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Yannick Bestaven in Maître CoQ IV Is New Leader of the Vendee Globe Race

16th December 2020
Yannick Bestaven is the current race leader at the halfway point Yannick Bestaven is the current race leader at the halfway point

Yannick Bestaven, skipper of Maître CoQ IV took the lead of the Vendée Globe early this morning. And though the 47-year-old from La Rochelle who is sailing a 2015 launched boat has threatened the lead before sailing an accomplished, express passage on his first time across the Indian Ocean, ‘Besta’ today becomes the 10th different leader on the 20th lead change on this remarkable Vendée Globe since the start in Les Sables d’Olonne back on Sunday 8th November.

Bestaven is now jousting with Thomas Ruyant as the pair scythe eastwards leaving the Indian Ocean behind and passing into the Pacific tonight, on a fast port gybe running as close to the Ice Exclusion Zone as they dare in the decidedly chilly Fifties. The leaders will also pass the midpoint of the 24410 nautical miles course this evening.

Bestaven and Ruyant are 15 nautical miles apart this evening. Earlier in the day they spoke on VHF radio. The LinkedOut skipper noted on the morning call that maybe Bestaven’s older generation VPLP-Verdier design might prove quicker as the 25 kts breeze moves aft to give more VMG downwind conditions. Meantime the Maître Coq IV skipper has continued to show high average speeds on what will be a long port gybe drag race for the next three days at least.

One hundred and forty miles behind them previous leader Charlie Dalin is back in the game after an exceptionally tough and exacting repair made to the foil bearing and housing on the port side of his APIVIA. Dalin told today how he worked steadily through a detailed plan including accurate drawings of the replacement carbon composite part he had to cut and replace into the foil housing, while suspending himself from a halyard.

Dalin explained, “The hardest part was fitting it. I was going back and forwards between the cockpit and the foil exit location on the hull I was suspended by a halyard to reach the point where I could fit the chock and I don’t know how many times I went back and forth, I don’t know 30 or 40 times to adjust the carbon piece to fit in the foil case. And in the end just before nightfall I managed to fit the piece in and tinker it. It was a big relief as I could see the sun going down. I was saying to myself ‘Charlie you really have to do this, you have to do this before it is dark because after that it is going to be too late. I worked really hard and managed to do it.”

Wearing a smile of relief he had admitted, “I have had a few problems. But this one puts the rest in perspective. Before a small problem felt big for me, a big concern, and after this one all my problems before they feel small. I am glad this one is over and I feel I have gained confidence in my ability in fixing the boat and I really hope the repair will hold. I now know what the Vendée Globe is about it is about surviving, managing to carry on with the boat. Boats tend to lose percentages of performance as you go on and the game is to lose fewer percentages than the opposition. So I hope I won't lose any more per cent from now.

Now I have to cross the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific and in my line of sight is Cape Horn, it seems so far, far away, so many thousands of miles, but believe me I am glad the Indian Ocean is over soon.”

He concluded “I happy to do this and to still be in the race. I am only 150 nautical miles behind the leaders. It is not unachievable to come back, so I am here and I am back and I have them in my sights.”

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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