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Yannick Bestaven Continues to Lead Vendee Globe in Light Airs of Pacific

20th December 2020
One time leader Charlie Dalin is in the hunt for first place again One time leader Charlie Dalin is in the hunt for first place again

Caught up in the lighter winds at the back of a front during the hours of the European night, daytime for the leaders, has seen second-placed Charlie Dalin concede handful of miles to leader Yannick Bestaven. Looking briefly at comparisons with the 2016-17 race – this edition is more than six days slower – Dalin observed this morning, “I am I'm looking at Armel's track of four years ago and, yes, he's way ahead of us. So we are not going fast, are we? I would prefer it to be a little more 'sporty' and a bit less comfortable ”.

The solo skipper who originates from Normandy might not exactly be feeling short-changed in the south Pacific Ocean racing at 55 degrees south – the so-called Furious Fifties –yesterday seeing 15 degrees in the boat, blue skies and sunshine and moderate winds but the gybes between the lighter winds to the north and the ice barrier to the south become wearing and there is little strategy involved.

“Yes I am knitting a bit, pure New Zealand wool!” joked Dalin of the zig-zag gybing path he is constrained to slide eastwards on.

“Last night the front passed over me, we had been racing with it for a long time, it was a really slow-moving front and unfortunately for me I had a fairly light breeze after the front, so I have lost a bit of ground on Yannick and also a bit of ground on Thomas. And now my wind is a bit different from Yannick and so that is why I cannot make the same course and yes, another front is arriving towards me and I will gybe as the wind turns and we will start a long series of gybes between the ice zone and the high pressure. Unfortunately, the high pressure is moving east at roughly the same pace as us and so it gonna be the same scenario for a few days, stuck between the ice zone and the high pressure and so we will have to do a lot of gybes to stay in the wind. After that then we could be upwind for a while. For now I am focusing on my short term strategy and everything is good on board, my repair seems to be holding. I am still in the process of learning still how to use the boat without the foil it is a new way to trim the boat on starboard, the main thing is my repair seems to be holding. That is good news and so I will probably gybe fairly soon.” Said the Apivia skipper.

After being 59 miles behind Bestaven last night and the gap widened this morning to 90 miles. Maitre Coq has been at 14 knots on average during the last 24 hours Dalin has been around 11.5 to 12.

Meantime Germany’s Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) is leading the charge behind, working close to the ice wall in better breeze, and has closed to within 109 miles of third-placed Thomas Ruyant.

Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) is heading at low speed (9.2 knots) for Macquarie Island, which he should join in the next few hours, to repair his rigging. The good news is that since last night the skipper from Saint-Malo can again rely on an autopilot which is good news as Burton hadn't slept since Thursday ...

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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