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Will One Time Vendee Globe Leader Jérémie Beyou’s Charal Return to the Race?

15th November 2020
Jérémie Beyou - news of his return to the race expected today Jérémie Beyou - news of his return to the race expected today

On a chill, grey November afternoon a drawn and disappointed Jérémie Beyou was touched by the size and warmth of the welcome afforded to the French Vendee Globe skipper on his premature return to Les Sables d’Olonne with his damaged Charal.

Forced to return 600 miles back to the start port after his IMOCA was damaged on the third day of racing, hundreds of local fans turned out to see the 44-year-old return down the famous channel. At a brief, carefully choreographed, distanced reunion with selected media, Beyou made it clear he wants to return to the race course if the damage to his boat can be 100% repaired.

“If technically it can be done, the plan is to go. That is the objective.” Stated an emotional Beyou beside his black and silver hulled Charal. “I really want to go, that is not the issue, I want to maintain this frame of mind. I will be 3,000 miles behind so it is no longer a race, but we will see.”

Underlining the urgency to have the boat ready as quickly as possible there was a diver in the water as the IMOCA docked to evaluate the underwater surfaces following the strike by a floating object, the cockpit was quickly covered to facilitate the composite repairs required and the damaged rudder was quickly removed.

“I am convinced that we will try and fix it, but the devil is in the detail. I see that everyone is here. The designers, the builders, all the experts and shore team will collaborate and so we will know within 24 hours. Then we will take a decision.”

The start line closes on Wednesday 18th at 1420hrs, ten days after last Sunday’s start.

“Stopping was brutal for me.” He recalled, his voice shaking at the memory.

“I hope Jeremy re-starts and I hope it is good for him. You just never know on this race.” Commented Mike Golding on the Vendée Globe LIVE show today. Golding was dismasted hours into the 2000-2001 race and restarted a week behind the fleet going on to finish seventh, setting several records in the Southern Ocean, some of which still stand today.

Foilers To Stretch?

At the top of the fleet Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) still holds the lead by 21 nautical miles from Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) as the pair open the route into the Ne’ly trade winds.

“Everything is good on board with Alex. He has been resting a bit. He was quite happy through the low (Theta) really. He has seen plenty of big winds before, 50,60 knots, and so if there is a gain to be made he will go there. I think we will start to see the foilers dominate now a bit more. With the winds around 100 degrees true they should be quick for the next 4-5 days.” Commented Ross Daniels, Alex Thomson Racing’s Technical Director this afternoon.

Located furthest to the west, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) was the first to gybe followed by Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Kevin Escoffier (PRB). 150 miles to the southeast of them, Le Cam and Thomson gybed early in the afternoon on to a more favourable angle and more wind, and therefore a slightly more direct course.

“It's going to be a long gybe straight into the doldrums and the foilers, who haven't yet had the chance to show their potential, will finally be able to do it. We should fly" Thomas Ruyant added on Vendée Live, “We will get good reaching angles and start to accelerate."

But vigilance will be required, explains Sébastien Josse, with three Vendée Globe's under his belt: "It will not be a cruise with the force of the wind - 20 to 25 knots - and on the crossover of a sail choice between Code 0 and fractional gennaker."

Mainsail Damage For Kojiro

In the middle of the afternoon Kojiro Shiraishi’s DMG Mori Global One team reported a rip at the top of the Japanese skipper’s mainsail and damaged battens. After a gybe to exit the Theta depression, Shiraishi, 19th at 3pm, suffered an autopilot malfunction. During a 3rd gybe, his mainsail tore above the 2nd batten. His team commented: "The skipper is not injured and the boat is not in danger. We will be offering different solutions to repair the mainsail and continue the race."

Meantime the peloton has raced off and left a group of competitors in next to no wind, Ari Huusela (Stark), Miranda Merron (Campagne de France), Alexia Barrier (TSE - 4myplanet), Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit / Jiliti), Sébastien Destremau (Merci) and Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence). "The corridor of wind between the depression and the front above has narrowed down, and they are in the heart of a windless zone and behind thate there is not much with either.” Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist explained.

Published in Vendee Globe
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The 2020/2021 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 8 at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU and will be expected back in mid-January 2021.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

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