Behind the first five Cape Horners (Bestaven, Dalin, Ruyant, Seguin and Dutreux) of this 9th Vendée Globe, 6 IMOCAs grouped together in 150 miles are preparing to finish off the South Seas. At 3:52 pm, Benjamin Dutreux opened the ball for the evening and night passages in front of the lighthouse at the end of the world… in rough conditions.
Cape of deliverance
Damien Seguin overtook the Horn early this morning (at 3:40 am French time) two hours after Thomas Ruyant and did not hide his emotion in a video sent from the ship: “My first Cape Horn, in fourth position in addition, it’s a crazy, I cried all the tears in my body. I have arrived ! “. The skipper of Groupe APICIL, moved and happy, has finally put the turn signal on the left after 56 days and 13 hours of racing since the start of Les Sables d’Olonne on November 8th. 200 miles in her transom, 7 grouped skippers (Dutreux, Burton, Le Cam, Herrmann, Sorel, Pedote and Joschke) will also begin the ascent of the South Atlantic, not without a certain impatience: “I can’t wait to crossing Cape Horn, it will be my first time. It’s a good stage ”confided Benjamin Dutreux, 5th at the Horn, who never ceases to amaze by the mastery of his 2007 drift boat. The evening and the night promise to be agitated off the pebble on more southerly in South America: a powerful northwesterly flow will strengthen, generating gusts of over 40 knots and heavy seas. Enough to mark this legendary passage with a white stone for the 4 rookies of the group ( Dutreux, Sorel, Pedote, Joschke) and the 3 repeat offenders (Burton, Le Cam, Herrmann) who have never overtaken the mythical rock with so little difference between the competitors. The lighthouse keeper of Horn Island is not going to be bored …
Another race for Isabelle Joschke
Yesterday afternoon, while she was in 5th position, the Franco-German sailor deplored the breakage of the hydraulic cylinder on the keel of her IMOCA MACSF. Now deprived of the possibility of tipping the appendage of her boat to improve performance, Isabelle is therefore forced to put aside her sporting ambitions: “I am moving into another dimension. I am disappointed, I need to mourn my race “she confided to her technical team. For two days, the problems had been piling up (loss of the aerial, torn gennaker) but did not penalize the good advance of MACSF at the forefront of the group of “hunters”. This Monday, Isabelle Joschke changes gear but is positive, thinking of Cape Horn, which she will overtake for the first time tomorrow morning!
Attanasio, Tripon, Cremer shaked
“I have 45 knots, I am under mainsail alone, I rode the J3, I cannot find the right compromise. The boat sets off. The seas are difficult, the pilot cannot hold the boat. This is what scares me. »Romain Attanasio explained this morning at the 5 o’clock session. Goodbye areas of soft and erratic winds, hello true South Pacific conditions! A dozen more hours to go, hands ready to shock the sheets, eyes focused on the boat’s wind and speed repeaters, ears listening for the slightest suspicious noise during acceleration, before the conditions s ‘improve. On Pure – Best Western ©, L’Occitane en Provence and Banque Populaire X, we are grinding our teeth 460 miles from Cape Horn.
Dam north of the Falklands
At all… at nothing! At the head of the fleet, the weather conditions are much calmer but much more puzzling. Yannick Bestaven is still one step ahead of Charlie Dalin (195 miles) but the rest promises to be very complicated: both make an east route to bypass a high pressure system in the north of the Falklands Islands which tends to spread out … in the East. The idea for the two leading men is not to hang around in order to pass this high pressure zone as quickly as possible, which will completely close the road at the end of the week! Thomas Ruyant, third, after weaving his way through the Lemaire Strait between Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego and the Isle of States, chooses a path north. Here we are: sailing up the South Atlantic is never a long calm river. A thousand things can still happen until the arrival at Les Sables d’Olonne … at the end of January?
Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2
There was a lot of work on the boat before the jibe. The wind will get stronger towards Cape Horn. I was on the attack, everything was fine, when the fuse that holds the rudder down to the wind at the bottom broke. I had just set up my headsail and fixed the rudder before your call. There is something every day, it’s incredible… I’m very happy, I have been very supported since Macquarie, it helped me a lot to whip, to be in a fight with the others, even if after Macquarie we were very far behind! I am still very motivated. The South Atlantic will not be easy, we will have to knit in light winds. We will have to change our mentality, no longer being in a mode of preserving the boat.
Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA – Water Family
It’s moving fast. We have 27/35 knots of wind now. It’s quite muscular but the seas are getting a bit smoother. The boat does great surfing, it’s not unpleasant but it’s a little stressful. There are huge grains, I try to anticipate so as not to start the heap and not break anything. I have two reefs in my mainsail and since I don’t have a J2, I put on the reacher: it’s a small downwind sail in heavy weather. I can’t wait to pass Cape Horn, it will be my first time. It’s been hot the last few days, we did a lot of gybing. Each maneuver is quite stressful. Afterwards, we will not have to rest on our laurels because the road is long, but Cape Horn is a great stage. I should spend it tonight normally. The wind is picking up really hard along the coast, so I’m trying to get a little further offshore. I’m going to make a curve a little more curled.
Isabelle Joschke, MACSF
I’ve been racking up unpleasant surprises over the past three days. I lost my last aerial, my little gennaker tore last night and I have the keel cylinder which broke earlier, which means that I will have to continue the race with the keel blocked in the axis. It’s a big loss of potential, a big loss of speed for the boat and then the keel, it’s stability, it’s also a safety tool. In a little over 24 hours, I will be passing Cape Horn, with very mixed feelings. The joy and satisfaction of having achieved this goal, of getting out of the southern seas and the big disappointment of having to start another race, which is not the one I had completely dreamed of, but I will continue to give the best of me.
Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL
There is bound to be a little backlash. This passage marks the end of the Great South, the beginning of the ascent. It’s normal that it does something, especially when it’s the first time. I saw myself as a kid reading stories, living Vendée Globe by proxy … And there, I did! It was pretty intense. If I had been told at Les Sables d’Olonne that I was going to pass Cape Horn in 4th position, I would have signed straight away. I realize that I am having a good race, but the rest will not be easy. I’m going to have to manage to do as well as I have so far. Passing Cape Leeuwin, I was already in 4th position. I am particularly happy with this consistency. I jibed to get a little east in my path. It’s not easy to project because the weather models don’t really match. I didn’t want to go too close to the coast in the strait because the winds are too erratic. We will not see the result of the last options right away. We’ll see. The main thing is that I am comfortable with what I’m doing and I’m on my way to it.
Rankings at 3pm French Time
- Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 6493.58 miles from finish
- Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 195.06 miles from leader
- Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 328.99 miles from leader
- Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 404.05 miles from leader
- Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA – Water Family, 605.32 miles from leader
Photo credit : B. Dutreux
– PR –