• Charal Takes Charge On Day 3

    IMOCA Open 60 – Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables – Day 3


    In fresh winds around 25kn West of Ireland, the fleet is heading North this morning with Thomas Ruyant FRA on his Open 60 LinkedOut increasing the advantage continuously. He was 16nm ahead of Jérémy Beyou FRA (Charal) at the last checkpoint. One mile farther behind followed Charlie Dalin FRA (APIVIA) on rank 3. Boris Herrmann GER (SeaExplorer) moved up on the 4th position with a 53nm deficit.

    The best woman Isabelle Joschke FRA/GER (MACSF) is on the 6th place leading Samantha Davies GBR (Initiatives Coeur) and Clarisse Cremer FRA (Banque Populaire) on the ranks 7 and 8 by a small margin. After Sébastien Simon FRA and Damien Séguin FRA, it was Armel Tripon FRA (Loccitane) yesterday who was forced to abandon the race with structural damages.

    Apparently, the repairs after a collision with flotsam done in a hurry before the start were not sustainable enough.

    Approaching the end of their third day at sea, the leaders in the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne Race are heading northwest in strong-northeasterly winds, about 550 nautical miles southeast of the IOC UNESCO Waypoint.

    After leading the race almost continually from the start, Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut has now been overtaken by fellow Frenchman Jérémie Beyou on Charal. The change in order at the head of affairs came this morning as the boats were sailing to the west of a centre of low pressure at a position about 225 miles west of Donegal.

    Beyou had chosen a course slightly further west than Ruyant (+2.3) and this gave him a faster reaching angle and both he and Charlie Dalin on Apivia (+3.4) – who is close to him on the water – were benefitting. Beyou is on course to reach the turning mark south west of Iceland at around midday on Thursday, but first he and his rivals will have to cross an area of light winds which could re-shuffle the order once again.

    Race director Jacques Caraës says it remains an open contest at the head of the fleet. “The wind is only going to ease off and be relatively erratic,” he said this morning. “We are starting to see the strategies taking shape, particularly Thomas Ruyant’s strategy, which is more off to the east…but this IOC-UNESCO buoy is still a long way off and anything can still happen.”

    The other big change up front is that Kevin Escoffier has lost quite a bit of ground after suffering a tear in his mainsail on board PRB. Escoffier who is aiming for his first Vendée Globe start in November on Vincent Riou’s now much-modified old boat, had dropped to 6th place in the ranking, around 40 miles behind Beyou.

    Just ahead of Escoffier, Boris Herrmann on Seaexplorer-YC de Monaco remains locked in a tight scrap with Isabelle Joschke on board MACSF who are holding fourth and fifth places respectively, with Herrmann around 34 miles off the leading pace. In his reports from on board Herrmann has made it clear that he has been holding back a bit in the tough upwind battles to protect his boat from conditions that he says are unlikely to be encountered in the Vendée Globe itself. He has also found it hard to settle in and get sleep on a course that has given the sailors little respite from the start.

    Elsewhere in the fleet, Clarisse Crémer is continuing to sail an impressive race as the leading non-foiler on Banque Populaire X. She was lying in eighth place, 62 miles behind Beyou and with Maxime Sorel, the next best non-foiling entry, about 20 miles behind her in 10th position on V&B Mayenne. The backmarker is Manuel Cousin whose Groupe SÉTIN was 260 miles behind Beyou at a position about 170 miles west-southwest of the Fastnet Rock.

    The catalogue of damage in the fleet continues to mount with three retirements out of the 20 starters. Following in the wake of Sébastien Simon (broken foil), is Damien Seguin (broken alternator mounting) and now Armel Tripon on board L’Occitane en Provence who is currently on his way back home. Tripon’s boat suffered structural damage in a collision three weeks ago and it is thought a weakness in the section of hull affected by that earlier impact has now been exposed by the upwind conditions in this race. Although disappointed to be retiring from a race that he was using to qualify for the Vendée Globe, Tripon was in an upbeat mood as he headed back to Brittany to get the problem sorted out. Under the rules he will still be able to qualify for the Vendée Globe because he can sail a replacement 2,000-mile course so long as he completes it by September 15th. So his team will be up against the clock.

    Other boats reporting on board issues include Kojiro Shiraishi’s DMG MORI Global One which has a mainsail hook problem which has prevented the Japanese sailor form raising his sail above a certain point, while the Italian sailor Giancarlo Pedote has electrical problems on board Prysmian Group.

    Ed Gorman


    Day 3 Monday 6.7. After the storm is before the storm.

    The ocean is very very blue right now. Cold and clear air. Warmth in the shelter of the cockpit. The sun makes it all easier out here. Today for me: Drying the skin and clothes after yesterday’s wind battle. Quite a bit of tension on the nerves when the boat slams hard and it gusts above 30. In a race around the world it’s quite likely to never be in 3rd reef, to never go upwind against such nasty stuff. I took it slow. Slowed down. Sat there next to the pilot and as soon as the boat wanted to start foiling I would head her more into the wind to slow down to prevent the nasty crashes into waves.

    I still feel a bit of the tension. It just slowly gets out of the body. Usually it’s accompanied with a bit of a blue note and feeling alone. Today that’s better than usual. It’s more impatience. Wanting to be fast and quick back home with my new baby. Mentally this feels easier then usual - more like a coastal training. The next waypoint already in 3 days. That’s mentally very achievable. I will just be fully in the rhythm and arrived here on board on the high seas by then.
    The tack today took a really long time. Starting with lots of routings to decide the best moment, all the stacking, after that tuning into the new mode and finally cleaning up the messy ropes in the cockpit.

    Now nothing is left. Then to sleep and catch up to the full energy level and sharpness. I would say I am at 60% now. Every activity takes a bit longer. The brain is slower. But I would not manage to lay down during the day. Don’t know why ... so many details to be looked after. Although I really didn’t sleep much at all yet. And when I slept - never got woken up by the alarm. Always before. Often only 10 mns. Checking the ais, the radar, the speed of the others... unfortunately I lost the leading pack on ais. Fortunately I am out of the coastal stuff ... and on the real ocean.

    Earlier This morning I tacked very near the Irish coast. Wouldn’t have minded to scout out one of these little bays, anchor and hike to the next distillery. It’s such a nice sensation to sail on flat water after a day of hard pounding !
    The ocean is still pretty wavy right here. It prevents the boat from picking up more speed.

    But she is at peace now. A small humming at the foil. A gentle roll with the swell. Just a few hours till we approach another low with strong winds starting at midnight again but only lasting till 5 in the morning. The rest after that is 2 more tacks and light to medium upwind fetching. Looking forward to tomorrow morning after the storm. Hoping to gain some miles back on the front. But not inclined to risk anything. We still need this boat! Once we are through the next 2 nights we are somewhat in what I would call the north. Above the track of the typical lows. Very short nights. Cold. I am looking forward to that. I will speak to the gods of the north in my dream.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne Preview started by Photoboy View original post