VG2020 : the race of the bull through the (wind) fields

Since the ranking of Wednesday 23 December at 3 p.m., Jérémie Beyou has been crossing the Indian Ocean at an average speed of 19.5 knots. In 48 hours, the skipper of Charal had swallowed 750 miles and, in doing so, he passed in turn Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) and Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean), now showing himself threatening in the wake of Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans).

This sequence is the very first in which the full power of the latest generation foilers is expressed, over a longer time than the speed runs of L’Occitane in Provence, which has demonstrated its excellence in surfing.

On a relatively flat sea, in 20 knots of wind and at 120 ° from this south-westerly wind which pushes the fleet towards the East, the destination of the moment, and this until Cape Horn, Charal runs, swallows and tumbles with the hope of integrating the first half of the ranking by Les Sables-d’Olonne.

Nothing has been spared the favorite. The first banderilla, planted in the side of the racehorse on November 11, caused a return to Les Sables for repair. A sheet return pulley, an impact with an UFO and the breakage of a runner-up (cable which supports the mast from the rear), probably caused by the first damage which caused carbon shards that became weapons by destination caused Charal to return to the port for three days of repair. And, no less than the leader of the race, who had already made good progress, Jérémie Beyou took advantage of favorable weather systems to help him return, all the way to the Cape of Good Hope.

Since entering the Indian Ocean, the three-time winner of the Solitaire du Figaro has erased 8 competitors still in the race. And since that night, he’s been in 19th place. If he is still far from what he could hope for by setting off on Sunday 8 November at 2:20 p.m., the favorite of this Vendée Globe now combines the idea of ​​performance with the adventurous dimension of the Vendée Globe, of which he does not. had not until then imagined that he could be confronted with it.

At latitude 46 ° S, Charal is still on the axis of Stewart Island, the southern tip of New Zealand, 1300 miles away. But his first objective will be to reach the longitude of Tasmania, 500 miles straight ahead, to enter the Pacific and write a new page in his epic.

The beautiful streak should go on for a bit. This Friday, December 25, Jérémie Beyou was still advancing at a good pace behind a small anticyclone in its North-West and in front of the front of a depression pushing from the South-West.

If the skipper of Charal still remains very high, it is no doubt because he refuses to put his nose in the strong winds of the low pressure which is reaching its south and which is moving at a good pace. In 48 hours, according to the weather files available at this time, this low will settle against the high pressure which protects New Zealand and the America’s Cup. In the meantime, Charal will have had no choice but to enter the arena, and come out from behind. There, the sea will be more disturbed, and Jérémie Beyou will have to wait a bit.

Joined in the morning session, Jérémie Beyou was already anticipating the situation: “I hope all the same that after the front has passed us, the sea will not be too crossed. It should still make me overflow Tasmania and thus enter the Pacific, but this depression that we have seen on the weather files for several days is not really attractive: we will take 40 knots with gusts to 50 knots. ! And a little crosswind at first. My objective remains the same: to pass Cape Horn with a boat in good condition. By not being too far from the group that is in front of me now: Pip Hare, Arnaud Boissières and Alan Roura. Afterwards, in the ascent of the Atlantic, there will be places to be made … “

On this Christmas day, the solo sailor received heartwarming messages: his transatlantic partner Christopher Pratt, Yann Eliès, lifelong friend-rival, Franck Cammas and the winner of the Vendée Globe 2016, Armel Le Cléac’h, gave him their support. Everyone is aware of the flexibility that their “buddy” must show to tolerate the big gap that is imposed on him, between his long-standing ambitions and his current concerns …

Short-headed Dalin

Good winds beautiful sea, in the south, on one side; deep sea and 25 knots in a depression on the other. Approximately 200 miles in latitude, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and Yannick Bestaven (Master CoQ IV) do not go through the same streak. New leader, since the midday standings, Charlie Dalin has been knitting upwind in the light wind of the high pressure on the ice area. If he was on a direct course until this morning, the Norman climbed north to avoid the heart of the high pressure. Further north, in choppy seas, the Arcachonnais de Coeur is also moving at low speed. Its scenario is to cross the severe depression in which it is involved and to come out from above to find the wind shift, to point the bow to the South-East and to readjust on the most natural trajectory towards the Cape Horn.

Will he agree to follow through on the plan? Will he choose to tip earlier, even if it means losing a little ground, but to preserve the boat? The idea of ​​Master CoQ IV taking a pivotal road that would allow him to stay in control (his second place is only theoretical) must be trotting in the back of his mind. At the game of whoever makes the fewest mistakes, Yannick Bestaven has excelled since the start of this Vendée Globe, and the choice he makes will necessarily be the right one.

The routings shared daily by Christian Dumard (Great Circle) and Sébastien Josse, the Vendée Globe navigation consultant, have, for the first time in a long time, shown that the leading boats are, in reality, faster than in theory. . Thus, the estimate made of the passage of the leader at Cape Horn saved a day in 24 hours. Announced on January 3, the leaders should finally pass on January 2 … but we are still far from benefiting from clear weather patterns on D + 4.

Like the first two, Thomas Ruyant is doing with the means at hand, and above all depending on the weather situation that is proposed to him, which has been slightly different for the past three to four days. Behind the high pressure area which is vegetating over the AEZ, the skipper of LinkedOut had to climb north to avoid the soft winds, and he saw his gap with the leader gradually increase. His northern route, faced with the still very southern position of the pack of hunters, made him downgrade in the standings. But the Northerner is already at the right angle to the wind and as he descends to the south he will regain his place on the podium.

With what delay? It was that question that made him grumble this morning on the phone. “The situation for me is really not obvious. I’m a bit like the ‘turkey of the farce’: it starts from the front, it sticks together from behind. The choices are difficult. The question arises as to whether I will continue north to catch the downwinds of this low or if I will continue upwind, it’s not straightforward. It’s a special Christmas morning, I’m having a hard time getting through it. It’s not simple morally. In front of Yannick (Bestaven) and Charlie (Dalin) will head off, they will have a good head start at Cape Horn. I’m in the situation that no one wants to be in. A lot will still happen, but I am well aware that what is happening there is a weather situation that will be important for the rest of the race. It will give an advantage of 400 to 500 miles for the first boats. The road is long and I will not give up, I will stay 100% until the end “.

In short

In the group led by Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco), it will be necessary to choose between the direct route along the AEZ, and in small steps, or a beginning of ascent towards the North. 8th, Benjamin Dutreux knows he will have to climb: the performance of his close range sails is not in line with those of his rivals, and he will soon condition his route to the paces where OMIA – Water Family is at ease.

The big winner of the last 24 hours is Maxime Sorel (V and B – Mayenne), who has come 25 miles from Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group), himself 30 miles from Dutreux. The other elected official is Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), who is again less than 500 miles behind Apivia.

After being considerably shaken by the winds from the rear of the depression that cut her off, Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) is finally free! With Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best Western Hotels and Resorts) and Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence), are now entitled to a session of medium to light winds.

From Alan Roura (La Fabrique) to Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean), things are going well.

21st, Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG Mori Global One) attempts a blow by heading south for the sustained winds of the oncoming low just past the AMSA area of ​​the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. Finally, in a video, Sébastien Destremau showed his new repairs to his helm system; he’s worried about a hydraulic system.


Clarisse Crémer, Banque Populaire X

Merry Christmas ! I didn’t have much of a party spirit but it does me good to relax, open my foie gras and wish you a Merry Christmas! Until then it seemed far removed from all that. I managed to stay right behind the depression. What I had underestimated a little – probably the lack of experience – was the sea state just on the edge of the center of the low. I had never had the boat banging like that. I had 27 knots and I was like ‘Shit, I’m not going to be able to slow down enough’. There was 6 meters of swell. But I did well. I was at two on time when I had to go upwind: in 10 knots of wind, I had two reefs in the mainsail and the J3, my smallest front sail. The last resort was to set the sail forward, but I didn’t have to. It wasn’t very fun. I was really backwards from the final goal. Yesterday I was not being smart, it was hitting so hard that I was not even on all fours in the boat. I exploded on my back back in the cockpit on my way to do a little bit of maneuvering. It got my morale down, you quickly think to yourself ‘What the hell am I doing here?’. But, in the end, it’s more fear than harm, I come away with a big bruise on my back. It just hurts a little when I’m lying down. I didn’t have a great Christmas. I hope to be able to make up for it: I passed the antimeridian a dozen hours ago, so if we take the time of the people who live at my longitude, for them it is the evening of the 24th, there, if I’m not talking nonsense. So I can still celebrate Christmas for 24 hours!

Alexia Barrier, TSE – 4myPlanet

I’m a bit slow compared to Clément (Giraud) and Miranda (Merron), but it’s a choice because I needed to slow down a bit to do some tinkering. And on top of that, I blew up my gennaker! It is not very serious in itself because it is a cool day today: the sun rose on a beautiful blue sky on Christmas day… And then I needed to rest after a few passages active front. So I take my time before going back to full cash. Good… I wanted to pass Cape Leeuwin for Christmas, but it will be more December 26 or 27. It does not matter: a second milestone on the clock is great! It always makes me funny to look on the map of countries that I don’t know: Australia which is huge, New Zealand where there is the America’s Cup at the moment… I no longer had it. used to have a land so close to my boat. And then when I see the name of the Pacific Islands, it makes me dream! It’s super cold and when the sky is gray it makes for a special atmosphere… It’s really a strange place in the Indian Ocean. The contrast between what you experience on land and what you see at sea on the other side of the planet, it’s incredible … And this is my first Christmas at sea! And it will be the same for New Years Day!

Rankings at 3pm French Time

1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 9729.63 milles from finish
2. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 28.59 milles from leader
3. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, 235.19 milles from leader
4. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, 240.65 milles from leader
5. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 256.35 milles from leader

Photo Credit : G.Lebec

Tags on NauticNews : Vendée GlobeVG2020

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