Vendée Globe

Leader Charlie Dalin has seen his margin more than halved in the last 36 hours as he negotiates a high pressure zone of lighter airs some 630 nautical miles west of the longitude of Australia’s Cape Leeuwin.

The perils of being first to break into gentler winds are obvious as he sees the chasing duo have closed up to within 100-120 nautical miles of him, albeit partly as he repositioned himself further to the south. But while some have been questioning if Dalin is hiding damage which might account for his slower speeds the 35 year old who originates from Le Havre has been sailing into the lightest wind of any of the top 15 boats.

“Charlie is facing an area of lighter winds for a few hours, those chasing after him are sailing in 15-25 knot SW’ly winds, offering them high speeds and allowing them to narrow the gap. The first fourteen boats from Apivia to L’Occitane en Provence (Armel Tripon) are today sailing in the same weather system with the Mascarene High stretching out across the whole of the Indian Ocean.” Noted weather supplier Christian Dumard this morning at his briefing to Vendée Globe HQ.

Vendée Globe veteran Jean Pierre Dick said today on the French Vendée Globe Live, “The leaders do tend to keep quiet about any issues they might have, to not give away anything to those chasing that might give them a chance to use it against them. That has often been the strategy of past leaders such as François Gabart, Armel Le Cléach or Michel Desjoyeux. I think that Charlie Dalin is in this area of light winds.”

Fabrice Amedeo on Newrest - Art & Fenêtres during the Vendée Globe © Pierre Bouras #VG2020

Fabrice Amedeo on Newrest – Art & Fenêtres during the Vendée Globe © Pierre Bouras #VG2020

Of life in the barren South Jean Pierre recalls, “I have spent nearly 6 months in the Southern Ocean over the course of the racing I have done and what impresses me the most is the sense of vastness and desolation. Over the course of the six months there, I never once saw a boat. The only one was PRB in 2008 when we nearly hit each other. It is so vast, savage and then seeing the albatross is a true honour to be there.”

“Then there is a form of optimism when you know about the climate change, the earth warming up and the pollution, being down there at one in nature and not seeing a living being for that long, you feel that you are in the one part of the world that you breathe, and that the world somehow heals itself from our urban excesses. What strikes me the most when I see the images sent back is the human isolation and the sporting battle one has with oneself. How to stay zen in the face of all the problems you have. It is not always to ensure to have less sail than you might like, as a competitor, but you have to also look ahead when winds change so suddenly from 15 to say 30.” Dick observes.

Dalin continues to play the long game in an assured fashion. He is without doubt measuring the threat from those behind him in the knowledge that his boat, assuming it to be at 100 per cent or close to it, should be the fastest of those in the top 11.

 

Vendée Globe Position Report 17H00 UTC 11/12/2020 - photo © #VG2020
Vendée Globe Position Report 17H00 UTC 11/12/2020 – photo © #VG2020

“He will be looking at the threat from behind and knowing that he should be able to be fastest. I think he is very much controlling the fleet knowing he can match them if he is at his best.” Notes four times Vendée Globe racer Mike Golding this afternoon, “That said we are still not seeing the averages we should have been seeing from these foiling boats and I wonder whether everyone is being generally quite cautious. For Charlie his biggest worry would maybe be in the South Atlantic climbing north again and that threat might come from Yannick Bestaven who is going well and Louis Burton who continues to impress me. But that is a long way off. There are some very good sailors in this group. But in terms of speeds so often it is down to the wave patterns. In the 2012 race in the Indian Ocean it was like this, there was never just the time to get the boat really rumbling for long periods.”

It has been a key moment of the race so far for Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi who crossed the longitude of Cape of Good Hope at 1053hrs this morning on DMG MORI. After having to retire into Cape Town with a broken topmast in 2016, Shiraishi was has passed his stopping point and was going well today, crossing just four hours and 24 minutes after Briton Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) who passed just 37 minutes after Alexia Barrier (TSE 4 My Planet).

Suffering from a breakdown of his backup computer – his first, main computer failed off Cape Finisterre – Fabrice Amedeo confirmed he will abandon his Vendée Globe in Cape Town. This afternoon he had just over 130 miles to sail to the South African haven. Journalist turned round the world racer Amedeo finished 11th on the 2016-17 race but had to restart two days after the start due to a hairline crack at the top of his mast.

Quotes:

Fabrice Amedeo, Newrest – Art & Fenêtres:

“Dear friends,

My boat is fine. We have looked after each other and I have been dealing with a few things since the St. Helena high My boat is fine, but since yesterday I have literally been blind: due to a new computer problem, I can no longer download the weather files, calculate the optimal course, the fastest possible and importantly the safest possible.

Faced with this irremediable obstacle in my path I have two options: either to put a stop my Vendée Globe race here or to continue. It would be possible to continue to the old-fashioned way, without weather and attempt to round the Southern Ocean; to be at the mercy of the elements for a whole month to reach Cape Horn.

The foils on the boat are difficult in strong winds and my priority has always been to be able to sail both safely and according to the principles of maintaining both control of the safety of myself and of that of the boat. I have therefore decided to stop my Vendée Globe race in Cape Town. It’s a decision that was difficult to take. I must take it and assume it. I am very unhappy, but I know I will bounce back. I thank you all and my thoughts are with my sponsors who I so much wanted to be offering a finish in the Sables d’Olonne, like a small light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which has been complicated for everyone. I would also like to thank my technical team very much who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life, and failure is in fact a part of it. I will digest this failure which will make me grow and come back stronger.”

Giancarlo Pedote, Prysmian Group:

“The wind has dropped but the waves are still very steep, it’s complicated. This morning, from 1:00 am UTC to 4:00 am UTC, it was fine, but now we have a cross sea once more, so it’s hard to manage the speeds. Either we’re not fast enough, or we’re too fast and we just crash into the waves. I will just have to be patient again and wait for the sea to calm down to be able to let go get going and have more regular speeds. We are still three good days away from Cape Leeuwin and after that we will have to continue until Cape Horn before we can swich on the left indicator on. I have been wanting to do this trip for a very long time, it’s a dream I’ve had for years so now I just want to enjoy it. You have to live life to the fullest, not complain and continue heading east towards the Pacific. I’m very happy with the boat, there are a few problems but, overall, everything’s fine. I have sailed with care. That’s been my strategy since the start. We’re not halfway there yet so if we want to finish, we have to look after both the sailor and the boat too.”

Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut):

The second placed skipper can’t exploit all the potential of his LinkedOut because of its truncated port foil… And this situation is likely to last a few days as the winds forecast are not looking favourable for gybing: Thomas Ruyant will have to wait at least until Cape Leeuwin!

“I passed the last obstacle 24 hours ago… It feels good to know that ahead of us, the conditions are pretty nice. It also gives me a chance to solve the little problems on board, to take some time for myself, to eat well. I slept well last night. The wind is still a little irregular, but I have blue skies! In any case, it’s good to have a little break because since the beginning of the Indian Ocean, the weather has really given us something to think about. I had two mainsail battens to change yesterday: I was without my mainsail for around 2-3 hours, but it went pretty fast because I had the experience from 2016 under my belt. There are always things to do on these boats in terms of maintenance, but I am working well and LinkedOut is too!

Now I’m sailing on my truncated foil and these are the kind of conditions where I really miss it! But hey, it’s like that and it’s going to be like that until the end of the race… I’m not complaining but I’m losing about 20% of the boat’s potential on this starboard tack. In the breeze, it’s a bit less noticeable, but in certain conditions like we have at the moment, it’s five extra knots that just go up in smoke. There’s still some sea to play with, but it is at least in the right direction: the swell could make me start to make the foil work.

Tactically, I’m heading South-East to reposition myself in front of my competitors, but I don’t have much choice as I’ve got a W’ly wind for the moment! I’m heading towards the Ice Exclusion Zone, which we’re all going to follow for a little while… But it’s a bit of a compulsory tack as well. The sailing conditions to come are great because there are no gales forecast, except for a small passage behind a low, and even then: that can change, and the timing can change too. But what I’m seeing all the way to New Zealand is just starboard tack! It doesn’t suit me very much… But I’m making do with it: I’m trying to find the boat’s proper functioning even with my damaged port foil.

And we’re still going quite quickly eastwards, and the time difference is significant: every day we’re jetlagged! You have to be able to follow the rhythm of the sun in order to sleep well…”

Rankings at 17H00:

 

Pos Sail No Skipper / Boat Name DTF (nm) DTL (nm)
1 FRA 79 Charlie Dalin / APIVIA 14067.3 0
2 FRA 59 Thomas Ruyant / LinkedOut 14164.9 97.6
3 FRA 17 Yannick Bestaven / Maître Coq IV 14179.3 112
4 FRA 09 Benjamin Dutreux / OMIA ‑ Water Family 14289.3 222
5 FRA 18 Louis Burton / Bureau Vallée 2 14291.8 224.5
6 FRA 01 Jean Le Cam / Yes we Cam ! 14292.4 225.2
7 FRA 1000 Damien Seguin / Groupe APICIL 14298.2 230.9
8 MON 10 Boris Herrmann / Seaexplorer ‑ Yacht Club De Monaco 14316 248.8
9 FRA 27 Isabelle Joschke / MACSF 14378 310.7
10 ITA 34 Giancarlo Pedote / Prysmian Group 14457.2 389.9
11 FRA 53 Maxime Sorel / V And B Mayenne 14581.2 513.9
12 FRA 49 Romain Attanasio / Pure ‑ Best Western Hotels and Resorts 14870.1 802.8
13 FRA 30 Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X 15003.5 936.2
14 FRA 02 Armel Tripon / L’Occitane en Provence 15599.6 1532.3
15 SUI 7 Alan Roura / La Fabrique 16365 2297.7
16 FRA 92 Stéphane Le Diraison / Time For Oceans 16513.6 2446.3
17 FRA 14 Arnaud Boissieres / La Mie Câline ‑ Artisans Artipôle 16513.8 2446.5
18 ESP 33 Didac Costa / One Planet One Ocean 16655.7 2588.4
19 GBR 777 Pip Hare / Medallia 16700.4 2633.2
20 FRA 71 Manuel Cousin / Groupe Sétin 16748.1 2680.9
21 FRA 50 Miranda Merron / Campagne de France 17373.3 3306.1
22 FRA 72 Alexia Barrier / TSE ‑ 4myplanet 17375.5 3308.3
23 JPN 11 Kojiro Shiraishi / DMG MORI Global One 17425.7 3358.4
24 FRA 83 Clément Giraud / Compagnie du lit ‑ Jiliti 17500.3 3433
25 FRA 69 Sébastien Destremau / Merci 17592.4 3525.1
26 FRA 8 Jérémie Beyou / Charal 17637.2 3569.9
27 FIN 222 Ari Huusela / Stark 17676.3 3609
RET FRA 56 Fabrice Amedeo / Newrest ‑ Art et Fenetres
RET FRA 109 Samantha Davies / Initiatives ‑ Coeur
RET FRA 4 Sébastien Simon / ARKEA PAPREC
RET GBR 99 Alex Thomson / HUGO BOSS
RET FRA 85 Kevin Escoffier / PRB
RET FRA 6 Nicolas Troussel / CORUM L’Épargne

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