The day after the arrival of Jérémie Beyou (13th) and Romain Attanasio (14th), the next arrivals will not take place until Wednesday. While an intense battle between five skippers (Boissières, Shiraishi, Roura, Le Diraison, Hare), Manuel Cousin has to deal with keel problems. There are still eleven skippers making progress in the Atlantic and heading for Les Sables d’Olonne.
Ocean racing always leads to modesty, because one cannot face oneself without respect and humility in the face of the turpitudes of Aeolus and Neptune. “We are ordinary men and women doing something extraordinary,” said Romain Attanasio, the last skipper to have experienced the joys of the arrivals yesterday. From now on, there are still eleven to be in the race and thirteen, including Sam Davies and Isabelle Joschke, out of the race, who also intend to join the Vendée. State of play of the fleet where all sailors are expected to arrive by the end of February.
The battle of the five
The next to arrive have been launched for several days in a “match race”, says Alan Roura. There are five in a radius of less than 100 miles to fight more than 800 miles from the Portuguese coast: Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle, 15th), Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI – Global One, 16th), Alan Roura ( La Fabrique, 17th), Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans, 18th) and Pipe Hare (Medallia, 19th). And things are progressing well with surfs at over 20 knots in the morning this Sunday, mostly in tough conditions. “You can tell they want to come home!” Laughs Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist. The Group of Five is advancing in a northwest flow and is ahead of a strong low.
Located more than 400 miles away, Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean) should pass behind the core of the depression. The group’s current speed could allow them to arrive as early as Wednesday today. “We still feel that things are getting harder and I don’t want to take any risks,” confides the leader of the group, Arnaud Boissières. I watch out but I put the package! We said to Alan (Roura) that it would be great to happen in the daytime after all we’ve been through. In addition, it would be Saint-Arnaud! “
Manuel Cousin: “I’m ready to fight”
It was the bad news on Saturday night. Groupe SETIN has announced a keel damage aboard Manuel Cousin’s IMOCA. The keel cylinder rod severed, all in heavy seas and rough conditions. On board, Manuel didn’t give up. “I spent the night making resin,” he tells the shifts. And after a night’s sleep, back to work. “I’m going to be strat all day,” he explains. In his words, the skipper is extremely combative: “I’m not going to let go. I may not be able to get there as quickly as I expected, but I won’t let go. I’ll join you! Manuel Cousin also draws his motivational strength from all the messages of support he has received from his family, his sponsors but also from other skippers, like Arnaud Boissières, Alan Roura, Miranda Merron, Clément Giraud, Sam Davies … Manuel Cousin seems to smile: “it’s heartwarming”.
Pipe Hare, a birthday at sea
It’s a birthday that will be remembered for sure. Pip Hare turns 47 this Sunday. But neither Aeolus nor Neptune offered him respite. “The forecast is just terrible. It’s very windy, gusting to 34 knots right now, and it’s going to stay that way for the next four days, she writes. The navigation in this area is very delicate and I am very attentive to the boat and the skipper, who both have 90 days of wear ”. But, true to herself, Pip holds on and she has a song every day to motivate herself. This Sunday was Muse’s Uprising. Best of all, Australian actor Russell Crowe wished him a happy birthday two days early on social media. “It’s been my week,” laughs the young woman.
The situation in the South Atlantic
The enthusiasts who carefully looked at the mapping on Sunday morning may have been surprised by the trajectory of Ari Huusela (STARK, 25th) who seemed to turn around and set course for Good Hope. “The wind turns faster where it is,” explains Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist. He waited a bit before heading due north with a crosswind ”. Alexia Barrier, (TSE – 4myplanet), shifted more than 370 miles to the Northwest, for her part opted for a large tack to look for the seesaw.
It should follow the path of Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) and Sam Davies (Initiatives Cœur). The two sailors, out of the race, are progressing on their side off Recife in Brazil.
Arnaud Boissières, La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle
It’s intense, the wind picked up yesterday as expected as it passed the Azores. I had a few small problems, my port foil hoist came loose. He was going back and forth in the foil well. I went into the foil well, we had to hang up all that, it was a bit hot! It gets harder, the maneuvers are harder. My little body seems a little tired. The five-man game gets complicated by the weather. I realize that in a few days the boat will be docked, I hope anyway! I should arrive for Saint-Arnaud! We said to ourselves with Alan (Roura) and Stéphane (Le Diraison), that we had to arrive during the day and if possible at high tide with good weather. We enter the fairway at the same time, but I come right in front of them anyway.
Pipe Hare, Medallia
The forecasts are just terrible. It’s very windy, gusting to 34 knots right now, and it’s going to stay that way for the next four days. The system we are approaching at the moment is messy with areas of intense breeze and many changes in wind direction that will result in terrible sea conditions. We already have more wind than expected so I won’t be surprised if we see 50 knots in the next two days.
Manuel Cousin, Groupe SETIN
I was heading north, facing the trade winds upwind. And then, as I landed in a wave, I heard a huge crack, a sound where you immediately tell yourself that something has happened. The cylinder rod snapped clean. To understand, the jack is used to swing the keel and, by breaking, the rod damaged the locking system of the keel. I strategized all night to strengthen this system and hope to be able to block the keel in the axis in order to absolutely finish my Vendée Globe. We’ll put the race aside for sure, but the priority is to bring the boat back. I’ve seen better days but I’m not letting go, I believe in it, I am doing all I can to fix it.
Miranda Merron, Campagne de France
Manu’s keel problem shook me a bit. You are never safe from damage, and the finish is still a long way off. It’s quite scary. It looks very complicated after the trade winds. Since the routes diverge quite a bit, I will read the tea leaves in the bottom of my cup.
Rankings at 12pm French Time
- Arnaud Boissières, La Mie Câline – Artisans Artipôle, 1 081.69 miles from finish
- Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG MORI Global One, 12.09 miles from 15th
- Alan Roura, La Fabrique, 56.01 miles from 15th
- Stéphane Le Diraison, Time for Oceans, 60.16 miles from 15th
- Pip Hare, Medallia, à 162.03 miles from 15th
Photo Credit : R.Marie
– PR –