VG2020 : two opposing worlds

On one side, half of the fleet, off Argentina, engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic. On the other, sailors embroiled in successive and active fronts in the Pacific. On both sides of the South American continent, two worlds are opposed. And it is the last great course of the Vendée Globe that serves as the dividing line. Romain Attanasio will be the next to cross this border on Thursday morning.

Cape Horn is not only the fulfillment of a dream, like the one formulated 25 years ago by Armel Tripon with three of his friends – made at 9:01 am (HF) with the added bonus of a passage close to the pebbles -, it is a real psychological and meteorological frontier.

In the south-east of point Nemo, a quartet has been manhandled for three days by a ‘beautiful’ southern depression: Medallia, La Fabrique, La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle and Charal are struggling with 45 knots of wind and troughs of more than 6 meters. A depression which also occupies their pursuers Time for Oceans, One Planet One Ocean and DMG Mori – Global One who have already been overtaken by the front and whose northern position protects them from the biggest. “The great swell of the Pacific, I don’t know who coined this expression, because I have never seen it in three round-the-world trips …” recognizes Jérémie Beyou (18th).

At the head of this group, on one of the oldest boats in the fleet, the revelation of this Vendée Globe Pip Hare, fights like a lioness to preserve her 15th place, despite the aircraft out of service, a problem that prevents her from ” use its autopilot normally (it is in heading mode and no longer in wind mode). Contacted this morning by video, the British sailor temporarily lost the big smile from which she usually never leaves: “I have never gone so far. I am tired. I knew it was going to be difficult but for the first time in the race, I set myself a waypoint (virtual point): the exit of the South Seas ”.

« Do you have to hurt yourself to appreciate when it’s good? » …

…. asked Jean Le Cam this morning, humming a song by Johnny Hallyday (again him!). Do you have to drool over it to appreciate the sweetness of things at their true value? Do you need paroxysmal experiences to feel alive?

Like Jean Le Cam, solo sailors going to scrapping in the South Atlantic will savor the calm and pleasure they find on their return. “The sun is warming my heart at the moment”, rejoices Benjamin Dutreux (6th) who must however get back on his mast to put his J2 back in working order. “How good to be here!” Exclaims in turn Maxime Sorel (10th), passed so close to the Falkland Islands, that he could smell forgotten odors, those of the earth.

However, there is no question of letting yourself be lulled by the (relative) tranquility of these sailing conditions. “I scratch my head quite a bit,” continues Sorel. I just took my weather files and the routing offers me three different routes ”.

Brainstorming in the minds and turmoil in the standings

The culprit? A complex weather situation all the way off Brazil, starting with this moving high pressure north of the Falkland Islands.

For the moment, Yannick Bestaven is the only one who has managed to pass north of these high pressures. It should not take long to accelerate in the new East-South-East flow, a wind that will soon be reinforced by the onset of a low.

Behind Maître CoQ IV who increased his lead (245 miles), nothing is going well from 2nd to 4th place. Charlie Dalin, strongly slowed down near the center of the high – 2.5 knots this afternoon! – is being caught by… Damien Seguin who dislodges Thomas Ruyant from his third place at the midday score.

A ranking to be observed with caution because LinkedOut and Groupe APICIL are very distant from each other in longitude. The first to the west of the high pressure area, the second to the east.

The regatta was already intense, more intense than it has ever been in a Vendée Globe at this stage of the route. This surge in the South Atlantic will add a dose of suspense as the situation – as the high pressure shifts to the east – will be more favorable to the pursuers. From Burton (5th) to Herrmann (11th), whose mainsail has now been repaired, an opportunity arises to be able to re-start at the head of the fleet.


Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA – Water Family

I’ll have to climb the mast. I have to redo all the lashings, put the sail on the deck, put myself downwind… I’m going to waste a lot of time. It’s a good challenge to climb the mast. It’s very stressful, you never really know how it’s going to turn out. I expect the wind to be softer at the end of the day. Little by little, I am upwind and I need my J2 more and more. It will be cooler than my first climb normally. I don’t forget to tell the race management, I also tell my brother, my boat captain … I have a whole list!

I’m trying to keep a bit more westerly so I can get out of the bubble. I don’t really know what that can give, we’ll see. What is certain is that those behind will pick up again. Up front, these are boats that go faster and in these conditions it’s almost twice as fast. These are conditions for the foilers. But we have not said our last word on the right drifts!

Armel Tripon, L’Occitane en Provence

The passage of Cape Horn was extraordinary. It was dark, I was in the boat, I was making myself a coffee and when the day started to rise, Cape Horn appeared in front of me with the lighthouse, the pebble… It was incredible, it was crazy, magnificent, full of emotions! I went to 4 miles. The point is quite high, I would say 150, 200 meters high. I saw it very, very well.

It stirs up a lot of things, it was really a beautiful moment. It wasn’t very windy so I was able to take advantage of it. It was a huge joy, I couldn’t stop laughing, it’s a dream that I have had for 25 years with two friends. There is one that has unfortunately left. And the other mate, maybe we’ll go back together!

Yesterday evening, when we approached, the sea had calmed down, the wind too. We were coming out of 3, 4 days that were a bit tough. We went south with albatrosses, so I got out with them too. It was a beautiful picture.

Clément Giraud, Compagnie du lit – Jiliti

I don’t have the feeling of circling the globe, I hope the Horn will do something for me! I don’t realize at all, it’s weird. I take things one after the other. The last boats I saw, apart from the freighters, were Ari Huusela and Sébastien Destremau just before the Doldrums. Since then, I have not seen land or boat. Indeed, by turning the Horn, we come back from another planet, but I am in my race, in my boat, listening, tightening, loosening, watching out… Suddenly, the days go by, the days go by, the Days pass.

Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut

After crossing Cape Horn, there were two possible route choices. A more direct route to the north with a more closed angle, or a VMG route with some gybes to be placed to get closer to the high pressure. I didn’t really feel the East road given my position. The two choices of route are equal, I am a bit of a gamer from time to time, and I am in hunter mode. Opportunities and choices of options, there won’t be many after. It’s a relatively low-risk road in the end that allowed me to do something different to try to pick up, although I have little hope of really picking up on Yannick. I can come back to Charlie. I’m trying to find my way and get closer to the first two.

A lot is happening in the South Atlantic: the depressions that form, high pressure bubbles, it is not smooth, but it opens the game on this rise.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

  1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 5 946,69 miles from finish
  2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 245,85 milles from leader
  3. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 268,37 miles from leader
  4. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 279,39 miles from leader
  5. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 398,83 miles from leader

Photo Credit : A Tripon

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