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Vendée Arctique Leaders Just North of Ireland in Race Round Iceland

16th June 2022
Lack of sleep is starting to take an early toll on just the third day of racing in the Vendée Arctique off Ireland
Lack of sleep is starting to take an early toll on just the third day of racing in the Vendée Arctique off Ireland Credit: Jean-Louis Carli / Alea / Vendée Arctique

The leaders of the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne IMOCA, the race round Iceland and back to Les Sables d’Olonne, are only just north of Ireland - far less at Iceland - but for the solo skippers who have been struggling to make their desired progress northwards in very light winds, the accumulation of fatigue, stress and lack of sleep is starting to take an early toll on just the third day of racing.

Louis Burton, who set off into the first windy night at warp factor 4 on his highly fancied, black hulled Bureau Vallée, has found the going slow and very frustrating in the successive bands of light airs. His choice to go west which along with a small initial delay behind Charlie Dalin now sees him 100 nautical miles behind second Dalin’s placed APIVIA.

Vendée Arctique Leaders The leaders of the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne IMOCA, the race round Iceland and back to Les Sables d’Olonne, are only just north of Ireland - far less at Iceland

Charlie Dalin – who now might have a dream downwind routing virtually to the finish line – was making 14kts directly up the chart towards the Arctic while Burton was pointing at America doing four knots, his powerful black Manuard scow hobbled in the second lights airs zone since the start.

“I must have had only four hours of sleep since the start.” Reflected Louis Burton the solo skipper from Saint Malo who took third in the last Vendée Globe, “This has not been easy. The objective is to catch the southerly wind behind the front to go downwind to Iceland. But It's not easy to manage these passages, you have to take what there is to take and cross your fingers: the situation is different if you are 20 miles further north than south. Now I am going to have to really push to hang on to the guys in front of me as Charlie is really going very fast. But I have confidence in this boat, even if I feel stressed in 30 knots of wind. But between the high speeds of the start, then the calm, the fact of setting off again downwind at 30 knots and now a new calm… It is a yo-yo, ups and downs that psychologically are difficult. And now the lack of sleep really begins to be felt.”

© Jean-Louis Carli / Alea / Vendée Arctique

New Zealander Conrad Colman is also close to the edge, a little bit frazzled and lacking in sleep too, “The wind has just turned through 90 degrees which is indicative of the way it has been since the start, extremely changeable and with very little association from one day to the next, from one weather model to the next. So it constantly feels like we are picking our way through a minefield and are constantly re-inventing the game every day. I am feeling pretty wrecked. I have had a lot of sail changes in the last day. Sadly my spinnaker blew up. I don’t have that any more. And another sail fell in the water after a problem with the halyards. And so I have had to recover two very big sails from the water while the boat was still moving which are big, big efforts. Just trying to keep the boat in synch with the weather is requiring a huge effort. I am a little bit tired and frustrated and so I need to re-set, get some rest and get back in synch with my boat.”

Benjamin Ferré (Monnoyeur-Duo For A Job) still had the lead this afternoon, the third day of racing since leaving Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday evening, but he seems to be under increasing threat from Charlie Dalin in the west. Dalin in turn is more than 60 miles ahead of Jérémie Beyou (Charal) who has 15 miles on Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).

Conrad Colman, who left Sunday with high hopes of matching his tenth overall in last month’s Guyader Bermudes 1000 race, is in 11th in good company, sandwiched between Sebastien Marsset (Cap Agir Ensemble-sponsorswelcome) and Nicolas Lunven (Banque Populaire) but this trio are more than 100 miles behind breakaway Ferrée.

With 529 miles to the Iceland waypoint this afternoon latest routings have Dalin reaching there there Friday. With a low pressure moving east across his path he might well end up racing downwind down the north side of Iceland.

Published in Vendee Globe Team

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The 2024 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 44 skippers are aiming for the tenth 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 10 2024 and will be expected back in mid-January 2025.

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

Vendee Globe 2024 Key Figures

  • 10th edition
  • Six women (vs six in 2020)
  • 16 international skippers (vs 12 in 2020)
  • 11 nationalities represented: France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, China, USA, New Zealand (vs 9 in 2020)
  • 18 rookies (vs 20 in 2020)
  • 30 causes supported
  • 14 new IMOCAs (vs 9 in 2020)
  • Two 'handisport' skippers

At A Glance - Vendee Globe 2024

The 10th edition will leave from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, 2024

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