• After The Cape: Competition Does Not Subside

    Dalin Ready To Take the Fight To Bestaven....Next Two Boats Monday Morning, Seguin or Ruyant?
    Extreme deliverance for Bestaven, Dalin celebrates by adding more sail




    Charlie Dalin (Apivia) became the second Vendée Globe skipper to round Cape Horn at 0439hrs early this Sunday morning, the 36 year old French skipper who originates from Le Havre, passing much closer than leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) did some 14 hours and 56 minutes earlier.

    Fighting his way north in 30-35 knot winds on his Verdier designed IMOCA Dalin was just six miles offshore of Cape Horn, passing during the hours of darkness.


    https://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/tracking-map



    But the first timer in the ‘big south’ – as yesterday was Bestaven - completed his initiation as a Cape Horner by calling the keeper of the lonely lighthouse at the end of the world and passing on his thanks and his regards, while quietly savouring the intense relief, the satisfying moments of deliverance into the ‘home’ Atlantic Ocean.

    Dalin sounded a tiny note of regret. That he had led at two of the race’s three Great Capes and not the third is contrary to his methodical, empirical mathematician’s mind - his ideal of completing the set.

    But if anything it will add fuel to Dalin’s desire to get back on terms with Bestaven during what promises the climb back up the Atlantic that looks set to be every bit as complicated – big picture strategy and small time tactics – as was the descent out of the Saint Helena high into the Roaring Forties five long weeks ago.

    “It’s just bliss. A great moment. I am also happy to no longer have the big seas that have been with us us for several days ” said Dalin who described himself as a ‘perfectionist and an optimalist, someone who will always do the best I can with what I have’ before he started his first ever round the world race back in Les Sables d’Olonne. Dalin has had to deal with a compromised port foil bearing which caused him to cede the lead to Bestaven back on December 16th, though he did have the lead again momentarily on Christmas Day.





    Bestaven, who is pushing for a more easterly route to the east side of a building high pressure, was almost gushing as he relived his relief during the hours since Cape Horn,
    “In my life as a sailor, that was the biggest storm I have ever seen. Mad seas, such as I have never seen so big, and gusts of 60 knots. It’s a huge relief now because it’s been so hard ”.

    Bestaven looked drained said on the French Live today. “When I got into the calm I was totally knocked for six, I was really exhausted.”

    Dalin, also speaking on the Live today smiled broadly, “I celebrated by putting up more sail (laughs). I passed close to the islands, the rocks no doubt, it was the first land I had seen since the islands of Trinidad. I had forgotten that it existed after so many days. The continental shelf was parallel to the swell and the wind, so I didn't notice any difference in the sea state. On the other hand, I had to get offshore a bit so that I did not end up in the windshadow.”

    Talking of the change of regime, Dalin, “ Jean Luc Bernot always tells us that we have to change our mode after Cape Horn, I'm going to do that. It's a good thing to be back in the Atlantic. I'm happy to have finished with the Pacific. It's a new phase of the race. I've been working for a few days now on the strategy for the climb back up, there are quite a few things to going on.”

    A complicated South Atlantic….Again!

    Now the strategy for the climb back to the Equator is all about looking long term. The initial strategies seem to see Bestaven going east to get round the east of the anticyclone and Dalin trying to work west to get through the initial light phase earlier. Dalin – looking like he will pass inside Staten Island through the Le Maire Straits - will gain initially but the real outcome would not be seen for more than ten days when they finally get back to the trade winds of the Saint Helena anticyclone.

    Sébastien Josse, weather consultant to the Vendée Globe explains, “We see this high pressure going east and so for Maître Coq he has to stay to the right, to the east of the high pressure but it is moving quite fast but he can end up parked in this area of light winds. He has to manage the high pressure but to stay to the east and in ten days it is about catching the trade winds of Saint Helena. So it is a hard job to make a strategy for the long term.”

    He adds, “ There is a lot of work right now ahead of them, one high pressure, one low pressure and a high pressure to get to the Trade Winds and beyond that to the Doldrums. So the next 14 days will be hard, intense work for the two leaders.”








    The mountain ranges in southern Chile rise to more than 3,000 meters and the islands of Patagonia have peaks of nearly 1000 metres. In the W’ly wind there can be very many areas of light winds especially closer to the land. And even though weather modelling has improved a lot here, the reality on the water is often different from the models. And as Dalin notes today, they are out of big ocean mode and back into regatta mode, from maintaining high, safe average to fine tuning, sleeping less and trimming more, looking for every marginal gain.

    A high pressure system is developing now from the coast of South America, north of the Falkland Islands. It will then gradually extend to the AEZ forcing the second group to cross it or make a big detour to the east, but with no real certainty of finding any extra wind.

    Christian Dumard, the weather specialist who works in tandem with Josse, confirms, “There are two possible options, to the follow the direct, shortest route north and try to push through the high before it expands too much, or to go east in search of more wind which is the better long term option.”

    Thomas Ruyant (Linked Out) and Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) are neck-and-neck in their race to be third at Cape Horn, Seguin a matter of five or six miles closer to the rock. With 195 nautical miles to go the pair should round in quick succession Monday morning, and might consider a late breakfast back in the Atlantic…..


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    Charlie Dalin, Apivia speaks of his Cape Horn rounding; " The passage of Cape Horn went well at around 4 am and about 6 miles offshore, it was still dark but it was not pitch black so I could see it so the half-light, the shadow of the rock, I could see the lights of the lighthouse, it was a rather cool moment for my first rounding of the Horn, with quite a lot of sea, a clear sky strewn with squalls, a beautiful moon. I called the lighthouse keeper so we could exchange a few words even if I didn't always understand what he was saying, it was nice.

    I celebrated by putting up more sail (laughs). I passed close to the islands, the rocks no doubt, it was the first land I had seen since the islands of Trinidad. I had forgotten that it existed after so many days. The continental shelf was parallel to the swell and the wind, so I didn't notice any difference in the sea state. On the other hand, I had to deviate a little bit from my route to avoid being fooled by the madman. (do sailors go mad or get fooled by a madman at the Horn?)




    Jean Yves Bernot always tells us that we have to change our mode after Cape Horn, I'm going to do that. It's a good thing to be back in the Atlantic. I'm happy to have finished with the Pacific. It's a new phase of the race. I've been working for a few days now on the strategy for the climb back up, there are quite a few things to going on. When you pass Cape Horn, you also take shorter naps. I have had a few less than usual. I have just received the weather files before the call, but I had not planned to go through the passage of the Le Maire straits

    Before gybing, I'll go do a quick check of the boat. It looks good, I was careful with the boat's acceleration in the last lot of big wind. I've been really careful, so I am not too worried about the state of the boat.

    It's gradually slowing down, the sun is coming up, I still have 25-30 knots, the sea has flattened out. The difference is really that we no longer have the big sea that there has been for the past few days, we had 7 metres of waves, it was starting to get big.

    I'm happy to have passed, to have made it. It was the third cape, I passed the first two in the lead, but fate would have it otherwise for the third. There is still a long way to go, still 7000 miles to go, and there are a lot of options at play.

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    Message from Campagne de France.

    Yesterday, I made use of the light airs to go out to the end of the bowsprit (harnessed to the boat, of course) to tighten the leech and foot lines in the gennaker, which can only be done when the sail is unfurled. When I had nearly finished, but not quite, the autopilot decided to go on strike. I found myself with teh sail filling from the wrong side and me on the wrong side of it. Luckily there was hardly any wind. More fright than anything else. There's always a surprise when you least expect it...

    Perfect downwind conditions in 20 knots, proper Pacific swell. But all good things come to an end. There is a nasty low on its way from the north in the next few days, and I have no idea how I'm going to tackle it if it stays on track. Definitely not a good idea to get caught in big wind, and especially in big seas without an escape route, potentially blocked by the forbidden ice zone. If nothing changes, options are to slow down or go on a major detour, or perhaps miraculously it will change its course.


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    Pip Hare this morning, "I am sitting here trying to think calm thoughts but struggling to choke down my huge frustration and disappointment at the moment.

    The light is just fading on another day of trying to get my emergency wind wand to work and despite several moments when I thought I had cracked it I still do not have any wind data on Medallia. As soon as it was light this morning I went out on deck and removed the wand to bring it down below and check all the connections. after some investigation I discovered a plug where corrosion on one of the terminals was growing and it looked like it was reaching across to another terminal and shorting the unit out. I was so happy to find this, did a bit of air punching and then removed the plugs and hard wired the connections together using crimp connectors and then securing the whole thing with a lot of tape.

    I reinstalled the unit and tuned it and it worked all day. I gybed and set it up on the other side still working but in the last hour the data has once again dropped out and I have not been able to find the fault. The wand is back down below with me now and I will have to start the whole fault finding process again.




    Meanwhile the latest weather system is almost upon us. I have been really happy with my course, put in a gybe at just the right moment and managed to stay ahead of Alan in La Fabrique all through the night. But now I have to back off. I have no idea what the wind strength is. From the waves I can see it is building, the barometer has been falling hard all day and is now on the rise again, and the forecast was for the wind to build to 32 knots in the next six hours so I think I is possible we will see 35 knots or even 40- through the night.

    Right now it is Medallia conditions I think about 26-28 knots of wind, and I should be flying, doing 18-20 knots of boat speed but I am not and it is killing me. As it is getting dark and I am tired and I know the wind is going to build quickly I have decided to reduce sail early and to sit this opportunity out, maybe by the morning I can get the wand working again, but even if not I can rest through the dark hours tonight and will be fit and ready to react quickly for sail changes tomorrow. I just can't afford to set the boat up to go fast and then fall asleep and wake up in 35 knots of wind. So we are going slowly but safely. I have never sailed Medallia like this. It feels so wrong, it's not relaxing at all and I am miserable at the thought of all of those miles that I am losing against everyone on the course. I know this is the right decision for this moment but it hurts like hell.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central started by Photoboy View original post