Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Vendee Globe

With just five days or under 2000 miles to go until the first skippers finish the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe the outcome still hangs in the balance. Today and tonight Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton of France and Germany’s Boris Herrmann have the chance of making a small but potentially decisive breakaway from the hard chasing group of six solo skippers, their small advantage could grow over the weekend. Meantime, at the back of the fleet, France’s Alexia Barrier and Finland’s Ari Huusela face the toughest moments of their race yet as they are set to round Cape Horn over the weekend in 40-45kt winds and big seas.

Dalin-Burton-Herrmann are the standout trio going into the last weekend

If they are able to sail clear first from a high-pressure ridge and connect with a small secondary low-pressure system, leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) will be rewarded by the chance to jump ahead of their rivals and perhaps establish enough of a gap to ensure they finish on the podium. But the timing to catch this little weather system is critical. Miss it and they will be left behind.

There is still every chance that Herrmann can become the first ever non-French winner of the Vendée Globe, or indeed to match the results of his close friend Briton Alex Thomson who finished second in 2016-17 and third in 2012-13, Mike Golding who was third in 2004-5 or Ellen MacArthur, runner up to Michel Desjoyeaux in 2000-2001.

Speaking on the English Live show to Italian ocean record holder Giovanni Soldini who he has sailed more than 30,000 miles with – the equivalent of more than one lap of the planet with Herrmann warned.

“The next hours are very critical. It could be in the next six to 12 hours the race could be pre-decided. If I can keep a good breeze and speed, I am right now doing 16-17kts, if I can keep this with a good course to the NNE and can soak into the stronger breeze to the north of this high pressure if I can line up in that breeze and keep the same distance to Charlie then that would be a big relief. The opposite here is if the wind eases off and I get stuck 70 miles behind Charlie and they get away then things would work out very differently. Thomas Ruyant, Damien Seguin and Yannick Bestaven are all on a very nice line and if I suddenly see them going 16 knots that can very quickly change the place between third and sixth place. Nothing is decided today. It is incredible to have a kind of restart five days before the finish. It is incredible. I am looking forwards to gybing north and then getting into the bigger seas 4-5 metre waves like back to sailing in the Southern Ocean a bit.”

Race leader Charlie Dalin, just 65 miles ahead of Louis Burton this afternoon, also coolly highlighted the likelihood of "a close finish".

"The outcome of the match is not at all clear but I will just continue to sail as well as possible". Remarked metronomically regular Dalin who has been the most consistent leader throughout the race, topping the standings on 199 rankings including today, the 75th day of racing.

And while the next five days of racing will be the most exciting and closest watched of any edition of the Vendée Globe yet, the first boats to finish could be in the early hours of the 27th, some positions on the final podium may yet be decided by the subtraction of the time allowances allocated by the International Jury to sailors who helped in the search and rescue of Kevin Escoffier between November 30th and December 1st after Escoffier’s boat broke in two. Herrmann carries six hours to be subtracted from his race time, Yannick Bestaven 10 hours and 15 minutes and Jean Le Cam 16 hours and 15 minutes.

Therefore the podium and other places may be decided by the subtraction of these redress times after the finish line.

Behind the current three leaders, the pursuers are unlikely to benefit as much from the low pressure systems. “They will continue to sail to the North,” says Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe meteorologist. “And if they can't get to the first system, they should benefit from the second system which is much larger."

Italy’s Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group), in seventh is part of this group, confirms: “We are going to continue heading north to follow the rotation of the wind. And as soon as we get out of this high pressure area, we will hook into the winds from the low to race downwind and reach to Sables-d'Olonne. Nothing is ever decided until the finish line.”

Giovanni Soldini said : "Boris is a great sailor, he is maybe a little bit German but he has a nice spirit, he is a great guy and we have had a lot of experience together. I am so happy to see him going so well in the Vendée Globe. I think Boris is perfectly in the race I know he has studied very well the situation with the meteo. He has sailed a great race especially good in the Southern Ocean to come out with the perfect boat with no damage and that is the key. He works well with the boat and tries not to break anything. It is a great success to have the boat."

Alexia Barrier & Ari Huusela, a Cape Horn worthy of their Vendée Globe

At almost 6000 miles behind the leaders approaching Cape Horn Alexia Barrier (TSE - 4myplanet) and Ari Huusela (STARK) are facing particularly tough conditions as they prepare for a challenging exit from the Pacific Ocean after eight days of hard sailing in squalls, rain and even hail. They can expect 40-45kts of wind and five metre seas.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

The race at the front of the Vendée Globe Race is electrifying. None of the eight previous editions has ever witnessed a race finish as open and intense. Right now the leading skippers are trying to get their heads around a do-or-die sprint to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne which has now less than one week to run.

Even the most informed of France’s pre-race race prognosticators did not project a podium finish for the maverick 35-year-old from Saint Malo Louis Burton, but most avid race watchers now see the skipper of Bureau Vallée as having a small lead as he is furthest north and faster than his nearest rivals.

Even if the rankings have him fourth this evening – as he is to the west of his rivals - it looks like he may be first to round the Azores high pressure and connect with the low pressure express train to the finish line.

“He can be into the southwesterly winds first and benefit from a lane through the high-pressure corridor with a more constant wind flow and then with a more sustained better angle than his pursuers,” suggested Sébastien Josse the weather consultant for the Vendée Globe. “The others will be more downwind, forcing them to manoeuvre more. Louis could stay in the same flow as far as Les Sables d'Olonne and be in several hours ahead at the finish."

But the leader on the rankings Charlie Dalin says the two will re-connect, “We will meet again under the Azores and we will have to do a series of gybes and sail changes, there is still a lot of work to do before the finish!"

As the tension builds and time counts down to the finish, the skippers are feeling the pressure like never before. Thomas Ruyant continues to be quick but the skipper who originates from Dunkirk, Normandy was clearly frustrated that with no port foil he will be compromised during the final sprint and may lose out.

“I knew the Atlantic climb was going to be complicated with a lot of starboard tack,” he told the radio session this morning. "With a compromised boat it is difficult and frustrating not to compete with those around me on equal terms. But here I am, I take my troubles patiently and hold on to a competitive spirit. In a few days, the downwind conditions will allow me to stabilize things a bit. There might be less of a performance gap so I'll do everything to keep in touch."

Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) has progressively recovered miles since his passage across the Doldrums and is back pacing the leaders mile for mile, quickest on all of today’s measures and looking like he has the potential to finish across the line in a podium position.

“It is pretty bouncy in the trade winds. Boris is looking forward to getting into the high pressure system and getting into the lighter regime to really make sure he in the best shape for the finish sprint. He is intent in really looking after himself these next couple of days. He is very even headed and in a good place in his head. The breeze is dropping sooner than expected and you can see Louis is into light winds already,” commented Herrmann’s usual co-skipper Will Harris.

Predictions have the leaders arriving into Les Sables on the 27th January with as many as six boats arriving on the same day.

Ranking at 17:00 UTC

1. Charlie Dalin [Apivia ]—> 2353.26 nm from the finish
2. Boris Herrmann [SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco] —> 114.04 nm from lead
3. Thomas Ruyant [ LinkedOut ] —> 118.96 nm from the lead
4. Louis Burton [ Bureau Vallée 2 ]—> 143.91 nm from the lead
5. Yannick Bestaven [ Maître CoQ IV ] —> 171.83 nm from lead

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

The Vendée Globe remains wide open. A leading group of nine skippers form the vanguard with a slight advantage for two skippers, Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton. The skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 continues his more westerly route and all eyes are on the weather files. But all the way through the fleet, even at day 72 of racing, there is an intense satisfaction in still being in the race, from the front runners all the way through to Finland’s Ari ‘Super Happy’ Huusela who should round Cape Horn this weekend, and shut the exit door from the Pacific behind him

Depression, gales, three-storey building-sized waves, even the Doldrums, at 72 days most are deeply happy. The morning on the Vendée Globe started today at 0400hrs UTC with the voice of Clément Giraud, a happy Cape Horner since Sunday. The skipper of Compagnie du Lit / Jiliti, send positive messages to those who are following him from land, “We are the lucky ones, we are really very lucky, we sailors in the Vendée Globe, because we don't talk about money! The word "euro" has been struck from our vocabulary ... Here, "happy" is the most used word!"

And a few hours later Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) echoes the same message: "Happy? Yes, I still am. Several times a day, I tell myself that I have an incredible chance to do this race, that I am having strong, intense and fabulous moments. And I'm having a blast! " So too Ari Huusela “I have a month left to the finish and I feel like I could do another month beyond that. I am so happy out here. At less than a week to Cape Horn I am loving every day.”

Rankings, a moveable feast? “The situation has not really changed since yesterday,” smiled Christian Dumard, the Vendée Globe weather expert. Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) are still out in front. The skipper who now lives in St. Malo has moved slightly further west. “His is an interesting strategy,” added Christian Dumard. “As if the timing (of the incoming low) is not as forecast, he will have no margin to play with.” Burton was the guest on the French Vendée Live this lunchtime: “I am trying to build on the fact that I got quickly out of the Doldrums, so am sticking with this strategy.” Armel Le Cléac’h, the winner four years ago, believes that five sailors are in with a chance of winning this time. The two frontrunners, Dalin and Burton, along with Thomas Ruyant, Boris Hermann and Yannick Bestaven. “We are going to have to take into account that the sailors are tired and their boats too,” he added.

The meaning of the Vendee Globe rankings

Beware of the rankings! “The further we go forward, the more they give a one-sided picture,” added Christian Dumard. The battle between the nine skippers at the front of the fleet is so hard fought that their position in the rankings should be taken with a pinch of salt. The skippers are ranked according to their position based on the distance left to sail to the finish. However, it is impossible to head straight for Les Sables d’Olonne… The weather expert added that the measurement uses the longitude. So, while Damien Seguin retook second place today at noon, he is in a much less favourable position than Louis Burton, who is currently fifth. In fact, Groupe APICIL is more than 450 miles from APIVIA from west to east, while Bureau Vallée 2 is just 230 miles away in longitude from the leading boat.

Rankings at 17:00 hrs

1. Charlie Dalin [Apivia ]—> 2596.42 nm from the finish
2. Thomas Ruyant [ LinkedOut ] —> 116.35 nm from the lead
3. Damien Seguin [ Groupe Apicil ] —> 118.96 nm from the lead
4. Louis Burton [ Bureau Vallée 2 ]—> 131.25 nm from the lead
5. Boris Herrmann [SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco ] —> 152.84 nm from lead

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

After more than 25,000 miles of racing this Vendée Globe hangs in the balance. Who will win? At the head of the fleet now Charlie Dalin (Apivia) has been in first place 178 times since November 8th when the race started, Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) has been in first twice, and one of those times was on start day after he jumped the start gun!

Dalin is racing harder on the wind, on a tighter angle as his port side foil is compromised but trying to be closer to the Azores, to the east, when he hooks into the low pressure which will accelerate him to the finish. Burton has the bow of Bureau Vallée down, powering on a more westerly slant at 17kts trying to go faster to reach the low earlier but more to the west. This climb up the NE’ly trades blowing at 16-18kts will take another three days.

Bureau Vallée 2 has smaller foils and is the defending Vendée Globe champion the winner of the Vendée Globe 2017 in the hands of Armel Le Cléac’h. Even if its general condition will be a bit degraded Burton can still operate at close to 100 per cent potential as he takes his option to the west. The leading duo have a lateral separation of 200 miles and it will grow today.

Behind them there is a certain symmetry, Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) has a truncated port foil he cannot use whilst Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) should be close to full power and may take more of the lower, faster road as Burton is doing, or something in between the two options.

As for the ‘chasers’ they are now all out of the doldrums on Tuesday morning, with the exception of Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) who was still struggling under a cloudy mess. Maxime Sorel (V and B-Mayenne), he crossed the Equator at 2157hrsUTC last night in tenth after 71 days 08 hours 37 minutes. He was slowed down immediately as the doldrums are very close to the equator. Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) should reach the equator tonight. He is a day ahead of Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) who in turn is nearly 500 miles ahead of Romain Attanasio (Pure-Best Western). As for Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) out of the race is still progressing at reduced speed towards Salvador de Bahia in easterly trade winds and on calm seas. She is 800 miles from the port and the Franco-German skipper should reach there before this weekend. And 2,200 miles from the leader, Jérémie Beyou (Charal) is sailing steadily away from Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Alan Roura (La Fabrique) the trio is sailing upwind in front of the permanent cold front.

Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit-Jiliti) seems happy even if he has lost some distance to the boats in front, he is off Patagonia "There are quite a few currents in the area! And then I saw my first boat since Rio de Janeiro (on the way down)! A big fishing boat that I contacted in English by VHF radio ... It was on a kind of step where the seabed went from 800 meters to 200 meters! The continental shelf is quite extensive around here.”

And next weekend will be important for Alexia Barrier (TSE-4myplanet) who is still close to the retired Sam Davies (Heart Initiatives) and has this Finnish pilot Ari Huusela (STARK) 200 miles behind, these three solo sailors should be at Cape Horn at the weekend, or just after.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

The Doldrums did not give up the Vendée Globe leaders as easily as was initially predicted but first placed Charlie Dalin (Apivia) appears to have skirted round the worst of a dynamic cloud system and emerged this afternoon with his margin intact.

Dalin’s more easterly position and his timing seems to have kept him away from a nasty zone of cloud and light winds which slowed Germany’s Boris Herrmann for a period today, conceding third place on the leaderboard to Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).

The top five boats are emerging from what – even so – seems a relatively painless passage across The Doldrums and the two yellow hulled IMOCAs Bureau Vallée 2 and Apivia remain head to head in a speed match as they start the five day long climb up the North Easterly trade winds.

Herrmann’s seems to have lost 40 miles or so in the cloudy mess but his demeanour remains totally even, confirming today that he feels no additional stress from his position in the vanguard of this Vendée Globe, challenging well to finish on the podium.

“To be honest I feel good, I try on this Vendée Globe each day one day at a time. I try not to think about the past or the future too much. I am sticking to that same pattern, I don’t even realise that we are racing for the Vendée Globe here. For me it is race to the next sked, almost. That keeps my heart a bit lighter, it is more playful. I am not feeling any stress, any pressure. I hope that is not a bad thing.” Herrmann smiled today on the link with the Vendée Live show.

Guest today Pete Goss, the British skipper and adventurer who raced on the 1996 race and was awarded the MBE and French Legion d’Honneur for his rescue of fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli after turning his boat and sailing two days back upwind in stormy winds and seas, observed: “I think that (Boris’ view) is a very positive way to go about things generally. There is no point in pondering over the past or worrying about what might happen in the future. Being able to be positive 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a very strong thing on this race. I think Boris has it just right.” Goss said.

Herrmann explained to the French audience: “I didn't sleep much last night, with squalls in the doldrums. The sea and the sky are a mess, you can feel that we are entering the North Atlantic. There's a huge swell and a chop in all directions, it slows the boat down a lot. Tonight, I should be in a stable trade wind. We're going through the stages one after the other, quite quickly, which is good. At the latitude of Recife, I've started to go west, to foil. For a while I lost quite a few miles because I was a bit low, a bit slow. I had been looking at the satellite imagery of the doldrums that it went better in the West. Today this is not really the case anymore... We'll see tonight.”

Miranda Merron at Cape Horn

British racer Miranda Merron passed Cape Horn in 22nd place, exhausted but elated after a fast, but challenging run in to the famous landmark she first passed on Amer Sports Too in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2002, sailing as navigator on the all-women crew skippered. Her accomplished race so far is a major success for her and her partner Halvard Mabire who do the majority of the preparation and project management themselves.

In 17th Pip Hare today had to deal with a problem with her keel canting system when one of the control lines snapped and she had to replace it. The British skipper has been trying to avoid the worst of a nasty low pressure system 520 miles SE of Uruguay.

Ranking at 17:00

1. Charlie Dalin Burton [Apivia ]—> 3,039.01 nm from the finish
2. Louis Burton [ Bureau Vallée 2 ] —> 7.29 nm from the lead
3. Thomas Ruyant [ LinkedOut ] —> 46.49 nm to leader
4. Boris Herrmann [ SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco ]—> 66.32 nm to leader
5. Yannick Bestaven [ Maître CoQ IV ] —> 78 nm to leader

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

(Day 70, Leaders just past Fernando de Noronha) ‘Considering the speed that phenomena evolve in the Doldrums a little luck is always needed’ - Vendée Globe meteo adviser Christian Dumard annexes his prediction for the Vendée leaders’ passage of the ICTZ with a warning.

Even with all of the tools and assimilated knowledge, no doubt enhanced during last winter and spring’s lockdown learning phase in Europe, the passage of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone’s unexpected squalls, prolonged calms under clouds, and variable, shifting winds – is always a time of high tension for Vendée Globe skippers.

But for the tightly matched leading group of six skippers, time micro-analysing the latest files, data and images, is every bit as important as keeping the boat fast.

On the latest models the doldrums are more active than expected. The critical convection zones have grown and become more numerous. The skippers need to watch the evolution and the movement of these cells which are not small isolated squalls, They can quickly and unexpectedly grow to be several tens of miles or even several hundred miles.

To monitor these the skippers use real-time satellite images which show large clusters of clouds. Forecast models have improved a lot and can model areas with light winds better now, as well as the areas with the risk of heavy rains. Big clouds usually mean heavy rain, wind convection and calms are possible with strong gusts at the edge of the clouds. They can look to thunderstorm forecasts from the European Prediction Center. This index has only been available for a few years. They can and will look at currents that can bring warmer waters which create more convection and as well convectivity indices provided by the models.

Weather expert Dumard notes, “The models are not all created equal. The finer the mesh the better the forecast. It must also take into account the temperature of the water as well. In this game, the data from the European model (ECMWF) which offers a resolution of 9 km, available to the public on Windy, is often the most efficient.”

Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton have a west-east separation of just 25 miles late this afternoon. In fact Burton is further north than the nominal leader Dalin on Apivia while the skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 is quicker all the time as the two yellow-hulled IMOCA’s reach northwards in an SE’ly trade wind at speeds around 19-20kts.

At the time of writing it was probable that Burton would lead across the Equator early this evening, marking something of a triumphant return after the skipper lost miles to the peloton repairing at Macquarie Island and going on to round Cape Horn in ninth more than 550 miles behind Dalin. And it will be the second time in consecutive races that this boat has led the Vendée Globe back into the northern hemisphere after 2016-17 winner led, en route to victory.

Computed to be just a couple of miles apart in terms of distance to the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne’s Nouch Sud buoy, the two leaders saw Germany’s third placed Boris Herrmann re-adjust his track to the west overnight and this morning. He has picked back up to speed, pacing Burton at just over 20kts, but still promoting speculation that Herrmann might not, after all, have all his sail inventory intact.

Speaking of Herrmann on this afternoon’s Vendée Globe Live show in English Charlie Dalin said: “He is positioning for the doldrums and maybe the scenario afterwards, the doldrums will be a bit less active further west but after that it is harder to say, but we will see who is right in 36 to 48 hours. We will see. We should be out or nearly out. I believe he has a full foil and is a strong contender in to the finish but I don’t believe any boat is at 100 per cent of its potential. I don’t believe he will be at 100 per cent, everyone will have their problems, sails, electronics, hydraulics. I think everyone has some problem at this stage of the race."

Destremau (Merci) forced to retire
Sébastien Destremau, the skipper of the 26th placed IMOCA Merci, has been finally forced to abandon his attempt to complete his second Vendée Globe.

Destremau, the 46 year old skipper from Toulon, has had a succession of problems since he was in the North Atlantic, most recently in the Indian Ocean with his autopilots and his steering system.

Although he was this afternoon less than 60 nautical miles from Dunedin, South Island New Zealand, the skipper of Merci plans to continue to Christchurch where there are better facilities to repair. After his consecutive problems he was nearly 7,500 miles behind the leader, but more particularly Destremau was nearly 2,000 miles behind 25th placed Ari Huusela

Sam Davies Cameo Appearance

A somewhat unexpected surprise for Vendée Live viewers today was a cameo appearance from Sam Davies who gave a brief update from Initiatives Coeur. Davies had to retire into Cape Town but restarted and is continuing her circumnavigation outwith the Vendée Globe, sailing close to Alexia Barrier recently

"It is nothing like being in the Vendée Globe and frustrating to be so far behind but it is amazing to continue the adventure and to continue to be here especially for Initiatives Coeur and all the children I am helping. I have had a lot of feedback and I know we have raised a lot of money since I restarted in Cape Town.

I have been in touch with Miranda (Merron) we have a little ritual to get together on WhatsApp and we have both a few beers on our boats and choose Friday nights to drink a beer together on WhatsApp. I have been in touch with Alexia as we are in close together and in the same weather systems so it is nice to have people around me. It was lonely having started again from Cape Town but it is better now.

It is really hard to motivate myself, yes, especially when the group I imagine I would have been with went around Cape Horn and headed off up the Atlantic as I was just then into the Pacific and so there was an ocean between us.”

Ranking at 17:00 UTC

1. Louis Burton [ Bureau Vallée 2 ]—> 3,326.13 nm from the finish
2. Charlie Dalin [ Apivia ] —> 3.07 nm from the lead
3. Boris Herrmann [ SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco ]—> 43.58 nm to leader
4. Thomas Ruyant [ LinkedOut ] —> 98.13 nm to leader
5. Damien Seguin [ Groupe Apicil ] —> 120.37 nm to leader

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

Racing now with less than 160 miles to go to pass Recife on the northeasterly corner of Brasil, Vendee Globe leading duo Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton will be starting to recognise a threat from German skipper Boris Herrmann as he moved into third place overnight Thursday and is now just 39 miles behind Dalin and 17 behind Burton;

The 37-year-old from Hamburg has been quickest of the top group overnight, profiting especially from his position with Seaexplorer Yacht Club de Monaco slightly further offshore than Dalin and Burton – about 30 miles – but more particularly because he has a pair of larger, new generation, working foil on his IMOCA 60, which were upgraded last March, and he has consistently reported that he has a full armoury of largely undamaged sails. Herrmann was quicker than leader Dalin this morning by two knots and in theory his gains should continue at least until the transition zone off Recife where the wind could be lighter depending on the time of day the leaders pass.

Herrmann has played to a patient, careful strategy in the Southern Oceans looking to preserve his material as best as possible, staying out of the worst of the winds in the extreme south but pressing for high average speeds from his VPLP-Verdier IMOCA which was built as Edmond de Rothschild and skippered by Sébastien Josse in the last race. In 2016 the French skipper retired in the south with multiple problems. With two racing circumnavigations under his belt already Herrmann was 12th in the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2019 and seventh in last year’s solo Vendée Arctic Les Sables d’Olonne warm-up race. It would not be a surprise to see the German skipper leading the fleet after leaving the Brasilian coast. But the route north is not as simple as it maybe seemed.

The Doldrums extend from about 0 ° 30 South to 3 ° 30 North, that is to say about 200 to 250 miles wide at 33 ° West but it is maybe not as narrow and easy as some have been suggesting. There are a few storm cells forming and the cloud mass appears very dark. The trade winds in the Northern hemisphere seem to converge with those of the Southern hemisphere to generate an approximately easterly flow for the weekend.

But the after the hard, bouncy slamming climb up the NE’ly trades to the Cape Verde archipelago the big question arises about crossing a transition zone, a wide anticyclonic ridge of light winds which will stretch from the Canaries all the way across the Atlantic which must be crossed. And so while there has perhaps been a supposition that the Vendée Globe podium might be decided among the top six just now within 85 miles of each other this morning there are three more behind between 150 and 225 miles behind, including Jean Le Cam in ninth. And the time compensations for the search and rescue of Kevin Escoffier, 6 hours to Herrmann, 10hrs 15 to Yannick Bestaven and 16hrs 15mins to Le Cam may yet prove crucial.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

Today passing Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, there are no options in terms of strategy and choices on the northwards climb up the Atlantic for the tightly matched Vendée Globe leaders. But the conditions are difficult and tiring. The E’ly tradewinds shift in direction and more particularly in strength and that is proving especially wearing, with squalls and gusts which make setting the optimum sail difficult on the close reach.

Apivia skipper Charlie Dalin who has led now for two days is 20 miles ahead of second-placed Louis Burton on Bureau Vallée 2. The pair have been consistently quicker than the four other key rivals round about them.

One month ago when he was SW of Tasmania Dalin had to repair the bearing which secures the foil as it enters the hull aperture on his port side. He is paying a price for not having full use of the large hydrofoil as he tries to get away from Burton who is racing a 2016 generation boat, but the leading skipper remains objective:

“I have to fight with the weapons I have.” He told the Vendée Globe Live show today, “One month ago I came close to abandoning so I am just glad to be here, but we will be on starboard for a long time for sure and it has already started. I'm not sure we don't have to tack in the Doldrums because it looks rather interesting and challenging right now. There will be a lot of sail changes to be made, reefing so that will inevitably play out. But overall there is a lot of starboard tack in the trade winds of the northern hemisphere. The routing of the Doldrums appears to be quicker and easier in theory than in reality so we have to be wary of any timings,” warned the French skipper who grew up in Le Havre and was French Offshore Champion in 2014 and 2016.

“I cannot fully deploy my foil but I can press on it at a certain heeling angle and more so I have a little bit of downforce but nothing like I would normally have had if it were fully deployed. The speeds that I could be at without this compromise are nothing like those I am sailing at now, but, hey let us keep it in perspective because my Vendée Globe could have stopped in Australia or new Zealand but here I am one month on, leading the race. This is just a bonus! It is great! I am very happy and I will do everything to keep the lead and get to the end”.

For all that, Dalin has been quicker during today making 16kts, only outpaced by Germany’s Boris Herrmann who is steadily coming into his own now as the winds build to more consistent foiling conditions. The sailor from Hamburg is up to fifth place and was making 17kts this afternoon, but at the same northing, the same latitude, as former leader Yannick Bestaven who lost 435 miles to the chasing pack in the transition through the Cabo Frio cold front, and is sixth this afternoon.

“Being fifth is a bit nominal, north-south Yannick and I are in the same position. It must be tough for Yannick I feel a bit sorry for him, but I hope he catches up and we all make it a good race together, it's exciting. Thomas Ruyant said he can see us all finishing on the same day, that would be really cool!” explained Herrmann this afternoon,

“Last night was really bad. I had a 26-knot gust and was afraid of breaking stuff and so I feel a bit knackered, tired. It is not as warm as two days ago when it was super warm, unbearable. During the daytime in the bunk, I don’t sleep, I just get a headache. There are little things to complain about, but the race is absolutely amazing, fantastic. You almost wish to accelerate this game, like a time-lapse to see what happens. I am hoping to keep making miles but that is not so much in my hands. Some good wind tomorrow should allow me to foil towards the front.”

Weather routings have the leaders crossing the Equator Saturday before breaking into the NE’ly trades. A transition zone around the south of the Azores high pressure could be the only minor pothole on what looks to be a quick passage to Les Sables d’Olonne.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

With nothing more than a handful of small miles separating them, the leaders of the Vendée Globe are engaged on a straight head-to-head speed test which may yet prove decisive, and which may finally show the ultimate value of a fully functioning latest generation foil package.

In what is likely to be a close reaching then reaching drag race up the Brazilian coast past Recife, 600 miles to the north of leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia), the actual speed potential – the combination of a working foil and J2 headsail – could deliver the key advantage which might then be carried into a North Atlantic sprint finish that presently looks relatively fast and straightforward.

Dalin, from his position about 60 miles to the East of Yannick Bestaven, has managed to eke out a gain to be 10 miles ahead Maître CoQ IV, sailing a faster angle with slightly more wind pressure. Louis Burton is holding steady in third at 23 miles behind.

In terms of the various packages, Maître CoQ IV has smaller less powerful foils as does Burton on Bureau Vallée 2. It is not completely clear if Dalin’s port side foil is compromised because of his repair to the box bearing. In fourth Thomas Ruyant has a truncated foil and lacks power. And already sixth place Boris Herrmann with big, new generation foils fitted to his 2016-17 boat is pulling back miles on Damien Seguin’s Groupe APICIL, first daggerboard boat which is tracking furthest to the East.

Speaking of what he considers to be his potential Boris Herrmann said early this afternoon, “I am normally a humble person but here I would say in theory our boat should have the best potential for the next eight days on starboard tack where I have a proper full port side foil, which should be better and more efficient than Louis Burton and Maître CoQ IV. I suppose, I don’t know how Apivia will go, it may be the fastest but we have really good potential in this boat, but it is now really in the hands of the weather scenario as well, how much the bungee stretches out and in what sequence and if we find the wind to use the foil and when. If it is 11-12kts and 13-14kts then we are onto the foil and can zoom up to the others.”

IMOCA Class president Antoine Mermod gave his own evaluation on the English Live show today, declaring the game wide open,

“It is hard to know what the real state of each boat is. It is sure you need to have the best package for the next eight days on starboard tack, that means a good foil working well and a J2 (main genoa headsail) working well. I think for Thomas Ruyant we know he can’t use it and then I think it will be painful for him. And for Maître CoQ IV close to the lead he is ready to do well but with a small foil but with a good overall package. And from that point of view Boris with big foils and a J2 is in a good position. Remember that a one or two knot speed differential over 24 hours represents a big gain in this context.”

And while it is mostly going to be a speed race in the trade winds to the Doldrums at least, closer to the Brasilian coast there is more potential for disruptive rain squalls and also lighter spells of wind especially at night and in the early morning. This may especially be the case close in to Recife. But in the North Atlantic there seems to be the potential reward of a low pressure system for the leaders to hook into fast SW’ly winds which might offer a record paced passage from the equator to Les Sables d’Olonne.

Surveying the sunshine, the light trade winds the closeness of the fleet and the intensity of the race to the finish, Herrman smiled. "It's kind of the same sailing conditions as when we train in Port-La-Forêt. The sea is flat, the wind is light, I have the impression of being in Brittany.”

He added, “Yesterday evening my routing with the GFS (American weather model) shows us getting to Les Sables d'Olonne in 13 days. Whatever it is, that is good for morale.”

According to Vendée Globe weather consultant Christian Dumard although there have been long sections of what would be considered atypical weather on this race – not least a complicated descent into the Roaring 40s and a long spell of light weather in the Pacific – it appears the North Atlantic might finally deliver a climb back to France direct from the roadbooks, the NE’ly trades transitioning straight to a low pressure system.

Dumard concludes, “We could be looking at long starboard tack in the NE’ly trade winds up to the Canaries, a depression to hang on and a good SW’ly flow to reach Les Sables d'Olonne. It could be quick… ”

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

(Day 66, 250 miles east of Rio) After 65 days racing and over 23,000 nautical miles sailed on the course, the Vendée Globe in effect restarted off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil today with the five top boats regrouping within 26 miles of each other in terms of the distance to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne.

Charlie Dalin (Apivia) has taken the lead again from Yannick Bestaven, the French skipper of Maître Coq IV who lost the biggest leading margin of the race, over 435 nautical miles. But the 48-year-old skipper from La Rochelle has found breeze this afternoon, closer to the Brazilian shore, and is marginally further north than the Apivia sailor.

Dalin, Bestaven, double Parlympic gold medallist Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL), Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) are compacted tightly off the Brasilian coast, trying to climb into the Easterly tradewinds which are not at all well established at least until the NE’ly corner at Recife.

“The route to the north is anything but clear. Until Recife, the northeast trade winds are unstable, there are bubbles with less wind, and variations in strength and direction. On the water, there must be pressure differences and therefore speed differences between the boats. It is not at all easy,” Sébastien Josse, the weather consultant for the Vendée Globe explained this morning.

And from now to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne it seems certain the final 4600 miles will be contested with the intensity of an inshore coastal race where every mile counts. And the tiny gaps – there are just 127 nautical miles back to ninth placed Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) – suggest this epic ninth edition of the Vendée Globe may see places decided on a photo finish.

Dalin warned this morning, “Nothing is settled yet, the wind is not at all established in this area where I am sailing. I still see 24 hours of winds which remain unstable in terms of strength and direction. As we are not yet into the more constant wind there are still lots of things going on. I don’t think it will be until Wednesday morning on the early rankings that we will really see things settle a bit.”

He added, “I'm glad I got back into this. Four days ago, I was 450 miles behind. If I had been told then that I would take the lead four days hence I would not have believed it. It is great to have had this opportunity.”

Dalin casts his eye over his title rivals and remarks, “The condition of the boats will matter. I suspect that not everyone is at 100%, no one really is, but who has what? I know what I have: I am handicapped by my port foil. We'll really see what that means when the wind sets in, so don't lets jump to any conclusions right now. We will see if the real performance against these guys is affected. I touch wood, I have no sails problems. I hope it lasts ! "

Bestaven, in second this afternoon, said: “It is a complicated day both in the East and in the West. I thought at the beginning that by being more West, I might be the first one to get out, but I can't say, from one weather file to the other, because it changes in all directions. I'm here because it’s where I could go with the wind there was in the soft zone. I'm making "small gains" trying to get closer to the direct route. I’ll get back in the race when I have more established winds. The sea is fairly crossed, which shakes up the whole boat and reduces the speed a lot as soon as you fly forwards. Even if I launch off at 5.7 knots, the speed is reduced to 4.3 knots. It's very hot, already 35 degrees this morning, yesterday I had up to 38°C."

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under
Page 1 of 21
Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating