VG2020 : a high pressure system that can change everything

The Vendée Globe plays part of its outcome around the high pressure which has constrained the head of the fleet for two days after having threatened it for a long time. This high pressure area is causing reunions and separations. Courted by all, it will make people happy and unhappy (in greater numbers, obviously). But it is impossible to say, on this day, who will be delighted and who will be married.

For several days, three men have been wooing a high pressure area in the hope of winning their favor (one of them potentially able to escape thanks to her), while, further on, two women and seven other men weigh on the shoulders of this same high pressure their hopes of a return. This vaudeville in the Pacific wouldn’t be perfect if it weren’t completely unpredictable.

This anticyclone will not easily get rid of the three leading men, as it slides eastward and accompanies them at roughly the same speed – unless the three solo sailors advance at roughly the same speed as the high? – for a while now.

The separation could take place on December 26, under the combined effect of the rise of the Antarctic exclusion zone, which influences the trajectory of the runners, and the occurrence of a low pressure coming from the North and which winds around the over their heads. In the meantime, Yannick Bestaven, Charlie Dalin (90 miles behind) and Thomas Ruyant(180 miles from the leader) must deal with the light airs of the moment… and find a new wind.

Wait or seek the new wind

And this is where the theoretical schemes differ. Ahead of the high pressure, and therefore likely to come out of its influence, Yannick Bestaven (Master CoQ IV) is supposed to fetch his new wind which is on the edge of a small depression coming from the north-west.

Because located on the fringe or in the west of the high pressure zone, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) would only have to wait to find a new wind, which will come to them naturally, since the phenomena weather forecast flow from West to East.

Their trajectories could be rectilinear, excluding readjustments and negotiations with the variations in angle and wind force which are the norm in high pressure borders.

According to one of the routings proposed this morning by Christian Dumard and Sébastien Josse, we could therefore see Yannick Bestaven going up very north to get this wind, in the right angle, then come down again to draw a nice tree. If the weather records are correct, this strategic move could give Master CoQ IV a definite advantage within three days. On the other hand, if the weather files are slightly offset by a hundred miles, or late, Yannick Bestaven could then have traveled a lot for little gain … if at all.

The “probable scenario” rather sends the leader on what is called a pivot route, the result of the transaction between the optimal trajectory and marking in the breeches dictated by the rule of the regatta which says that it is better to leave a. weather system one mile ahead and 100 meters behind.

The developments on Wednesday afternoon did not say much more: while Charlie Dalin sails with his right elbow glued to the virtual safety barrier (barely 22 miles), Yannick Bestaven has strayed from it about 150 miles. In retreat, Thomas Ruyant has retreated to the North, where he will soon find a little more pressure. This morning, Yannick Bestaven said that it was the Northerner’s trajectory that he feared the most …

Isabelle Joschke biding her time

Currently eighth in this Vendée Globe, after 45 days of racing, Isabelle Joschke has a terrific race; and the Franco-German would not hate not to stop there. The sequence of weather systems still seems to favor a regrouping of the fleet in the days to come. If all do not end up side to side as was the case between Cape Leeuwin and Tasmania (Le Cam, Dutreux, Seguin, Herrmann, Burton), the gaps are supposed to reduce considerably between the leader of the race and the group of hunters of which MACSF is part, on the one hand, and between this same group and the game wardens that are Clarisse Crémer, Romain Attanasio and Armel Tripon, who are making a strong comeback in the game.

Joined this afternoon in the Vendée Live, Isabelle Joschke recounted her moment and those to come: “I am sailing southwest of a high pressure area and soon, I will be joining this high pressure area like the competitors sailing close to me. Over time, the wind will lighten, and it will buffer ahead, with the boats coming back from behind: they will have more wind and will be faster for a few hours. We will have to navigate in the center of the anticyclone or in its border, depending on how we have been able to negotiate that, but it will not be a very fast or very pleasant passage: there will be little wind and it is frustrating not to not be able to move forward. It’s part of the game ”.

The MACSF sailor, who is racing her first Vendée Globe, continues her apprenticeship in the great South and, carried by a confidence that swells test after test, she enjoys her pleasure of being at sea: “Clearly, confidence is back, I feel better in the southern seas than when I first entered the Indian Ocean. There are conditions that I managed to tame, but there are still some fears. Cape Horn, I’m going to see in what conditions I’m going to pass it, because it can be a big chunk. As much as I suffered from the Indian, so much I enjoy the Pacific. It’s the opposite of the first few weeks ”.

We’ll all go to Tasmania (or not)

To be fairer, Sébastien Destremau will stop there. It is now planned and it will undoubtedly represent the last chance for the skipper of Merci to complete his second Vendée Globe in the race. Its patched-up helm system lacks the reliability you need to navigate the great blue desert between New Zealand and Cape Horn. As the sailor advances, at the 40th parallel south in pleasant conditions, the brothers scramble to find what, among the equipment on board, could help recreate a more reliable steering system.

“In the state in which it is today, it is not reasonable to envisage continuing the Vendée Globe without a stop. After that, will this stop be a retirement and a chase out of the race, or a stop to reinforce what I have done: I do not have the answer “.

Really, no one has it.


Maxime Sorel, V and B – Mayenne

Some have told me it won’t go through, but in fact the depression is getting behind me: I did well to whip and do my own thing. It’s cool because I won’t have too harsh conditions and behind that they’ll slow down. It also comes back to those in front. It should pick up, I’ve done my routings, not everyone else’s yet. I feel like I have more wind so of course I’ll pick up. We are watching two other depressions which are ahead and which seem a little simpler with a second which should even bring us to Cape Horn. If we can get together and vote to keep this weather pattern fixed, I’m a taker! I think that foiling boats which had to go very fast do not go fast. Our drift boats are clearly ahead. I had planned to do the tour in 90 days, but now, if I continue like this, I’ll save less. There are two rooms, two atmospheres. In front of… and us.

Armel Tripon, L’Occitane en Provence

The conditions are really nice. For the first time in three weeks, the sea is flat and the boat is slowing down a bit. There is no more noise, it is relaxing. This is a transitional phase, it will last about 12 hours, I will be able to take the opportunity to tinker. The best part is overtaking the boats! It’s a good transition there, with a package that will slow down. I glue back to boats. There are small improvements, as always, but overall the boat is super well designed in terms of ergonomics and ease of maneuvering. I’m always within easy reach of a handrail, which is great for safety.

Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco

I think we’re going to have to go north, we’re moving behind the high pressure system. We are stuck and we depend on him. There is nothing we can do to go faster. It really puts a line between others and us. If the others leave, they will be well ahead. Thomas (Ruyant) could get eaten faster and end up with us. I am calm and stressed at the same time, but I am less stressed than in Saint Helena where there were a lot of possible options, and therefore a lot of issues. I was afraid of doing a bad job, but it went well. There, there is not really this issue: Jean Le Cam is in my axis, Benjamin Dutreux comes up to us. I don’t think there are really any other options, the only difficulty is that we are going to lose a lot of ground from the podium, but there is still a long way to go, so a lot can still happen.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, at 10 091,8 milles from finish
2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 90,8 milles from leader
3. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, at 182 milles from leader
4. Boris Herrmann, Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, at 358,2 milles from leader
5. Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA – Water Family, at 362,1 milles from leader

Photo Credit : I.Joschke

Tags on NauticNews : Vendée Globe, VG2020

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