Today marks the eighteenth day of the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe with a fleet that is still scattered across the Atlantic Ocean, currently 32 participants remain in competition of the 33 who started the regatta on November 8 at Le Sables d ´Olonne.
Charlie Dalin is the star at the moment leading the fleet with his IMOCA «Apivia», very close to parallel 40 ° South and sailing through the south of the islands of Tristan da Cunha when trying to cross a high pressure. Practically in the center of the anticyclone, with a low wind that only allows it to sail at about 6.6 knots of speed. The next step will be to gain more southern latitude and run into stronger winds on the edge of high pressure, which could occur in the next xx hours.
Direct rival South Thomas Ruyant follows in his footsteps, but with the speed limitations of the damage to the port hydrofoil of the «LinkedOut».
Laurent Bourguès, technical director of the Ruyant team, has commented on what situation he is in regarding the fault: “First we have to calculate and measure the current state of the structure of the damaged sheet. Guillaume Verdier performs all the calculations to evaluate the level of acceptable stress for the foil whose axis is affected in its structure. We need to evaluate in the next few hours the Acceptable level of risk to keep this now unusable hydrofoil. Thomas pushed the foil into the hull as far as he could, but on starboard tack and at its size, part of the foil is dragging in the water and is therefore attached at great stress, especially at high speed. In the event of breakage, collateral damage is to be feared, especially at the level of the stabilizer tie-rod. If this risk seems too great, Thomas will have to cut the foil. He has all the tools to It is up to us, in this eventuality, to recommend the place to cut, either at its widest part, flush with the hull, or at the tip. We are talking with other teams that have suffered this kind of hurt to give Thomas all the answers very quickly. “
The breakdown on board the «LinkedOut» is the second most complex to be solved by sailing, in the same way that Thomson has had to carry out on board the «Hugo Boss» with the structural problems in the bow.
Another sufferer is Jérémie Beyou, at the tail of the fleet with the «Charal», and who after setting sail for the second time from Le Sables d’Olonne has already left the Cape Verde islands astern and is heading 185 ° pointing to the passage of the Ecuador: “I have had difficult conditions for the last two or three days, the wind is light and very unstable. So I am struggling to get out of this area to be able to advance in the southern hemisphere. For the Doldrums, I have the impression that there are hardly any showers in front of me, I know they can change in a matter of hours. I should arrive before tomorrow. For the last two or three days, I have been doing a series of gybes in a not very constant wind, the boat is going 17 to 8 knots, it is Tiring. I avoid thinking too much about loneliness, it really is not something I am used to. We are all far away, there is no competition if it is not to move the boat as well as possible, I hope I have the opportunity to have a better South Atlantic than the Atlantic North. It would help me a lot! “
The experience that Jérémie Beyou is living is very hard, from being one of the skippers who would have to be in the leading group to a much more solitary sailing alone.
Master Jean Le Cam who remains in third position with his IMOCA without hydrofoils, who governs not only with the weather forecast that comes to him on board via satellite from the Vendée Globe Organization. With 38 years linked to ocean sailing, with three solo sails around the world and one in A Dos; You must already know each one of the clouds in the 24,296 miles of the route, and realize what you can read on the surface of each wave.
And in this fourth participation that he does in the Vendée Globe, his nose transmits a lot of information telling him in which direction he should follow. Of the total of 14 OPEN 60 that are chasing him, all have decided to head south to avoid the calm that would be found on the direct route to the gates of the Indian Ocean. But the Breton sailor remains alone, waiting for the wind from the anticyclone near his position to increase in intensity, and that is what seems to happen shortly.
As soon as the «Yes We Cam!» He’ll target the first two, and we’ll see what happens to the tacticians who went south.
“Initiatives-Coeur” (tenth) and “Bureau Valle 2” (ninth) are those that navigate with a more southerly route, 685 miles from the first “Apivia”. An option that is also maintained by fourteen other IMOCAs, although “Hugo Boss” (eighth) is beginning to luff in the high pressure winds, sailing at about 11 knots of speed.
According to calculations by Kevin Escoffier, this detour with the PRB (fourth) involves him sailing about 200 miles more than the first three: “Oh, I’ve got my water boiling! I’m making some eggs. It’ll be scrambled eggs for breakfast because it’s starting to get cold outside. I’ll even put my socks back on. Tonight, I put on a sweatshirt and even a little fleece … I’m going to have to think about the shower because it might be the last one in a while. Regarding my choice of route, I admit, I hesitated for a long time … I finally agreed to lose to have better control. When you take this risky style, you also look at the lengthening of the road … I could still try to be like the leaders. Really, it wasn’t easy to choose. It was more obvious to the southerners. Sam Davies, for example, had no choice, so he jumped in quickly. He could. be good for them. I think with Louis Burton they will come out ahead of us. I, I’m doing my thing, we’ll see. “
Dídac Costa sails parallel to the coast of Brazil, through Salvador de Bahia, upwind of the group formed by Pip Hare’s “Medalia”, Armel Tripon’s “L´Occitane en Provence”, Manuel Cousin’s “Groupe Sétin” and “La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle” by Boissieres.
Costa reports that: “The wind is stable and the boat is moving well. Nap time on board the «One Planet One Ocean» ”. Well, that, sailing in the Tropic of Capricorn with constant trade winds.
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