VG2020 : Louis Burton at the controls

At the head of the fleet, two strategies stand out for making the most of a flow from the South-West. One to the West (Louis Burton – Charlie Dalin – Boris Herrmann), the other to the North in the wake of Yannick Bestaven and Damien Seguin (Photo). And it’s impossible for the moment to know who will gain the decisive advantage! Far from the ‘final rush’, Romain Attanasio is stuck in the Doldrums, Clément Giraud and Miranda Merron organize their own race and Alexia Barrier is preparing to pass Cape Horn.

One goal, two strategies

On the final route to Les Sables d’Olonne, the leading group is breaking up. Two strategies are emerging to make the most of the south-westerly winds generated by a strong low. The first, the option chosen by the top trio Burton – Dalin – Herrmann, is to head west as far as possible before “a big switch” says Dalin to follow the Spanish coast. “It will allow me to lean on my starboard foil and regain performance worthy of my boat,” said the skipper of APIVIA, who should jibe at the end of the day. More anecdotally – or precariously – Louis Burton took over the leadership in the standings this morning.

Behind, some have opted for a longer route to the north in order to then benefit from the southwest flow. Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) is the first to have this choice. “As much to take this option as to follow the herd,” he told his team. “Yannick took advantage of the switch to position himself more quickly in the South West flow,” notes Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist. He agrees to lose a little distance in order to regain some later ”. “If he finds good conditions, we won’t be able to do anything,” confirms Boris Herrmann, guest of Vendée Live. Damien Seguin also followed the same option as Maître Coq IV and Thomas Ruyant, who also jibed in the middle of the day, also followed suit. What will be the most profitable strategy?

Damien Seguin, captain courage!

For several days, the skipper of Groupe APICIL had decided to communicate less and focus more on his race. Currently 7th, he had managed to get around the Azores high with a very “clean” trajectory before heading north. This morning, despite a delicate connection, he was enjoying his position: “No one imagined a boat with a straight daggerboard in this position”. Especially since nothing has been spared him. The Paralympic champion has thus confided that he has not had certain downwind sails since… The entry of the Pacific! “I’m trying to manage as best I can. It’s been a month since it lasts! “In the final rush, his goal is to take 6th place, ahead of Giancarlo Pedote. And he is ready to give his all to achieve it.

Romain Attanasio and the pangs of the Doldrums

Some crossed it without difficulty a few days ago (Armel Tripon), others lost their illusions and races (Jérémie Beyou in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019). The Doldrums offer anything but certainties and it has this incredible power to render powerless. What to say to a skipper who is trying to move forward and who gets stuck, stuck in the calm? The question, Romain Attanasio has been asking himself strongly in recent hours. And for good reason: it had only averaged 3 knots in the last 24 hours! “Come on Neptune, give me some wind, this doldrums is horrible”, implored the skipper of PURE-Best Western Hotels & Resort.

At the heart of the “Atlantic Reaching Cup”

On board boats, people think and there is no shortage of ideas. The best illustration was Clément Giraud who offered it this morning: “with Miranda Mirron and perhaps Manuel Cousin, we are participating in a new regatta. It’s called the Atlantic Reaching Cup. It leaves from the Falklands or the Falklands and will be as far as the Doldrums. The program until then? It’s reaching, reaching, reaching and it goes fast! »Yesterday, Compagnie du lit – Jiliti had had to face gusts of 47 knots and she was making progress at around 30 knots this Sunday morning.

The joy of the “Cape Horners”

The Cape Horn crossing is always earned, regardless of the position in the fleet. Sam Davies, out of the race, experienced this happiness on Saturday afternoon (4:17 p.m. UT), passing about thirty miles from Tierra del Fuego. The Heart Initiatives navigator pursues her goal: to go all the way to save as many children as possible with heart defects. Already 60 of them have been saved thanks to the operation she supports.

A little further on, another woman is about to cross Cape Horn: Alexia Barrier. TSE – 4myplanet should pass it at the end of the day this Sunday.


Charlie Dalin (APIVIA)

I am working on my routings to see what will be the rest of the program … I have plenty to do! I’m happy to be where I am. There is a big change to come in the next few hours, I have no problem there. We’re going to have to hang in there until the end. We’re in contact, but we’ve been sailing in different areas, it’s been like that with Louis (Burton) for a while. Boris (Herrmann) managed to come back too. From now on, there will be more port tack than starboard tack, which is a good thing for me, I will get my boat’s performance back. I should be a lot faster if conditions allow. It should help me reach Les Sables d’Olonne more quickly.

Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL)

I don’t think anyone imagined a straight daggerboard boat in this position. I continue to fight, with my good humor too! I am inherently slower than all the boats around me. I will try to play with Giancarlo (Pedote) for 6th place and put a maximum distance to Jean (Le Cam). I decided I was going to fight until the end. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any downwind sails since entering the Pacific. I try to manage as best I can. As long as the line is not crossed, you have to give your all. I want to have nothing to regret.

Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA – Water Family)

I’m happy to be out of the backbone, I got a little hot on the buttocks, I just passed. I had a hard time last night. During the days to come, it will be tough. I tried to whip before the backbone fell into place. I tried to hang on so as not to stay away from Jean to play the game to the end. Physically, it’s pulling a bit, the goal is to give everything up to Sables-d’Olonne. I try to make the most of it: we have our heads in it, we realize as we approach the finish that we are comfortable on the boat, that a symbiosis is taking place: I have much less afraid of spinnaker shipments, I am less afraid of maneuvers, everything is done more naturally.

Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle)

It’s magic to cross Martin Vaz Island, I was there in 2012. When you cross land, you are like a kid. Last night, I had 20 knots, it was nice, it allows us to climb north-west towards better known latitudes, around Bahia. After two, three days, encalminated, it’s great. There are small grains, but it’s nice. (In the calm) I no longer fart the cables that I farted before. I lived it with philosophy, with all the same dark thoughts, but I especially tried to stay in my axis, to try to climb north as much as I could. I will be at the equator in three-four days, it will be my 17th equator. I hope it will please!

Rankings at 3pm French Time

  1. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 1 031,69 miles from finish
  2. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, 7,31 miles from leader
  3. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, 46,67 miles from leader
  4. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 114,41 miles from leader
  5. Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ IV, 260,7 miles from leader

Photo Credit : D.Seguin

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