VG2020 : grouped together

What a scenario! Never in the history of the Vendée Globe has there been so little difference at this stage of the race: 10 boats in 712 miles (from Maître CoQ IV to V and B – Mayenne). In these tactical weather conditions, Cape Horn, which the first could reach on January 2 or 3, should see a flock of IMOCA follow one another at the foot of its lighthouse. Remember: 800 miles separated Armel Le Cléac’h from Alex Thomson in 2016 on the return route to the start of the South Atlantic, and in the end 15 hours behind the finish. We are already dreaming of an incredible finish at Les Sables d’Olonne at the start of 2021 …

Christmas without distancing in the southern seas

How to position yourself in relation to the anticyclone which blocks the road? Will Yannick Bestaven manage to escape from this high pressure area? Here are the two questions of the day, to which the answers are neither straightforward nor clear. Even the first concerned is sailing a little on sight: “If I manage to escape, it can be muddy but it’s hard to say, I will be the first to arrive in high pressure areas and also the first to go out, normally! »Explained Yannick Bestaven at the 10am session this morning. Thomas Ruyant for his part, scratches his head adjusting the weather models three times a day: “We still have pressure for a little while, but the more we go forward, the rarer it will be. I hope Yannick (Bestaven) doesn’t take the edge off. The only thing certain is that this great windless mass is moving towards the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, right on the IMOCA route and should compress all these little people. The image of the Pacific Ocean and its long surfs on the backs of depressions takes a hit. At the moment, it’s more gybes and wooden horses trotting along the ice barrier.

Between two depressions

It occupies the minds of three sailors. This famous red band which descends from New Zealand is a fairly deep depression generating gusts of over 40 knots. Romain Attanasio, Clarisse Crémer and now Louis Burton who lost 400 miles following his courageous pit-stop at Macquarie (3 mast climbs and successful repairs) will have to do the big back to manage between Wednesday and Thursday north-easterly winds ( they will therefore be close-hauled and strong and a sea clad with embankments. “You must not go too fast so as not to get caught in the worst of the depression” launched Romain Attanasio in a video sent from the ship. “Too bad, I will be caught from behind, but I’ll slow down. It’s not very logical, I’m having a hard time doing that ”explained Clarisse Crémer the day before yesterday. For Louis Burton, the program is the opposite: whip now to get past the depression before it comes in the way.

Destremau at the mercy of a big helm problem

Everyone is racing ahead of Cape Leeuwin in excellent weather conditions to swallow the miles. Everyone, except Sébastien Destremau, who is struggling with his multiple helm and autopilot problems, his boat jumping into unpredictable and nervously hellish swerves for the Toulonnais. “We can say that it’s starting to smell like fir and I frankly don’t have many other options than to bring Merci back to the nearest port… That being said, we are never safe from a good surprise! Sébastien wrote this morning. The skipper leaves room for doubt as to his will to continue or not, or even to take shelter to repair in Australia. Its northern trajectory will protect it from the nervousness of the Great South: a big depression should shake the Kerguelen next Thursday.


Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One

I learned that the boat is really, really important, especially after my mainsail damage. I pay much more attention to the boat. Compared to the races I have done before, I study my weather forecast better. It’s reassuring to know more about what will happen in the coming days. It’s funny: this is the first time that I have participated in a race with a boat like this, but I find the time long. It took a long time to get past the Cape of Good Hope, and even there, I’m not yet halfway there. Honestly, I find the time long, but it’s funny. I didn’t think I would feel that way out here on the open sea. I’m having fun too! I’m the only skipper concerned about going under Japan, and it will do me good! The enthusiasm is growing around our project, it is motivating. The name Vendée Globe is known in Japan, it is no longer just a race around the world. It’s great to be able to feel the excitement building in me.

Isabelle Joschke, MACSF

For the past few days, I’ve been having anthology nights. It’s sunny, the temperatures are pleasant, the start of the afternoon is very pleasant! I take advantage, because at the end of the day, when the day falls, it is freezing cold, and the interventions on the bridge are hard in the cold. I am enjoying these rather cool moments, the sea has been mild for several days and I am refueling. Coming out of the Indian, I felt tension in my back, although I have had very little since the start of the race. The cause was a big cumulative fatigue following a lot of interventions and a big lack of sleep. I feel like I have fully recovered, both muscled and structurally, it’s going really well. I eat a lot too, because I am hungry, the cold requires to swallow calories to warm up. All this makes that, slowly, I acclimatize myself after the very hard times.

Maxime Sorel, V and B – Mayenne

On the saling side, for now, it’s a big ‘straight ahead’ along the Antarctic exclusion zone. And then a little before Christmas, a depression will pass at the bottom of the buttocks. I have to whip for this to pass. If it does not pass, it will be the tragedy: I ​​will be almost forced to slow down to let it pass. I have been sailing on my own for a while, dragging my foot following… and I am alone to make my decisions, since I rarely have the same system as the others (in front and behind). The conditions are pretty good, it’s windy, which is quite unstable, but the sea is not too messy. And there are little birds everywhere! This morning (or is it afternoon? I’m lost with TU time), I passed south of Macquarie Island. I knew there were rocks, the Bishops, but I thought they were flush with the water.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, at 10 574.8 milles from finish
2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 112.95 milles from leader
3. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, at 153.14 milles from leader
4. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, at 362.68 milles from leader
5. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, at 389.57 milles from leader

Photo Credit : M.Sorel

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