.9 miles on Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA – Water Family) and 3.2 on Damien Seguin (APICIL Group), 8th! The trotting session that united them ended up giving way to a slightly more muscular session, the speeds having gradually increased this afternoon. But, confined between the ZEA and the Mascarene high pressure area in their north, the hunters have very little room to find cross-roads.

Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) and Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best Western) are getting closer to Cap Leeuwin. They still have some way to go to get there, but the tandem could, provided they keep an average of 14 knots, erase the second of three capes tomorrow at the same time. They would then be the 12th and 13th to cross Leeuwin. Some 400 miles further behind, Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) is doing what he can to get ahead of one of the pockets of the Mascarene high pressure system. 15th, Alan Roura (La Fabrique) was advancing at a very good pace today (20.6 knots over 4 hours in the 3 pm ranking), carried by winds of 20 knots which, icing on the dry cake, push the high pressure towards ballast.

For the last group, it will be necessary to keep a careful eye on the Kerguelen area, which a very hairy depression is about to visit (Thursday?). In the same way, Christian Dumard (Great Circle), the weatherman of the Vendée Globe, has already put the other eye on the hurricane activity which is agitated, on the side of Fiji.


Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV

Oh boy, you can’t know how happy I am! It’s been a week since I had a tear on my J2, it was crippling me. I took advantage of this morning because it was a little less windy and less seaous to go up there and put on a patch. I am sweating but happy! It had been bothering me for days, I could tell I had a tear, I couldn’t use my J2. I had my little gennaker, but no longer all-terrain sailing to be safe. I had prepared all my necessary parts at the bottom, pieces of Cuben, acetone, sikaflex, glue, scissors… I put myself full tail wind, I unrolled the J2 against so that the sail laying on the mast. And then I put on my helmet, my climbing climbers, I took a little Doliprane because I have a little sciatica and I was like “Come on, have to go up, it’s now or never”. It’s a victory, I have a perfect boat now, like at the start of Sables d’Olonne. It’s nice ! I must have stopped for an hour and a half, full of tailwind at five knots. Champagne! I didn’t say anything to anyone, but it got in my head! For our little group it’s good, we never stopped. We will get wind as we go, and we will have more wind along the ice zone. We will continue to widen the gap on the rear group, that’s the goal. I saw that the bubble was going to catch up with us, that’s why I spread it with the little gennaker on the edge, it wasn’t comfortable and I had to be careful anyway. We had to follow so as not to be in the bubble with no wind behind. I don’t know about Charlie Dalin, but I could tell he was slowing down. I am not surprised ! They are faster boats, they should have better averages than me. I suspected he had a problem. On the other hand, I find that Thomas Ruyant is good anyway. My foils are not very big, but they are strong!

Jean le Cam, Yes We Cam!

Normally the wind will pick up gradually as we head south. We emerge from the infernal zone. Things are starting to improve, we already have 7 knots of wind. But, we are not going to complain all the time! One stroke, there is too much, one stroke not enough. The pace depends on our schedule and the sail changes. There, I just slept for an hour, it’s not bad at all… Barely awake, you immediately look where the other is. Benjamin Dutreux is really not far away. He’s doing really well, he’s not slackening. I am surrounded by people who are not slacking off, it should not be counted on! It annoys me anyway, right now he’s going faster than me, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Put more canvas maybe, but don’t get carried away.

Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL

I tinkered with the boat, I worked on the J2, I climbed the mast a bit. It’s surprisingly hot: 17 ° by 47 ° south! I air the boat. It’s amazing, I take advantage of it, it dries up. The transition is “on-off” compared to what we have experienced in recent days: things were going fast, we were averaging 17 knots, there it is in free fall. I climbed half mast, I had a halyard to check. There is sea, it is not easy to do. I fixed the zip on my J2 and got a good shake. I had two seams to do, and there’s no point in worrying about the setup when it’s not windy. You might as well do the repairs that will save you time later. We can see the soft zone shifting to the east, we will eventually come out. Anyway, I have no plans to buy land here! I can’t wait to move on and sail the Pacific. The passage of Cape Leeuwin. For a rookie like me, that’s great, plus I had Jean le Cam next to me, we were getting out of hand. Each time it’s a new discovery. I’m really happy to be there, I see a lot of boats having problems, I managed to make the major repairs which threatened the continuity of the race, I am very happy. Every day there is a surprise. We know that a Vendée Globe can stop overnight. The moments of calm, it is worth it to control the boat, to put the race in parentheses to preserve the race mode for the future. There are large algae floating in the water, no birds, no dolphins, it lacks politeness in the area!

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOutà 12 595.6 milles de l’arrivée
2. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV à 9.14 milles du leader
3. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, à 121.87 milles du leader
4. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, à 426.01 milles du leader
5. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, à 426.95 milles du leader

Photo Credit : Pierre Bouras

Tags on NauticNews : Vendée GlobeVG2020

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