The tension is palpable at the head of the race. Thomas Rettant recognized a “frustration” at not being able to fight 100% in the first group. For his part, Louis Burton could take advantage of his option further west to escape. An intense battle which does not prevent, as for Charlie Dalin, from enjoying the beautiful starry skies of the North Atlantic for a moment.
Louis Burton, the right option?
What if Louis Burton ended his “remount” with victory? The skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 could benefit from his West position. “It can catch up with southwesterly winds and benefit from a high pressure corridor with a more constant flow, more sustained and with a better angle than its pursuers, decrypts Sébastien Josse, weather consultant for the Vendée Globe. The others will be downwind, forcing them to maneuver more. Louis could stay in the same stream as far as Les Sables d’Olonne and be several hours early at the finish “. Charlie Dalin, contacted at the radio session this morning, nevertheless assures us that the two skippers leading the race “will meet again under the Azores”. And the winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre added: “We will have to do a series of gybes and sail changes, there will still be work to do before the finish! “
Thomas Ruyant’s mood
For a long time second in the Vendée Globe, the LinkedOut skipper has no advantage despite the conditions currently being favorable for foilers. “I knew the Atlantic climb was going to be complicated with a lot of starboard tack,” he told the radio session this morning. With a diminished boat (damage to its port foil), it is difficult and frustrating not to compete with those around me “. Thomas Ruyant assures us “to take his troubles patiently” and “to keep a competitive spirit”. “In a few days, the downwind breeze will allow me to stabilize a bit. There might be less gap so I’ll do everything to keep in touch. “
“All I know is I don’t know anything”
The total suspense in which all the spectators of this Vendée Globe are plunged could lend itself to philosophizing … And to quote Socrates. Because the rankings do not necessarily indicate the forces present at the moment, as demonstrated by the position of Louis Burton, 4th at 3:00 pm but yet the best positioned in the leading group. Yann Grolleau, in charge of mapping the Vendée Globe, explains: “a ranking is not made to reflect the relevance of each other’s strategies, but only to say who is geographically closer to the finish”. The classification is based on a series of “waypoints” placed on the theoretical route around the world. Currently, it is determined by a “waypoint” located in Santa-Maria, the most south-eastern island of the Azores.
Beyou- Boissières-Roura, battle in the South Atlantic
“We talked a lot about the leader of the race but we were also in close combat! “Arnaud Boissières made this observation in 2013, in the midst of a duel between François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h. Seven years later, the skipper of La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle is back in the race, far from the leading group but that does not prevent him from battling, between Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Alain Roura (La Fabrique). “This game between us is very exciting, I will do everything to catch up with Jérémie and stay a good distance from Alan,” said Arnaud, guest of the Vendée Live this afternoon. Jérémie Beyou, always so combative, went up to the mast to repair his J2. At the same time, Alan Roura, who has to bypass a ridge like Arnaud Boissières, hopes “to get out of this level crossing with‘ Cali “and go back up. This is my carrot and my motivation even though I have to give more with this somewhat handicapped boat “.
Pipe and the prick
The English sailor has not been spared from the galleys in this Vendée Globe. After battling a severe depression in recent days, Pipe Hare has experienced another mishap. She says: “I was stung in the back by a Portuguese galley, otherwise known as Physalie or Sea bladder”. The Medallia skipper talks about these blue “evil little plagues” which have invaded the bridge, taking advantage of the waves which were breaking. Pip felt a “burn on the back of the neck” which she does her best to heal by keeping herself dry so it doesn’t get infected. And the Englishwoman added: “It was not really planned. Laughing is the right solution, the only other option would be to curl up in a fetal position and hope that the wind will eventually bring me back to Les Sables d’Olonne “.
A very homogeneous fleet
Admittedly, there is a difference of over 6,000 miles between the 1st, Charlie Dalin and the last, Ari Huusela. Yet at this point in the race it is the smallest gap between the head and the tail of the fleet. “It’s unheard of,” Christian Dumard of the Vendée Globe weather cell underlined this morning, also a way of underlining that all the survivors of the race, whatever their positions, all achieve a sacred Vendée Globe of high fly.
Eyes full of stars
Nights in the Atlantic have little to do with nights in the southern seas. So, despite the intensity of the race and the need to move forward, everyone takes the time, a handful of minutes, to roll their eyes. Charlie Dalin, at the morning session, summed up his last night in the trade winds: “It was beautiful, windy and full of stars”. And he continues: “Where I watch, I have a window above and I can see the stars, like when I was little on the ceiling of my room! It is very beautiful. I can have sweet dreams… ”Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) also mentioned“ the beautiful starry nights ”. “It’s hot and that allows you to go outside to enjoy it. Right now, I only have one desire, and that is to go on vacation to the West Indies “.
Charlie Dalin, APIVIA
It’s my last night in the trade winds. I had a fair amount of wind, up to 25 knots which allowed me to make good progress all night because the sea state is not too bad: it is not too hot. We’re getting closer to the transition to the lows train. Two more days before we find ourselves north of the ridge to recover from the downwind winds. I chose the inside of the turn and we’ll see how it looks compared to Louis (Burton) who went outside. But I think we’ll end up under the Azores.
Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut
I’ve been on the wrong foot for two months. We are sailing reaching, in not too rough seas, with 20 knots of wind. Normally, it is under these conditions that we make gunpowder talk with our boats. I go two / three knots slower than the others sometimes, so I try to regulate, it has to be frustrating. I’m happy to be where I am, we’re completing a world tour, that was the first goal. The second objective was to navigate with the leaders, but I can definitely feel the trick now. We move at speeds where the foilers make big differences. I’m a competitor, it’s a bit tough.
Giancarlo Pedote, Prysmian Group
This is the first time I’ve done this route in this direction, usually in a Mini or an IMOCA, I do this area from North to South … There, it’s still a little less comfortable. The boat is very heeled and when you have to intervene, it’s complicated! And then we’re going to be spending a lot of time on the starboard tack so we have to check the gear every now and then because it’s really close reaching right now. The boat is doing well, but I have very small foils, it can’t take off like the others, which go two or three knots faster than Prysmian Group in these conditions.
Clarisse Crémer, Banque Populaire X
The last few days I was in the trade winds of the South Atlantic, the wind was not very stable in strength and direction but it was quite restful nonetheless. I had beautiful starry nights. It’s a bit like a vacation compared to anything we’ve experienced before. I should be in the Doldrums by tonight. Other than that night, I had a good rest. It feels good to be able to enjoy it, to have a little less a heavy heart. We’re starting to have routings until the finish, but I’ll be looking at them especially after the Doldrums. If I don’t have a problem, in a fortnight I’ll be in Les Sables d’Olonne!
Alan Roura, La Fabrique
I’m on my way, I’m happy to be here, to still be racing, I’m positive. On the other hand, it is very hot, it is difficult to rest. I’m at 200% even though my body is starting to have small weaknesses. We must not let go, we are about to experience a transition phase that will be mentally difficult. We have to cross a ridge that is across the road. Charal managed to escape to the west. Cali (Arnaud Boissières) is a bit in between and I am very easterly, but I didn’t have many other choices. We’ll have to have a little luck for it to pass! And from the start, I haven’t had a lot.
Rankings at 3pm French Time
- Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 2 391 miles from finish
- Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 118 miles from leader
- Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, 119,9 miles from leader
- Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 138,2 miles from leader
- Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 173,2 miles from leader
– PR –