For the first time in the history of the Vendée Globe, we saw eight competitors follow one another on the pontoons of Les Sables d’Olonne in the space of 23 hours and 44 minutes. 23 hours and 44 minutes of joy and emotion, as intense as this planetary regatta which will have been played through contact from start to finish. It was not until the arrival of Jean Le Cam on Thursday evening to put a final order in the hierarchy of this crazy race.
Who could imagine that on November 30, the search for the skipper of PRB in his liferaft would join the destinies of rescuers, Jean Le Cam, Sébastien Simon, Yannick Bestaven and Boris Herrmann on one side, and leaders Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant, too far ahead to turn around? Who could imagine that the weather compensations, mixed with a weather conducive to the permanent regrouping of the fleet would participate in the legend of this 9th Vendée Globe? Eight boats arrived at 11:44 p.m., between Wednesday and Thursday evening – as a reminder, in 2016, the 8th had crossed the line 19 days and 19 hours after the winner Armel Le Cléac’h.
This edition therefore ends with a winner who arrives third, a second who arrives first, a third who arrives second and a fourth who arrives eighth … You follow? No ? So let’s simplify.
Yannick, Charlie, Louis …
The podium, first. Yannick Bestaven, winner of this 9th edition has proven that with maturity, talent, persistence, a simple project, but structured around the right priorities, we can do wonders. On the water, the sailor impressed with his ability to hold on tight and keep his boat going. He also seduced by his sincerity and his humanity. “There are two winners in this Vendée Globe” said the skipper of Maître CoQ IV on Thursday morning, in the privacy of the reunion on the pontoon with Charlie Dalin …
The skipper of Apivia is the one who dominated on the water, leading the race almost half the time. He finished second. The final victory escapes him for less than 3 hours. But the Figaro prodigy has shown once again that he has the makings of a great champion. He’s grown thick, too, as a man. His journey around the world has transformed him, he says. And he’ll never see it the way he used to.
Louis Burton takes the last step of the podium. The skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 is the most rock’n roll of the bunch. Intrepid, tough, straightforward, he thought about giving up several times in the face of the cascade of technical glitches that befell him. His efforts as a Titan were rewarded with this fine 3rd place, aboard the winning boat of the previous edition.
… and the others
Jean Le Cam’s race was as heroic as his rescue of Kevin Escoffier. Fourth in the overall standings, Jean Le Cam was greeted by the enthusiasm he aroused for 81 days. He has not escaped the tough times either. And beneath his swaggering air, he proved that at 61, he hadn’t lost any of his huge competitor niac. Boris Herrmann took 5th place after being scared a few hours from the finish in a collision with a trawler. The German skipper, who had also received a bonus for his involvement in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier, was in contention for the win during the 48 hours preceding the finish. His composure, his elegance and his ‘good student’ side are a form of modesty which in reality masks a sensitive and determined being. Boris was a metronome consistency in the top 10 and fought to never clinch the lead. Sixth, Thomas Ryuant is certainly the big loser in the standings. This rank does not reflect his performance on the water at all. Because the LinkedOut skipper spent two thirds of the course in the top three, with a broken foil even before entering the Indian Ocean. Ocean racing is often unfair. Thomas’s story will be one of those bitter moments. Not easy to swallow for this talented sailor with an endearing temperament, who was one of the big players in this edition.
Behind him, Damien Seguin impressed his world. The two-time Paralympic champion has added a line to an already exceptional track record. Born without a left hand, he did not necessarily want to carry the banner of disability, but sends a strong message, that you must dare to follow your dreams, whatever your difference.
The Italian resident in Lorient Giancarlo Pedote illuminated the race with his philosophical outlines. He also posted the best performance of a transalpine skipper in the Vendée Globe and set the record straight in terms of his great skills as a competitor.
Finally, the native child, Benjamin Dutreux, 9th, arrived home this Friday morning.
“I came to put my guts in it and fight, race and surpass myself” he declared at a press conference. Objective achieved for this sailor trained at the sports catamaran and Figaro school.
24 hours of emotion
The last 24 hours at Les Sables d’Olonne have therefore been incredibly dense. The successive “landings” of all these sailors sent waves of emotion and joy to the Vendée port. In the heat of the reunion between these solitary people acclaimed by the earthlings, we heard words of relief, confessions of strength or weakness, confidences on technical concerns or magical moments, we saw eyes shining with pleasure or fatigue, hugs, and a lot of brotherhood between all these competitors who shared a unique and intense experience during these 80 days at sea.
No respite for the brave: 16 solo sailors still at sea
Maxime Sorel is the next sailor expected on the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne tomorrow, Saturday January 30, between 5 am and 7 am. The skipper of V and B – Mayenne, chased by a winter depression, must act quickly or end his race in terrible conditions. 40 knots, gusts to 50 and above all rough seas are looming in the transom of the Cancalais. And it is not one, but two depressions that will tumble this weekend in the Bay of Biscay! Armel Tripon, he decided yesterday to let the storm pass and to wait along the Spanish coasts between Porto and Vigo then to resume his journey afterwards. “Monday, I should be able to go, I should arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s a bit of a surreal situation. “Confided the skipper of L’Occitane en Provence in the morning. Less than 1,000 miles behind the yellow and black boat, Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) is in the set-up and very focused not to break anything between now and the finish: “I’m getting a little paranoid because, so close to the goal, we doesn’t want anything to happen to us. »Stressed the navigator this morning. Between Cape Verde and the Canaries, Romain Attanasio sees Jérémie Beyou rushing towards him at 17 knots. Further south, in the northeast trade winds, Arnaud Boissières takes off: he escapes from the Roura / Shiraishi / Le Diraison / Hare group, the Spaniard Didac Costa making his entry into the Doldrums.
5 skippers with their heads upside down
Manu Cousin is fighting to keep his place in 21st place in conditions typical of the southern hemisphere trade winds off Brazil. “The grains keep coming in. I am constantly settling. It goes from 8 to 35 knots, so we are changing the sails! But I fight, I do not let go ”. Behind him, Miranda Merron and Clément Giraud have come back well. The fight is bitter between these three IMOCAs with straight drifts and the road is still long: 3,800 miles to Vendée! An open-air duel is taking place off the coast of Uruguay: Alexia Barrier and Ari Huusela are only separated by 50 miles on approach to a ridge. Understand that the two solo sailors will wet the jersey during the maneuver in the hours to come!
Rankings at 6pm French Time
- Maxime Sorel, V and B – Mayenne, 185.14 miles from finish
- Armel Tripon, L’Occitane en Provence, 297.47 miles from the 10th
- Clarisse Crémer, Banque Populaire X, 1 193.98 miles from the 10th
- Romain Attanasio, PURE – Best Western ®, 1 884.05 miles from the 10th
- Jérémie Beyou, Charal, 2 009.5 miles from the 10th
Photo Credit : Y. Zedda
– PR –