VG2020 : cold front and headache

All scenarios are possible on this 64th day of racing off the coast of Rio de Janeiro as the weather conditions blur the tracks to reach the trade winds. One thing is certain: the 440 miles lead Yannick Bestaven had on January 7 has melted like snow in the Brazilian sun. And the skipper of Master CoQ IV is starting to feel the danger approaching in the east. Less than 40 miles away, Charlie Dalin, then Thomas Ruyant, Damien Seguin and Louis Burton could join the leader tomorrow morning at the helm of the race for 17 days …

On land, assumptions are rife, comments are unleashed, the bets are on. At sea, we know that anything can happen and that this cold front can be an opportunity for the pursuers of Yannick Bestaven. “I think for Yannick, who sees us coming back to him when he was way ahead, it must be tough. For us it is more gratifying. I wasted a lot of time with some minor issues, but I’ll be able to pick up. The whole Vendée Globe has been like this, the race is far from over. »Confided this morning to the vacation Thomas Ruyant, third in the score.

The LinkedOut skipper, after three days of blind sailing, without precise wind data, was able to climb up the mast (for the 5th time since the start of the race) to repair his aerial. The Northerner is on the attack!
Louis Burton is in the same state, combative and elated by his resurrection at the top of the ranking: “I look at the positions of others, to find out how to get closer to me. I have never known this pleasure. I count the miles that separate me from Thomas (Rettant) and Damien (Seguin), I examine their trajectory … It’s exceptional. The Malouin exulted earlier on the other end of the phone. Yannick Bestaven, admittedly has a bonus of 10:15 am, keeps a floor carpet of 39 miles, but behind him, the pack is thirsty and hungry. Tomorrow morning there may be a new start.

Sensitive matter

In this race configuration where a big regrouping of the top ten is envisaged, the bluff sets in. The skippers don’t dare say too much about the condition of the sails, the general potential of the boats. We know of course that Apivia and LinkedOut are deprived of port foils, that hook problems (hook for holding the fore sails at the top of the mast) have been legion since the departure from Les Sables d’Olonne, that sails have been repaired.
But what is the real condition of the boats and the men after two months at sea? When on vacation, the “I am 100%” often comes up. One way not to give too much confidence to playmates. We are not told everything!

Out of the flames of hell …

Arnaud Boissières doubled his fourth Cape Horn at 12:35 French time in a palpable relief and emotion on the live video from the sea during the Vendée Live. The adopted son of the town of Sables d’Olonne looked hollow with fatigue from the harshness of the Pacific Ocean. 1h30 later, another bearded man doubled the mythical pebble: Alan Roura on La Fabrique also put the indicator to the left, heading towards the house. Soon it will be Jérémie Beyou’s turn on Charal around 5pm, then the Briton Pip Hare next night. A Cape Horn liberating anxiety and weariness.
Stéphane Le Diraison, 450 miles from the gateway to the South Atlantic, shines, his face rejuvenated by 10 years in less than 24 hours, singing about Lily Allen in a video sent from the shore: “I am finally out of the depression, I have the impression of coming out of the flames of hell ”. The days go by, but they are not the same on the great single-handed planetary loop …


Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA-Water Family

In the deep south, what allowed us to stay with the foilers, it was above all the state of the sea. There was often a lot of sea and therefore they could not accelerate which allowed us, by attacking a little bit , to stay in the game. They accelerate really well as soon as the sea flattens out and the conditions get a little tight in the wind. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but in theory they should go faster once we hit the trade winds. Today my ambitions are still the same as when I started. It’s already about finishing the race, continuing to have a good trajectory and pushing myself hard. That’s what motivated me from the start and this small group remains my motivation. I love this ranking aspect, to be full, not give up on speed, and this group is really motivating. My goal is to stick with them and give it my all.

Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2

There are plenty of tactical choices to be made now. There are still quite a few uncertainties about what we will face tomorrow night, this permanent cold front. It can go as well as it can go wrong. On the way out, approaching it from the South, I had negotiated it well. But the wind is in turmoil and, behind, it’s upwind until it starts. My foils are in good condition, and I have the ambition to continue to climb slowly and arrive at the entrance to the Doldrums being satisfied with the work done. After the events that you have had in the waters of Antarctica, you have the impression of sailing in the Gulf of Morbihan … It’s super calm, the sea is flat … What is funny, it is is that you do not have at all this vision of the Atlantic during the descent. I am in the process of getting back to 100% regatta mode. I’ve been doing quite a bit of downwind for 24 hours, I found good speeds and it’s really cool. The conditions allow me to be at 100% of the boat’s potential.

Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut

Yesterday, I took advantage of the less wind to sort out my aerial concerns which are finally resolved, or at least in part. It feels good because it had been 3-4 days since I was a little blind, and how hard it is to sail without wind information! We sail a lot with numbers on these boats, so when we sail more than with a heading and a speed, it’s very complicated. I was waiting for the right time to climb to the masthead and make the repairs. I didn’t really believe it, but it works, I have a weather vane that works again. I got a good night’s sleep, it has been a while since I could sleep properly. There may be a small regrouping which takes place, there is a cold front which blocks the way before we find the trade winds of North-East at first, then of South-East in approach of the doldrums. black. There is this last transition before finding stable wind so I’m happy to have found my flight for this last weather operation.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

  1. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 4 769,22 miles from finish
  2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 38,24 miles from leader
  3. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 101,07 miles from leader
  4. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 106,11 miles from leader
  5. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 143,79 miles from leader

Photo Credit : T. Ruyant

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