The seat of the leader, Yannick Bestaven, is not a throne, but rather a rocking chair. All the attention today is on the advance of the skipper of Master CoQ IV along the ice barrier, a virtual line imposed by the Race Direction to limit the encounter of IMOCA with icebergs and growlers. Because if Yannick manages to slip into the East of the windless bubble, it’s the jackpot! He could widen the gap considerably with his pursuers Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant. Otherwise, it will be an eternal restart with a general regrouping …
In this meteorological configuration, the Antarctic Exclusion Zone or ice barrier does not at all facilitate navigation for the first “package” of this 9th Vendée Globe. Everyone would like to head south to bypass the vast area of high pressure that is coming right up to them, but they just don’t have the right, security demands. So you have to deal with it and maneuver, string together the changes of tack, “be on it” as the sailors say. Master CoQ and Apivia multiply the gybes in a position further south than LinkedOut. The night to come (the day for them) should be crucial.
Promise of better days for hunters
This area of weak and erratic winds concerns the first six. Behind, from GROUPE Apicil nothing should really stop them, at least the road will be less chaotic, much more direct with a good north-easterly flow to advance. “There will be a regrouping, it will come back strong from behind, it’s a bit annoying, but that’s the game” confided Benjamin Dutreux in a letter from the crew on Tuesday. Damien Seguin is ready to come back to the heart of the game: “I have the opportunity to come back. I am ready to fight. I’m waiting for the right time “he confided this morning. Maxime Sorel and Louis Burton also have every chance to pick up, while for Romain Attanasio and Clarisse Crémer, it is not at all on the agenda. Both are focused on how they will negotiate depression on Thursday, December 24. “I have to figure out if I’m going after the depression from behind or if I’m just waiting for the wind to catch me afterwards. I’m going to tack during the night, head north, ”explains Clarisse Crémer. The one who has a lot to gain from this unusual situation in the South Pacific is Armel Tripon on L’Occitane in Provence. The Nantais posted the best average speed of the fleet today: 446 miles swallowed in 24 hours compared to 257 for Thomas Ruyant. Numbers are better than a long speech. Tripon wrote this morning after entering the South Pacific: “To my right, Antarctica, a huge continent that I dream of seeing up close, and in front of me, far, far away, Cape Horn! Between us, a gigantic ocean and small boats on the water that I dream of overtaking! “. His dream will soon come true …
Didac Costa: 40 years old and a Cap Leeuwin!
The Barcelona firefighter, currently in 19th position, celebrates his 40th birthday this Tuesday, December 22 and should before midnight (UT) double the Australian course. On the ex-Kingfisher of Ellen MacArthur with whom she won the Route du Rhum 2002, the Catalan is enjoying his second Vendée Globe on the same boat. In his group of 5 IMOCAs, the game is as exciting as ahead of the fleet. Didac delivers a superb fight with the British Pip Hare, Stéphane Le Diraison, Manu Cousin and Arnaud Boissières, the leader of the small troop.
Two knights and an officer
Following the rescue of Kevin Escoffier on December 1st, the Minister of the Sea, Annick Girardin, yesterday informed Jean Le Cam, Jacques Caraës (Race Director) and Christophe Gaumont (President of the Race Committee) through ‘a visio, that they were going to be distinguished by the order of maritime merit. Jean Le Cam will be promoted to Officer in the Order of Maritime Merit, Jacques Caraës and Christophe Gaumont will have the privilege of being appointed Knights in the Order of Maritime Merit.
Romain Attanasio, Pure – Best Western
This morning, I passed between the island (Macquarie) and the pebble (Bishop). There was a plateau with 100 meters deep so I was a little worried about whether it was going to break, but there was no more than 2 meters of swell behind me so I gave it a go and it went well. I couldn’t see the island at all and at one point a ray of sunshine passed through the boat and when I got out it was super beautiful, it’s the first land I see from the start. We’ve been scanning the files for 2-3 days to find out how we’re going to get past those 50 knots upwind. We must try to find a passage to avoid this. I’m starting to see more clearly, we’ll see tomorrow. There, the wind eases. The night may be more complicated than the night before. We know that it will buffer a little, we will have to manage the speed. There are two options, either you have to go in, but that means take 50 knots upwind along the ice zone, which seems delusional to me, or go through the top of this low and it looks to settle down and not go so badly. I’m going on that and I think Clarisse (Crémer) too.
Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL
There are chances that we can pick up on the front, so I’m working hard on the weather to understand exactly what’s going to happen in the system we’re going to fall into with the high pressure and the level crossings. It requires getting a good understanding of all this, you have to be opportunistic and have a little bit of luck. Usually in high winds like this you need your fair share of luck. You’re going to have to be wide awake then. But that’s not the most interesting part, the approach to the high pressure area. It’s good to have a weather opportunity to be able to get back to the front of the race. I dropped out a bit from Jean (Le Cam) and Boris (Herrmann), I will come back to them and maybe to those who are ahead too. It will surely be a new beginning. It’s good that the rubber band doesn’t always tighten one way, it’s good that it relaxes and we come back. It will revive a little bit of suspense and stress, as I said, we will have to be ready.
Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2
I’m super happy to have returned there each time (in his mast, editor’s note) and not to have given up. I was on the verge of doing it, and I would have regretted it. I just changed the head sail because it has eased, and I’m about to send my mainsail up, for the first time in a month. I waited (to do so) for it to subside. The repair stands, for now. I did gybes, it didn’t break. The piece is much stronger than the previous one. I really need to send the mainsail up if I don’t want to be late in the system afterwards. In short, I am happy and happy! A depression is in front of me, I am going to slip underneath, along the AEZ. I’m going to go upwind, it won’t be a lot of fun, but 30 knots upwind is done. I am less handicapped in these engaged navigations, the boat is better in the fight than in the soft.
Rankings at 3pm French Time
|1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, at 10 314 milles from finish|
|2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 84.91 milles from leader|
|3. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, at 163 milles from leader|
|4. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, at 302.94 milles from leader|
|5. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, at 368.87 milles from leader|
Photo Credit : JM Liot
– PR –