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Thomas Ruyant in Command of Vendee Globe Race, Dalin Completes Repairs

15th December 2020
Apivia is back in race mode after making foil repairs Apivia is back in race mode after making foil repairs

Having been slowed since around 1800hrs UTC yesterday evening to evaluate and then today to make some kind of repair to his port side foil system of APIVIA, one-time Vendee Globe leader Charlie Dalin has dropped to third and lost over 120 miles to his two nearest rivals Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven. But Dalin, Vendée Globe leader for 23 days up until last night, appears to be back in race mode this afternoon, making over 14kts south eastwards towards the south Pacific Ocean.

His team have so far only shared scant details about the problem, saying only that the damage is not thought to have been caused by a collision with an object.

Dalin’s communication said “The port foil remains whole. The damage is to the lower support, where the foil rests as it leaves the boat. Charlie has therefore been focusing on strengthening the foil attachment to make sure the casing remains secure.”

Meanwhile, Ruyant, who himself has no working port foil on LinkedOut, has taken over the race lead again with a small margin of around 10 miles over Bestaven’s Maître CoQ as the leading group broad reach south eastwards towards the Antarctic Exclusion Zone before gybing to parallel the ice boundary and accelerate into the Pacific Ocean later tomorrow or Thursday.

Over three hundred miles behind the leading trio, after 36 days and very nearly half of the 24,410 nautical miles course, five IMOCAs are racing within sight of each other in high-pressure conditions more akin to the Mediterranean than 47 degrees south, some 1000 miles south of Adelaide, Australia.

Boris Herrmann, the German skipper of SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco was visited by Louis Burton’s drone, then – predictably – they all started filming each other! There is less than four miles between Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) in fourth Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) in fifth, sixth-placed Herrmann, seventh-placed Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) and eighth positioned Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL).

Herrmann enthused, “It has been such an amazing day, I really had to jump on my pilot to not crash into Damien, we were kind of converging like magnets pulling the boats one to each other. Of course, we were observing for a long time but I really didn’t want to touch my pilot because my boat was on the perfect set up for going fast. Now, I can see 4 lights around in the total darkness, and this is pretty amazing, 5 boats inside halfway around - this has never happened before! I was so close to Damian that I could talk to him boat to boat and look closely inside his cockpit and so on…And then we also chatted on WhatsApp.. it’s really nice - no more loneliness. My dream day! It was warm… part of the day I was working outside without a jacket: I made the stern of the boat my workbench and I was playing with the grinder and the drill and this and that… and glueing the sail back together. A really fun day for a change! With distractions and nice things to do. The boat was going nicely by itself while I was working! Still a bit to overtake them but let’s see how tonight goes. Not sure what happens with Apivia, seems like he has a problem with the foil case… but yeah, the Vendée Globe is always good for surprises! Like Francis Joyon says "Tu n’es jamais à l’abri d’une bonne surprise” = "today was really a nice surprise day": warm and quiet. Gentle in any sense.” Watch the video HERE

Herrmann’s objective for the day, to work through his job list while the benevolent conditions prevailed, was mirrored elsewhere in the fleet, although some jobs were achieved through sheer necessity rather than because of the conditions. Yannick Bestaven was ecstatic to have climbed his mast and patched his J2 headsail leech to make his workhorse sail serviceable again before the Pacific and therefore render his Maître CoQ back to 100% efficiency again.

Bestaven said this morning “It is good for our little group as we never stopped. We're going to get wind as we advance and we'll get more wind along the ice exclusion zone limit. We're going to continue to build the gap on the group behind; that's the aim. I had seen that the area of light pressure was catching up with us, that's why I used the little gennaker, a bit on the limit, it wasn't comfortable, and I had to be careful. I had to follow so as not to be caught up in the light patch with no wind behind. I did not know about Charlie (Dalin) but I could see he was slowing down. I'm not surprised! They are faster boats; they should have better averages than me. I suspected he had a problem, but I think Thomas (Ruyant) is doing well anyway. My foils aren't very big, but they are strong!”

Further back in 11th place Maxime Sorel’s J2 repair was less than easy on board V and B - Mayenne. He had been working round the clock since yesterday. "I'm burnt out, I've just spent nine hours non-stop repairing my J2 (one of his headsails). I don't have any hands left! I've repaired four metres of it. I started at 10pm GMT and finished at 7.30am. My only breaks were for gybes along the Ice Exclusion Zone. I did this listening to music and with lots of elbow grease! I slept for an hour and will sleep another hour before I take the sail out. It's very stiff, all 100m2 of it. It takes up the whole boat! Once the sail is out, I’ll have to rig it on the cable. Then I'll have to go back up to the mast to attach it. Given the state of the sea, I'll have to do it now because the conditions won't be so good afterwards."

"Right now, it looks like the South Atlantic, it's pretty cool. When I climbed the mast, I couldn't understand the state of the sea: we've been sailing on rough seas for ten days now. As the sea conditions had improved, I had the impression that it was OK. But once I got to the top, it wasn't so good! Now though it's going a lot better, I'm going to take advantage of it. I listened to an evening playlist while tinkering about, I had the Fugees playing, a bit of everything really. I had enough hours to play the playlist several times!" Conclude Maxime.

Rankings 17:00 UTC

1. Thomas Ruyant - [ LinkedOut ] —> 12,551.8 nm from the finish
2. Yannick Bestaven [Maître CoQ IV] —> 8.83 nm from the leader
3. Yannick Bestaven [Maître CoQ IV]—> 127 nm from the leader
4. Jean Le Cam [ Yes We Cam ! ] —> 433.23 nm from the leader
5. Louis Burton [ Bureau Vallée ] —> 436.62 nm from the leader

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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