Charlie Dalin’s return to the forefront will only have lasted for a moment! Yannick Bestaven was well in tune with the arrival of a forming low pressure which he sought far in the North, to “descend” with it to the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ), and even further. Thomas Ruyant is relegated to more than 300 miles and the hunters’ peloton is still skating in front of the high pressure bubble which has stretched like a scoubidou … Master CoQ IV takes off!
In the end, there were only two classifications this Saturday morning in favor of Charlie Dalin (Apivia), significantly more southerly than the real leader. Because by dint of seeking the favorable breeze far north, Yannick Bestaven (Master CoQ IV) had to leave the leadership to his most tenacious hunter. But there you have it: once the low pressure center has grazed, the only thing left to do is slide south-east in a still strong wind (25-30 knots) and very rough seas to find the edge approaching Cape Horn.
And the “dolphin” might well crop up in this north-easterly flow, it was still 90 miles from the leader’s track with, in addition, a barrier in front of the bow, the AEZ. The yellow foiler will therefore have to cross-border in the early morning (French time) on Sunday and thus lose even more of its splendor, ie a few hundred miles if the Rochelais crosses this “wall of ice”. Answer on Sunday morning, but it only takes a slight rotation of the breeze to the northeast for the way to open up for him …
It is at the end of the fair that we count the dung …
And by then, so much can change, the positions seem to be frozen: Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) was Saturday afternoon about to bypass the low pressure center and could come back very strong if it is only a bubble forms on its way. As for the peloton of hunters led this time by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!), It does not manage to pierce the anticyclonic bladder and when it will finally shift towards the South, it will be a headwind to skirt the AEZ… Isn’t that why Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) chose to extricate himself from the group for a 90 ° edge of the road, due north?
The option is courageous, especially when no one dares to follow, but it should pay off by noon Sunday when the flow becomes portable for him. So why did the other seven competitors not choose this path? For Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), the objective was above all to pick up the pieces: when a week ago, the Malouin left Macquarie Island where he had been able to restore shine to his monohull damaged by the ‘Indian, he conceded 500 miles. And he’s only got a hundred left on the chasing playmaker! Gold for Jean Le Cam, Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco), Damien Seguin (APICIL Group), Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), Maxime Sorel (V and B-Mayenne) and Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group), le chemin le sometimes shorter is better.
It’s a long way to…
We will therefore have to wait until the end of the weekend to get a better idea of who is doing what and where everyone is positioned. Because at the end of this boost in the lead, it is very likely that there will be a slowdown which would once again redistribute the cards with a general regrouping before entering the funnel of Cape Horn. Moreover, everything suggests that the “scow” of Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) will still benefit from ideal conditions for flying on its foils: by the time it hangs up Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X), then the hunters, it’s only a giant step… certainly, but 3,500 miles before the Drake Strait, anything seems possible!
It is Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia) who seem to be the most on the sidelines: a violent depression from Australia will cut their hair the next night (French time) before evacuating to the Antarctica, but leaving behind a very active front between the Oceanian continent and New Zealand! This is the reason why the Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa trio shot straight on 45 ° South from the Australian AMSA field and why Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) moved even further north.
And for the following ones, the weather situation is rather favorable with an almost generalized flow from the West in the Indian Ocean. In the end, it does not advance very quickly in the lead, it then restarts, it beats in the middle and it rolls out in the tail… Around the world what!
Alan Roura, keel damage
Alan Roura informed his team on Saturday morning, December 26 that he was again the victim of an oil leak from one of the two hydraulic cylinders of his sailboat. It was after a jibe in 30 knots of wind that one of the hoses of the hydraulic system would have dropped, at the end of the keel, the appendix then falling sharply downwind. This is the second time that the Swiss sailor has encountered this kind of problem, after a first leak and the change of the said hose on November 28. Alan has already stabilized the situation by managing to block the keel in its axis, thus seriously affecting the performance of his boat, but ensuring her safety on board. In close consultation with his technical team in order to identify any collateral damage and the causes of this new breakage, the 27-year-old Genevan will have to determine whether or not it is possible to remedy this damage and continue his race.
Charlie Dalin, Apivia
After a few days of enjoying smooth seas and VMG downwind, this is VMG upwind on a bit choppy sea … I get used to the boat that is beating again. I am heading back to the AEZ which I should reach in about 24 hours. I’m moving the boat as well as I can, the wind is quite unstable in strength and direction, but it’s been a bit the norm in the south for some time. I’m getting used to it. I had the option of letting the high pressure pass or heading north. The day I made the decision to jibe back down to the ice zone, there was still a slim chance I could escape, and if that didn’t pass, I was only losing about 30 miles. It was the logical solution, that of hope rather than resignation. I realized that it was consistently more windy than on the files, I knew that would apply for my option. It allowed me to progress quite quickly ahead of this high pressure bubble. Obviously it was a little stressful, as soon as the wind eased, I imagined the bubble coming back. But I had times with quite strong wind, it allowed me to progress well.
Apivia is a versatile boat capable of moving forward in all conditions. It’s a fairly “easy” boat in the light airs. He has easy acceleration. But I was on my wrong side, I couldn’t lean on my foil. The story would have been different if it hadn’t been for this foil. No matter what Yannick (Bestaven) or the others were doing, I was racing with the weather system. Now Yannick has an interesting gap to pass the AEZ which I don’t have. In terms of positioning, it has a small advantage, but it has a slightly more unfavorable wind direction. In the end, he’ll do better.
Isabelle Joschke, MACSF
The jet lag is so fast day by day that nothing is really stuck on anything right now! I am quite out of step. As I am cold, I don’t wait until I am hungry to eat. And it’s really inspirational because there’s no real notion of breakfast or dinner. I go by feeling and try to give my stomach a little break at night. There is no risk of putting on weight, considering how cold I am: I think I am losing calories instead! And then there is action on the boat, even in light airs, there are maneuvers, there is always something to burn.
I’m still at the back of that damn high pressure that’s starting to get annoying. The closer I get to the center, the more irregular the winds. Right now, I don’t even have 6 knots. It goes up suddenly, you have to be very responsive to jump on the bridge. It’s not conducive to resting and, since the nights are short, it’s nice to be able to get some sleep when it’s dark. It got on my nerves a bit, plus we’re really not going fast!
Maxime Sorel, V and B – Mayenne
I’ve been on deck, the wind has been anything for the past 24 hours, it has oscillated 60 ° between 4 and 12 knots. I have the J0 in the air and I alternate between J0 and J2. At the end of the day I was a little tired of taking turns because you’re wasting time. I had chosen a sail and let it be … Sometimes it was the right one, sometimes I was on the doors, sometimes I ran out of canvas. I only have one hydrogenerator, I couldn’t fix the second. I have healed most of the small injuries on the boat, I still have a little something to look at on the engine. And then there are my sails. I have to watch out for J2 and J3 that I fixed. I can’t keep up with the sun, it moves too much, it’s hell. I am still in TU, with you, with the communication, with the weather files. I found it weird at first, but now we’re going to get closer to your hours. I never look at the local time actually. I have a cooler with nine exceptional bottles, sealed, that travel the world with me. The bottles will be auctioned off for the benefit of the association “Vaincre la Mucoviscidose” upon arrival. These are good bottles of cognac, rum, whiskey … I carry around 25 kilos of drink that I cannot touch. I’m not too much alcohol at sea anyway. I’ve never seen so much variation in the wind. My trail is a mountain range. I have between 4 and 11 knots of wind maximum. I’m a little further south than the front group so obviously as the distance is shorter, ranking level, that helps. But we’re going to have to go north. As soon as we all go north, I’m going to fall behind. If I can stick within 5 miles of them I’ll be in the same system. They should leave before me. (7th), it’s already very good, I’m happy, but we’ll see in three days where we’ll be. We will be to the South of the depression that will appear to the North, we will be in the wind, downwind, finally! Getting so close up in the Pacific is still pretty mind-blowing. The weather is not easy, we risk having quite strong winds which will take us to Cape Horn quite quickly. The last routing takes place on January 4 at Cape Horn.
Manuel Cousin, Groupe Sétin
It shakes a bit! There is a big forehead going over us. Yesterday was nice: we had a quiet Christmas. Since last night, it’s been a change of scenery: the road is bumpy. I am 90 ° to the wind, I will be able to bear down a little, it will hit a little less. And after the front, the sea will cross: you will have to be careful. I didn’t know the Indian or the Pacific, I’m finding out, it’s great. Cape Leeuwin was already a great celebration! The Pacific is a new page, it is a real pleasure. Even though it’s not always easy, like today, we came for that too!
Rankings at 3pm French Time
|1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 9 532.83 milles from finish|
|2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 28.92 milles from leader|
|3. Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam!, 267.98 milles from leader|
|4. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco 269.26 milles from leader|
|5. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 290.18 milles from leader|
Photo Credit : C.Breschi
– PR –