VG2020 : skippers’ happiness

Same actors, same uncertainties and same fierce battle. Nine skippers are leading the race, with a slight advantage for two men: Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton. While the second continues on a westerly route, all eyes are on the weather files. For the rest of the fleet, one idea remains in mind: that of an ever so intense pleasure to maneuver alone across the oceans for 72 days.

The definition of skippers’ happiness

It is possible to chain the miles, having had to face depressions, tough gales, wall-like waves and areas of calm for 72 days while being deeply happy. This day in the Vendée Globe started with the voice of Clément Giraud, happy Cape Horn driver since Sunday. The sailor of Compagnie du Lit / Jiliti, it is a smile and a good dose of enthusiasm for those who remained ashore: “We are really very lucky, we sailors in the Vendée Globe, because we have been don’t talk about money! The word “euro” has been struck from our vocabulary … Here, “happy” is the most used word! “A handful of hours later, Armel Tripon (L’Occitane in Provence) said the same thing:” Happy? Yes, I still am. Several times a day, I tell myself that I have an incredible chance to do this race, that I am having strong, intense and fabulous moments. And I’m having a blast! “.

Indecision, the new act

“The situation has not really changed since yesterday,” smiles Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist. Leading the way, Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) are still leading the way. The adopted Malouin diverges slightly further west. “It’s an interesting strategy,” continues Christian Dumard. But if the timing changes, he won’t have a margin. ” The person concerned was the guest of Vendée Live this afternoon: “I will try to capitalize on my quick exit from the doldrums and play my card hard”. Armel Le Cléac’h, winner four years earlier, thinks for his part that five sailors can win: the Dalin-Burton duo as well as Thomas Ruyant, Boris Hermann and Yannick Bestaven. “We’ll have to hold on especially as the sailors are tired and the boats are too tired,” added the defending champion.

What the ranking (really) means

Beware of the ranking! “The more it will go, the more it will be biased,” continues Christian Dumard. The battle between the nine leading skippers is so fierce that their positions in the standings must be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, the skippers are classified according to their position in relation to the distance remaining until the finish. However, it is impossible to make a straight trajectory as far as Les Sables d’Olonne … “You have to measure the longitude”, continues the meteorologist. Thus, if Damien Seguin took back 2nd place at noon, he remains in a much less favorable position than Louis Burton, currently 5th. In fact, Groupe APICIL is over 450 miles from APIVIA sideways, compared to 230 miles for Bureau Vallée 2.

New crossings to Ecuador

This is the last symbolic mark before returning to earth. Crossing the Equator for the second time in less than three months. This joy, Maxime Sorel felt it last night. The sailor from V and B – Mayenne keeps smiling even if he wants to be careful: “I have to be careful. It’s a boat that has never gone so far ”. The 11th skipper to cross the Equator is Armel Tripon. L’Occitane will pass through Provence tonight. He is already savoring: “We’re going to find the northern hemisphere. The symbolism is strong to find the trace of the descent. We finish this great race, even if there are over 4000 miles to go! “.

Machines and organisms put to the test

The little pleasures on board and the excitement of the players in the Vendée Globe do not prevent fatigue. Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family), after an intense struggle in the doldrums, confided to the radio session this morning: “Physically and morally, I am starting to be a little burnt out”. The sailor also had to struggle with the Sargassum which threatens the proper functioning of his hydrogenerator. Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle) also claimed to have “A cauliflower hydrogenerator”. For his part, Maxime Sorel (V and B – Mayenne) explained yesterday “feeling the fatigue of certain boots”. So these last days, there was DIY on the program. “I fixed the rudder system, the pilot, the rudder sensor …”. Finally, Alan Roura (La Fabrique) thinks more about preserving himself: he writes “wanting to rest as much as possible” before facing the pangs of the doldrums.

A princely discussion

There were two distinguished guests this Tuesday noon on the set of the Vendée Live program in English: Prince Albert II of Monaco and Pierre Casiraghi, friend and member of the Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco team. The two men were able to discuss with Boris Herrmann who is one of the contenders for the final victory. “In the Principality, we are all very proud of your career and we support you 100%”, enthused Prince Albert II of Monaco. The German skipper concluded the discussion by saying “Very happy to get plenty of encouragement. It gives me a lot of courage to give my all in the coming days ”.


Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA – Water Family

I was outside: the doldrums, I can’t see the end of it! However, by nightfall, I was starting to have a steady wind with the sky clearing to the point that I could see the stars. It was very hot before I got into the pot, but since then it’s been much nicer and the rain rinsed the boat (which needed it) and I was able to take a shower. Physically and morally, I’m starting to get a little burnt out because this doldrums lasted really long. When I think of all those who have told me that coming up from the south it was easier this season! There, we had something really tough and I can’t wait to see the end …

Alan Roura, La Fabrique

The heavy weather is now behind, it allows me to take a deep breath and concentrate on the rest of the program. The small victory of the day, which is not that small anyway: in 40 miles, I will cross my wake. So I will have come full circle and that’s pretty crazy all the same. The next two days, it’s going to be a buffet stop for everyone, as they say. I hope to succeed in getting out of it… I rest as much as possible, to be in great shape once in the soft!

Arnaud Boissière, La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle

I didn’t expect to have such rough seas yesterday. We have 20, 25 knots, it’s more human, especially inside the boat. It gets quite wet outside. And then tomorrow we will moan because there will be no more wind! I made myself a chocolate. I’m angry with the coffee, I’ve spilled so much… It’s annoying, you make yourself a little coffee to say to yourself “come on, I’m taking a little break under these conditions” and then you spill it once, twice times… It got on my nerves and then afterwards, it made me laugh. When you find yourself in 25/30 knots, tacking is tough anyway, especially with the fatigue that accumulates …

Miranda Merron, Campagne de France

A very beautiful night full of stars, and it’s been a while since I saw it. Not a lot of wind and it’s not too cold. However, we must not let our guard down. But it changes from the South. I am 25 miles east of the Falklands. I’m sure there are some very welcoming pubs here. It smells of damp earth. It’s extraordinary ! My nieces would like to know if I have seen penguins. Well no. There are, however, in the Falklands: king penguins, gentoo penguins, rockhopper penguins and macaroni penguins!

Clément Giraud, Compagnie du lit – Jiliti

Between Cape Horn and the Falklands, I got stuck in a low pressure center. And then I saw my first boat from Rio de Janeiro! It was a big fishing boat: I was able to chat in English with the boss, very nice. Who was precisely on a plateau, on a step where the depths go from 800 to 200 meters. Back to civilization. We are really very lucky, we Vendée Globe sailors, because we haven’t talked about money for three months! The word “euro” has been deleted from our vocabulary … Here, it is “happy”, the word most used …

Rankings at 3pm French Time

  1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, à 2628.2 miles from finish
  2. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 117.03 miles from leader
  3. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 117.44 miles from leader
  4. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 122.09 miles from leader
  5. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 148.5 miles from leader

Photo Credit : C.Giraud

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