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Nine IMOCAs Pass Cape of Good Hope in Same Day of Vendee Globe Race

2nd December 2020
Sébastien Simon on ARKEA PAPREC Sébastien Simon on ARKEA PAPREC

Given that the Vendée Globe fleet started on Sunday 8th November in Les Sables d’Olonne with a record-sized fleet of 33 IMOCAs and there are still, technically, 31 tracked on the race course, it is not entirely unexpected to have no fewer than nine boats (and ten skippers) cross the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope today. But this is a unique, unprecedented statistic for a unique and ever more engaging edition of the solo non-stop round the world race.

Passing at 0230hrs UTC this Wednesday morning in fourth place was Sébastien Simon on ARKEA PAPREC. The 30-year-old Les Sablais skipper has been showing good speeds in recent days on the 2020 Juan K design. But no sooner was he into the Indian Ocean than he reported substantial damage to his starboard foil and its casing after hitting an object in the water at 0820hrs UTC this morning.

Water ingress

Simon slowed the boat which had some unspecified amount of water ingress, and had stabilised the situation, this afternoon making between eight and 12kts on port gybe racing towards the back of a low pressure system.

After ARKEA PAPREC crossed Good Hope the IMOCAs passed Good Hope like buses, Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) at 1hr 4min after Simon, Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) crossed 1hr 17 min after the German skipper, then Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) 42mins later, Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq IV) 3hrs 09mins after, Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) 1hr 50 mins later, Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) 2hrs 12 mins later, then came Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) 1hr 50m later. Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) crossed 1hr 4mins after Davies.

Confidence to attack

The proven reliability of the 2016-17 race winning boat, now Bureau Vallée 2, and the desire and confidence to attack hard seem to be the key to Louis Burton’s progress up the leaderboard. So far he has routed south, closer to the ice exclusion zone and so sailing less miles but always in stronger winds and bigger seas. The 35-year-old from Saint-Malo was seventh on the last edition of the race, blessed with a passage through the southern oceans mostly in relatively benevolent conditions thanks to a high-pressure system which he rode for weeks.

President of France

Rescued Kevin Escoffier and rescuer Jean Le Cam were called by Skype onboard Yes We Cam! by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron who congratulated Le Cam on his seamanship, saying,

“I was reassured by the news. I am a fan of Jean’s. So I wanted to say hats off to him. We are extremely proud of Kevin and you and for the whole ‘family’ and of what you did.” Said Macron

It is still planned to drop Kevin Escoffier on a French navy frigate the Nivose which could rendezvous with Yes We Cam near the Crozet or Kerguelens but this has not yet been confirmed by the authorities. If not it might be New Zealand before Escoffier could be taken off.

For all that the latest generation of high speed foiling IMOCAs are designed for top speeds of more than 30kts, now racing in the steep, short seas of the Indian Ocean, race leader Charlie Dalin has been through his biggest storm to date and today said he is having to learn how to slow his boat and manage it.

“ I am discovering something I have never had to do before.” said Dalin, “ I have to un-trim, detune my boat. I feel now 50% of the time I am trying to trim the sails and the foils and keel to go faster, and 50% of the time I am de-tuning the boat. I find myself looking for the brake pedal. The sea state in the Indian Ocean is really what is limiting my speed. Sometimes the boat accelerates in the surf and we go to 28-30kts and you don’t know how it is going to end. It is a really weird to way to think, ‘I have this wind strength, this wind angle is this and I have these sails up, and I have the foil set like this, but if I change all these settings I should slow the boat down, and slow the boat down.' I never had to do this before in my racing career.”

Lead of over 250 miles

With a lead of over 250 miles, Dalin admitted today he no longer routes his rivals, Burton tracking 165 nautical miles south of third-placed Ruyant, not because he doesn’t care but he considers it wasted energy when they are in different wind regimes, “ I have stopped routing them. Entirely. I have voluntarily stopped taking the GRIB files back to Thomas. I cannot do that. I don’t want to know what conditions he is going to have. There is not much point. We have different weather systems, we are a bit more than 12 hours apart, so there is not much point. I focus on my race, my course. And we will see how it turns out. I have given up. I don’t find it useful to do this.”

Published in Vendee Globe
Afloat.ie Team

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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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