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Thomas Ruyant Leads the Vendée Globe, Top Three Boats Within Ten Miles of Each Other

15th December 2020
Thomas Ruyant is the new Vendee Globe leader Thomas Ruyant is the new Vendee Globe leader

After race leader for more than three weeks Charlie Dalin reported damage to his port foil system on APIVIA yesterday evening and has been slowed to less than six knots dealing with the issue as best he can it is the Irish managed Thomas Ruyant who leads the Vendée Globe standings this morning.

It is the second time Ruyant has topped the leaderboard having also led on November 21st.

But while all three leaders, Ruyant (LinkedOut) Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq), and Dalin (APIVIA) were within ten miles of each other this morning on the early rankings it was Ruyant who has been going fastest and looking set to capitalise when he resumed the lead he last held on 21st November.

Thomas Ruyant is the new leader of the Vendee Globe but the top three boats are all within ten miles of each otherThomas Ruyant is the new leader of the Vendee Globe but the top three boats are all within ten miles of each other

Dalin called his team around 1800hrs UTC last night to report that he had heard a loud noise whilst he was reaching southeastwards at around 17-19kts of boatspeed. He immediately slowed APIVIA and saw damage to his port foil system, the extent of which has not been communicated by his team. As he deals with the situation he has lost all of the 65 nautical miles lead he had over the Maître Coq IV skipper Bestaven.

Ruyant suffered damage to his port foil too but has remained in the top three since he hit an object in the South Atlantic and had to cut a large part of it off on 26th November and, though compromised he has managed to stay with the leaders.

Ruyant’s gains overnight are not just because Dalin has been slowed to less than six knots, but Bestaven also revealed this morning that he has just spent 90 minutes at the top of his mast repairing his J2, ‘all terrain’ headsail which has been damaged and out of action for more than a week. Sounding breathless but exuberant at his successful repair which was made at just the right time before heading into the south Pacific tomorrow or Thursday.

“I just came down from the mast! I'm sweaty but so happy. I didn't say anything to anyone, but it had been on my mind for days. I couldn't use my J2 which is the all-terrain sail which is more adaptable than the gennaker. I had to use my little gennaker, the boat has been on the edge for a long time, it was not at all comfortable and almost dangerous” confided Bestaven on his return from the top of the mast after cutting, patching, gluing his sail.

Although slowed noticeably this morning the top trio have been able to virtually double their lead over the chasing peloton, fourth-placed Benjamin Dutreux now 330 miles behind Ruyant.

Dutreux, the young 30 year old Vendée Globe first timer, is keeping veteran Jean Le Cam at bay for the meantime in fourth, Le Cam just nine miles behind and in turn still almost alongside Damien Seguin.

Boris Herrmann has closed right up to Louis Burton and is challenging for seventh this morning. The German skipper said last night:

“I did not really have time to celebrate at Cape Leeuwin but it was certainly a good moment, but I am thinking I will save the celebrations for the second half of the race. This little high pressure has stopped us a bit at the corner of the exclusion zone and after my routings yesterday it showed it stopping all of us, including Damien and Jean in front of me and maybe there will be some regrouping but the models are never so accurate down here. So I stay open minded and there there is nothing much to do about it, we can’t go left or right and we have to wait til it passes. But we see a clear separation with Yannick – who was my compagnon de route – who I lost quite a bit to. I am regretting how many miles I lost to him but I am very happy for him he is doing such excellent and showing what he can do and I truly admire him. So at 300 miles or so the separation is more defined for a longer time and they will get away and so right now we will have to see in the second half of the Pacific if there are opportunities to come back but my routing shows us keeping this separation for as long as I can see on the weather file.”

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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