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Vendee Globe Race Leader Yannick Bestaven Approaches Point Nemo, the Most Isolated Point on Earth

27th December 2020
Yannick Bestaven, now close to Point Nemo Yannick Bestaven, now close to Point Nemo

At less than one day from Point Nemo, the most isolated point on earth, Vendee Globe Race leader Yannick Bestaven still has company in the shape of Charlie Dalin who is less than 50 miles behind. But as Thomas Ruyant finally profits from his more northerly position of recent days and returns to third, the leading pair have their buffer of nearly 270 miles.

Bestaven’s position and timing remains better than his nearest rival’s. Dalin is closer to the ice barrier and will have to tack again but they have still not found the faster-reaching conditions yet.

They are now just less than one week to Cape Horn which all of the top three skippers should round for their first time. Certainly, for the two leaders the forecast suggests they will get the full Cape Horn experience with winds in the Drake Strait exceeding 45kts with big seas and as of just now it is hard to see how they will avoid it without slowing down from the middle of the week.

The chasing group should be able to enjoy better breeze from this afternoon, not on Ruyant’s best side but he is best positioned to the north of this group and he should be able to open miles at the head of the peloton.

The light winds for the group should continue to benefit the hard pressing Louis Burton who has been very close to the exclusion zone during the night (European time) but he will be the first of this group to get the new wind and can be expected to close right up. His closest ‘target’ Benjamin Dutreux had technical problems yesterday with a headsail which required him to go north to make a fix. He is doing just over nine knots this morning and may still benefit from his positioning.

As for the other skippers who are more than 900 miles from the leader (almost three days), They will have to work hard to maintain that delta: Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) is able to sail straight along the AEZ, but will have to watch in her rearview mirror because Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence) should benefit from ideal conditions for his foiling scow: reaching fast on relatively flat seas. He can still harbour hopes of catching the lead group for the climb up the Atlantic.

Alan Roura (La Fabrique) has sorted his keel problems and his boat watching carefully. Behind him, Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia) are being affected by a depression coming from Tasmania which should abate for them on Monday , but in the meantime, it is a chance to make great speeds under New Zealand.

As for the Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa trio further back, under Tasmania, they are in the tail of the system with a very crossed sea which does not allow them to take any real advantage of the strong N’ly winds. Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) on a more northerly route has it better as does the Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One) behind it in the south-west sector flow.

Finally, Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) followed by Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit-Jiliti) were able to finish the straight line of the AMSA plateau defined by the Australian maritime security services: the way is now more open for them to dive south to get out of the Indian Ocean.

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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