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Thread: 2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

  1. #91
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    Nail Biting Finish For Vendee Racers




    Questions At the Azores, when to gybe?.....Burton’s Blip.....Barrier, Huusela at Cape Horn Sunday

    The margin of victory on this Vendée Globe may be down to minutes rather than hours. And while there seems to be a more remote chance that the actual winner will be decided on corrected time – after time compensation for being involved in the rescue of stricken skipper Kevin Escoffier – the projected time margins for the podium places are extremely tight.

    The closest differential in recent editions was when François Gabart won the 2012-13 Vendée Globe by 3hrs and 17 minutes from Armel Le Cléac’h.

    Current projections based on the accurately assumed speed predictions for the leading boats seem to confirm that this race will be decided by less than that.




    That 2012-13 duel was settled at the Azores when Gabart had a lead of 100 miles before a sprint across the Bay of Biscay in 40-45kts of wind. Approaching the Azores tonight the decisive match is three cornered right now with Charlie Dalin (Apivia) holding 34 miles of an advance over Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) while Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) is 62 miles behind and has been catching distance over the course of the day.




    Burton’s track this morning showed notable deviations, perhaps revealing he has had further technical issues with headsails or possibly his pilots which gave him problems in the big south. The race tracker shows Bureau Vallée slowed. Race Director Jacques Caraës offers a suggestion

    “Between5:30 am and 8:30 am, we noticed that Louis Burton's course was not as straight as that of Charlie Dalin. We called to check all was OK and no reply. So it might have been a change of sail, was he operating under spinnaker, is his anemometer still performing as well, it might possibly have been a wrap in the spinnaker which often happens when the pilot is not getting the best wind information.”

    Louis Burton has since picked up speed (over 15 knots) and remains neck and neck with Dalin, while Herrmann remains an ever present threat. The strategic question is when the leaders gybe this evening or tonight at the Azores. Increasingly it looks like all three will pass south and gybe east of the island group.



    TRACKER




    As soon as Dalin gybes he will be on to his favoured side, able to lift off his starboard and finally get his Verdier design back up to maximum potential after more than one week on starboard gybe. He should then be able to extend on Burton.

    “For sure Charlie is in Figaro mode now, making sure he is keeping everything regular and looking to be in the best shape for the final push. You don’t see too much change in his course and his approach, he is super regular and consistent in the way he sails.” Comments Caraës.

    In eighth at 492 miles behind the leader, win, lose or draw, Jean Le Cam is undoubtedly the hero of this Vendée Globe and will be afforded the warmest acclaim on his return to Les Sables d’Olonne. As the older daggerboard boats progressively lost time and distance on the leading group so Le Cam’s chances of finishing on the podium – even with his 16 hours and 15 minutes – are slipping slowly.
    And the 61 year old recognises that fact and but is unlikely to press any harder than he feels necessary.




    “Jean’s strategy is always perfect for his boat and for him that is what it is all about, the way he sails and to remain clean and smart matters to him, making his gybes in the right place and not giving anything away. If he feels he is not having a place on the podium, he likely won’t over press himself or the boat to try and achieve anything. He is already pleased and content with his race.” Remarks Caraës, a past crew-mate and long time friend of Le Cam’s.

    Alexia Barrier (TSE 4 My Planet) was less than 250 miles to Cape Horn this evening and should round Sunday late afternoon perhaps a couple of hours ahead of Ari Huusela (STARK) who will leave the Pacific and complete his first time in the big south.







    Outside of the race Sam Davies passed round Cape Horn at 1617hrs UTC this afternoon

    Preliminary Notes On Following the Finishes

    Due to the health situation in France the finish will be ‘behind closed doors’ there will be no public access to the race village and to the channel.
    Only those involved in the event and the media will have access to it.
    A strict health protocol will be applied to ensure the safety of the skippers and all those present.

    An exceptional coverage of the finishes
    The full scale and intensity of the emotion of the arrivals of the first competitors will be delivered by means of an exceptional broadcast system to cover the finishes on all media channels.

    More than thirty channels are taking direct TV pictures - in France and internationally – channel details to be published soon

    The direct live broadcast of the finishes can be followed on the Vendéeglobe.org website and on all digital platforms and social networks platforms of the race.

    These will also be fed with live text updates, photos and videos.

    At 200 miles from the finish line, the race trackers will be updated every 30 minutes and then every 5 minutes from 60 miles from the crossing.
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    Uncertainty Abounds




    Burton Leads.....Bestaven Opts For Northern Route....Dalin, Ruyant at full potential...Hare Plans For 2024

    Less than 1000 nautical miles to the finish of the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe in Les Sables d’Olonne and it is still too close to call, not least as the Saint Malo maverick Louis Burton seized the race lead from Charlie Dalin in the late morning today.









    Burton, 35, who finished seventh on the last edition of the Vendée Globe was computed to have a lead of just over five nautical miles from the Apvia skipper Dalin. As the leaders split gybes today, Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) in fifth was first to opt for a northerly route, seeking to sail up to hook into the stronger winds of a low pressure system. He will sail more miles but could come in to Les Sables d’Olonne faster from the north.




    Germany’s Boris Herrmann, in third, gybed around 1000hrs UTC this morning and Burton about 90 minutes later leaving Dalin to sail slightly further east before he too turned Apivia north, finally on to his favoured port gybe. For the first time in nine days or more the race’s most consistent leader will be able to lift off his fully functioning starboard foil.

    Keenly focused and barely masking the obvious mounting stress as he seeks to convert the most consistent, blemish free race of the current top five to a huge race victory Dalin said on this morning daily video call,

    “I am looking forwards to getting on to port gybe to use by starboard foil and to make some speeds which reflect the true potential of my boat.”
    Bearing in mind he might take line honours but be usurped by one of the two closest skippers who are in possession of time compensations, when he was asked if his destiny was still in his hands he replied,

    “ It is a bit down to what the others do as well. But all I can is sail as well as I can and we will see how it ends. Boris is very close to me but the route is still long, it is still open, but once I am on port tack I will be able to be fast again.”

    The suspense on shore – which will be heightened even more on the water – is all the more because there are notable differences in timings and evolution of the key weather features predicted by the main models, as expert Christian Dumard observed today,

    “The main weather models used by the skippers in this area (GFS, ECMWF and Arpege) do not all give the same results. There is still significant uncertainty for the outcome of this race.”

    Charlie Dalin and fourth placed Thomas Ruyant both alter their routes to account for their respective damage to their port foils and others select options and angles best suited to missing or damaged sails.

    The lateral separation between Bestaven and Dalin was already over 500 miles this afternoon.
    The skipper from La Rochelle who led the race coming back up the South Atlantic by more than 420 miles will sail more miles but spend more time faster in the strong winds and may yet spring a surprise return to the podium, not least as he carries 10hrs 15 mins of redress time.

    Dumard concludes, “The wind will ease in the morning of the 27th on the Bay of Biscay with the passage of a small ridge and so it is still very difficult to make predictions on a possible winner or even on a precise ETA on the day of the 27th for the first boats.”






    Captain Courage
    Damien Seguin skipper of of Groupe APICIL had elected to communicate less over recent days and focus more on his race. Lying seventh Seguin managed to get around the Azores High with a very clean, smooth route before being one of the first to gybe north. His performance on a relatively unfancied Finot Conq design from 2008, albeit carefully prepped and optimised with advice and help from Jean Le Cam and Yoanne Richomme, has been nothing short of remarkable, a mix of incredible drive and guile.
    The multiple Paralympic champion who was born without a left hand has long since done enough to be proud of his performance, grinned widely this morning, saying on a dodgy video connection,
    "No one imagined a boat with a straight daggerboard could be in this position".

    Seguin then revealed he has not had certain downwind sails since he entered the Pacific!
    "I'm trying to manage as best I can. It's been a month since it’s been like that! “
    In the final sprint his objective is sixth or better, not least trying to get ahead of Itallan Giancarlo Pedote who is racing a foiling VPLP-Verdier design which finished fifth on the last race in the hands of JP Dick.

    Good News For Pip
    Speaking on the English live show today Leslie Stretch the CEO of Pip Hare;s sponsor Medallia revealed his delight with the English skipper’s project and the return to his US headquartered Silicon Valley company.
    Connecting with 18th placed Hare he chuckled,
    “What’s next Pip? Let’s get to the end and go shopping for a new boat shall we? Let’s do that!”
    Wearing her trademark megawatt smile, Hare responded,
    “I have learned so much from this race. This always was me going out and establishing where I was. To take this boat and race in the way that I have in this race has just re-affirmed I definitely want to come back in 2024 with a more modern boat and to be at the front of the fleet. There is so much I have learned, there is so much I could do better. I love the way the opportunities keep coming up and keep coming up. And now I am struggling because it is straight line sailing and my immediate competition are all foilers. But who would have thought that 75 days in I could still be competing with foiling boats. Every single second of this race has been an amazing opportunity and I am so focused on 2024. It is amazing.”

    Alexia Barrier was approaching Cape Horn this afternoon due to round early this evening but despite 40kts gales was becalmed momentarily while Ari Huusela is only 20 miles behind and should round around 90 mins later.
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  3. #93
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    ETS Wednesday For First Finishers

    First three boats in four hours on Wednesday afternoon? North or South, high risk or low risk?





    After 24,300 nautical miles and more than 80 days of racing around the world victory or a place on the podium on this ninth edition of the Vendée Globe might go down to the final layline, picking and sailing the perfect compass course from more than 100 miles out to the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne’s famous Nouche Sud buoy.



    At 48 hours to the first finisher is expected on the line Wednesday afternoon computer modelling from the current weather predictions suggest three solo skippers could finish within four hours of each other.

    And with the wind on the Bay of Biscay due to strengthen for those chasing the leaders in on Wednesday into Thursday morning, it is still possible that fifth placed Yannick Bestaven – 253 miles behind leader Charlie Dalin this afternoon – can arrive and steal a podium position, even victory, because of his 10hrs and 15 minutes of time recompense given for his role in helping search for Kevin Escoffier after the French skipper had to abandon his boat.

    Dalin, 37, can do nothing more than sail his best possible race to the finish line. His IMOCA Apivia is compromised on starboard gybe due to a failed foil bearing but since moving on to port gybe and his favoured starboard file the race’s most consistent leader has been fastest, this afternoon making 22 kts, five knots faster than second placed Louis Burton and one knot faster than third placed Boris Herrmann. The seemingly unflappable German skipper, who looks set to follow his British friend and confidant Alex Thomson on to the Vendée Globe podium, is closing out a beautifully executed first attempt at the Vendée Globe.

    But Herrmann, who today admitted his emotions swing between enjoyment and stress, highlighted from on board Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco just how close this finish can be.

    “ It will be such an amazing finish. I expect it will be down to the last degree of wind angle on Wednesday afternoon and it is so hard to predict, even with the ensemble model (which averages the likelihood of each model). I will play it a bit by ear.”






    TRACKER



    Since Sunday, the leaders have opted for two separate routes. "There are two main options, North or East," sums up Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), who conceded first place to Dalin yesterday.

    Burton, Herrmann and Dalin were on the eastern option at the latitude of Portugal and over 200 miles west of the trio at the northern group Ruyant (LinkedOut, 4th at 3pm), Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV, 5th) and Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL, 6th),

    Between these two options, the choices are almost infinite. More than two hundred routes can still be run.
    “The Dalin-Burton-Herrmann trio from the south east will have to deal with a small area of ​​light wind in the Bay of Biscay. This will allow the group from the north to come back with more sustained wind, " warned meteo ace Yoann Richomme on the Vendée Live.

    Herrmann spoke of his ever increasing boat speed, now very much into the sweet spot perfect conditions for his VPLP Verdier design onto which he added new, bigger foils last spring,

    “We are liking the flatter water for sure. Strategy-wise we are on another page. This race will be to the finish line and maybe a few seconds after that until we make the calculations as to who actually will compose the podium.”
    Asked how he is dealing with the stress of being in the white heat of the closest ever Vendée Globe finish, Herrmann said,

    “ I am in a really black and white scheme, really between stressing myself and just enjoying it. All my friends and my wife are telling me ‘come on don’t let the pressure get to you, this is all good. It has been an incredible race, just do your best and enjoy it. And then we will see. There is not so much more I can do. I could try tactically to shadow one or the other competitors but then if you do the math it does not make sense. On my calculations today I have Yannick Bestaven winning on my routing scheme here. He is way too far north now to cover him. If I cover him he has four hours more than me. I don’t think there is an option for match racing here. As much fun as it would be it is really like now finding your own lane, using the shifts when they come and stuff like that.”

    Of the big picture options he concluded,

    “One route goes past Finisterre and the other goes way north and then east, that I thought yesterday would be the one and only option for me. Since then I am playing a bit more in between, I think the last 18 to 20 hours will be really important in terms of the actual wind direction. If you come from the NE and you end up being too lifted and you cant lay the finish and you end up having to gybe downwind, someone from Cap Finisterre is beating you big time. But then if the person coming from Cape Finisterre has to gybe downwind then the guys from the north west beat you.

    A longer line, just in case……
    To account for the complicated conditions for the close finishes into Les Sables in the days to come, the race director decided to lengthen the finish line, in accordance with article 9.1 of the sailing instructions. The line, which was supposed to be 0.3 miles (500 meters), will now be 1.9 miles (3.1 km) extended south. This will give the fleet enough runway to slow down after this remarkable sprint finish.





    Passing the latitude of Lisbon, Portugal this morning, Charlie Dalin is in control of a very tight three way fight at the moment, converging fast with Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who should be about 30 miles behind when they cross gybes. And Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) is some 37 miles behind Burton in third.

    Clearly in these conditions and in to the finish, weather and sea conditions being close to forecast, Dalin’s latest generation Verdier design with its big foil should be fastest and the 37 year old who grew up in Le Havre, France is the line honours favourite.

    But he needs to be more than 10 hours and 15 minutes ahead of Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) and six hours ahead of Herrmann, so every fraction of a knot that Dalin can find might prove vital, he has absolutely no latitude for small mistakes or failures during the next 48 hours to the finish line. Every mile gained just now at 19-20kts can compensate for a slower miles as the breeze eases closer to the finish line. In contrast Burton has been slower overnight making just 12-13kts while Herrmann has been around 15-17kts.

    Bestaven is 232 miles behind him. Do the math. Right now that is just enough for Dalin whereas he needs time and distance on ‘Der Schakal’ – Herrmann – who right now has his time on the race leader, on Burton and also his time (net 4hrs 15mins or call it 90 miles) differential on Bestaven.

    Right now the two key weather problems are a transition zone off Cape Finisterre and that the last miles into Les Sables d’Olonne will be lighter, maybe just 10-12kts.

    The forecasts do seem to show more breeze coming in in the north and so this finish is very, very finely balanced, Bestaven’s option may give him the extra wind he is seeking and the transition area is smoother offshore.

    Meantime Alexia Barrier on TSE 4 My Planet and Ari Huusela on STARK crossed Cape Horn. Barrier passed at 2155hrs UTC and ‘Super Happy’ Huusela, the first sailor ever from the Nordic nations to race round solo, passed the landmark at 0119hrs. Jérémie Beyou crossed the equator back into the northern hemisphere at 0405hrs UTC and Isabelle Joschke has arrived safely in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
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  4. #94
    Great to see Boris in the mix for a podium spot!

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    A Fabulous Finish For The Famous Five




    Title will be decided between the Famous Five, Dalin ETA Late Afternoon Early Evening Wednesday

    With something less than 24 hours until the first solo sailor finishes the Vendée Globe off Les Sables d’Olonne Wednesday night, even the most advanced modern weather routing programmes operated by some of the finest minds in ocean racing cannot seem to agree who the likely winner of a truly epic ninth edition of the non-stop solo round the world race will be.

    The margin of victory looks set to be down to tiny minutes after 80 days and 24, 350 miles of racing. With five skippers harbouring realistic hopes of winning, the reality is that any one of Charlie Dalin, Boris Herrmann, Louis Burton, Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven have delivered performances equally worthy of overall victory.

    Over 80 days and nights, 24/7, always on, they have engaged millions of spectators like never seen before since this race was founded in 1989.

    Each of these top protagonists – as have all the 20 still racing – have revealed their characters day by day, ocean by ocean. By the hour, their modus operandi, their strengths and their weaknesses, have seeped out these heard earned miles.



    TRACKER





    With less than 400 miles to the finish this evening Charlie Dalin (Apivia), 36, leads by over 85 miles heading into his long, dark final full night at sea from 39 year old Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) who will become the first German to finish the race.

    Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), 35 from Saint Malo is third at 57 miles behind Herrman. Fourth placed Thomas Ruyant, 39 from Dunkirk has with Dalin and Bestaven been one of the occupants of the podium positions all the way round the globe, while Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq) celebrated his 48th birthday leading the race just west of Point Nemo and is fifth at 295 miles behind Dalin.

    Pre race favourite Dalin has raced surgically precise courses with metronomic consistency on the newest and most proven boat. He has led for 36 days and at two of the three great capes.







    Herrmann has paced his attack perfectly, quietly and efficiently preserving himself and his equipment, like a grand tour cyclist, in readiness to ratchet up his attack when the final miles chime perfectly with the sweet spot of his slightly older – but perfectly prepped and optimised boat. He has never led the race but – with a time compensation of 6 hours – may well become the first ever non-French winner.

    Burton the maverick from Saint Malo collected three time penalties over the duration of his course and some would say pressed his boat closest to its limits, suffering numerous pilot and sail problems but prepared to dare harder, faster and deeper in the south. Remarkably he recovered more than 800 miles on the leader and 400 miles on the peloton after he had to repair at remote Macqaurie island.

    Ruyant has been in the top three for 72 per cent of the race despite losing his port foil before the Cape of Good Hope and has the race’s best 24 hours run of 518 nautical miles. And Bestaven has been the revelation, sailing the perfect combination of fast and smart on a well optimised boat, sailing a good boat excellently.











    The outcome seems set to be decided by tiny fractions of the race’s overall duration. Almost certainly time compensations allotted to skippers for their role in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier weill decide one or eve two of the podium positions, Herrmann at six hours has to finish four hours and 15 minutes ahead of Bestaven who has 10 hrs and 15 minutes.

    The Bay of Biscay is the arena for the ultimate showdown. In the south, Charlie Dalin and Boris Herrmann work the shortest most direct close to Cape Finisterre on the shortest route Burton, Ruyant and Bestaven on the longer, faster route from the north. Bestaven had made 100 miles back on Dalin in the 24 hours before 1700hrs UTC this evening but was still 266 miles behind doing 19.6kts compared to Dalin’s 15.1kts.

    The harsh reality is that with the time bonuses Thomas Ruyant might lose out most, left out in the cold in fourth or fifth after an excellent race. On the English Live show today his team manager Marcus Hutchinson looked at the bigger picture,

    “The reality is in this race now that if we had told Thomas before the start that he was going to finish within four or five or six hours of the first boat crossing the finish line he would have taken that. And that is what he will get, but here we have three or maybe four boats in between him and the first to finish and that is secondary. But we have to contextualise these things. All of these guys and girls to get to the start line is an achievement, to get to the finish is even more special. But here we are 24 hours or a bit more from the finish and we just don’t know how this is going to pan out. So thank you to all of these skippers they have made this an incredible sporting spectacle like we have never seen on this race.”

    Rooting for Dalin who he won the Transat Jacques Vabre with in 2019 Yann Eliès concluded sagely,

    “Here we are. We just need to be patient, to wait and see what happens right up until the first crossing of the line.”

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    The Last Dash To Les Sables d’Olonne

    The final sprint to the Vendée Globe finish line will see the frontrunners start to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne early this evening. The outcome will only become clear in the final miles and you won’t want to miss a second! Here is everything you need to know about where to follow the action.

    http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en

    The live video coverage of the finishes can be followed in English on the Vendée Globe website and the race’s official social media channels, Facebook, Dailymotion and YouTube. English commentary will be thanks to Alec Wilkinson, Dee Caffari and Will Harris, covering the top five finishers.



    TrackerTRACKER

    At 200 miles from the finish line, the race trackers will be updated every 30 minutes and then every 5 minutes from 60-miles, so you won’t miss a beat. Check out the tracker here.


    Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is expected at the finish off Les Sables d’Olonne between 18h15 and 1900UTC today January 27.

    Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) between 22h00 and 24h00UTC
    Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco) between 00h00 and 01h00 on January 28
    Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) between 2h00 and 4h00UTC
    Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) between 02h30 and 04h30UTC

    Conditions at the finish will be overcast with showers, wing south-westlerly 16-22 knots and waves of 1.5 to 2 metres, increasing to 2.5 metres overnight.

    Follow all the finishes live on the race we




    Social media channels

    The English twitter channel will bring you blow-by-blow updates as the action unfolds.

    Follow Instagram for the latest stories and best images.

    Facebook is your go-to for live video!



    International TV Channels

    UK – BT Sport - some live coverage but will depend on finish times

    Eurosport Player – full live coverage planned

    Belgium – RTFV – coverage planned

    Croatia – SPTV – coverage planned

    Germany – NDR – full coverage planned

    Germany – SAT1 – full coverage planned

    Germany – RARD – full coverage planned

    Balkans – Sportclub – some coverage planned

    Switzerland – RTS digital channel – coverage planned

    Australia - Channel 7+ - coverage planned

    New Zealand – Skysports – best of package planned

    Global – Olympic channel – full live stream package

    Global – Edge sport (pay channel) – full live stream package
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    Dalin Grabs The Brass Ring!




    This Wednesday January 27 at 8:35 p.m. and 47 seconds (French time), Charlie Dalin crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne after 80 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes and 47 seconds of solo racing around the world nonstop and unassisted.

    At 36 years old and for his very first Vendée Globe, Charlie lived up to his status as a big favorite as he led the race 48% of the time! His talents as a racer, as a technician and his strategic intelligence were sublimated during these 24,365 miles solo around the globe. His combativeness, while he was handicapped by a port foil unusable since mid-December, was also decisive. However, we will have to wait for the arrival of Boris Herrmann (bonus of 6:00 am) and Yannick Bestaven (bonus of 10:15 am) tonight to know if Charlie turns honors on the line into victory in the standings. It will certainly be a matter of minutes…. A completely new scenario in the Vendée Globe.

    In the dark night, a formed swell, pushed by fifteen knots of wind, the bow of the yellow boat cut the line anchored in the South the Nouch South buoy, all sails out. No time to waste for Charlie Dalin: every minute counts for the establishment of the final classification. But whatever his position on the board, the skipper of Apivia be proud: in line with its ambitions, it was on the water the strong man of the 9 th Vendée Globe. More than 37 days at the helm of the fleet, or 48% of the race time. Hat!




    Charlie's race

    On board his latest generation Verdier plan, he took the reins for the first time on November 11 in the North-East of the Azores. Then, its route is marked by a large bypass to the west of the tropical depression Theta… a gap of around one hundred miles that it will take a few days to fill during the descent of the North Atlantic. Passing Ecuador, he is already in the top three, behind HUGO BOSS and LinkedOut. The trade winds of the southern hemisphere allow her foiler to take off: a few days follow one another at high speed. When rounding the Saint Helena high and while Alex Thomson was stationary to repair cracks in the bulkheads of his boat, Le Havrais took control. A scout cavalcade follows in the Great South:




    For his first Vendée Globe, the one who admitted to appreciating solitude before the start, is revealed in his element, perfectly in control of himself and of the situation. This unparalleled competitor - 4 podiums in the Solitaire du Figaro, victory in the last Transat Jacques Vabre aboard his Apivia - used every weapon to defend his position.

    On December 10, at the end of a very strong gale that he was the only one to take full force before passing Cape Leeuwin, his average speed was hit.

    On December 14, Charlie had been the leader for 21 days when the breakage of his port foil low chock occurred and broke his momentum. On the cape, wrapped in a white jumpsuit, mask on his nose, the skipper Apivia spends 18 hours shaping a new low carbon and composite wedge. When he sets off again, nothing remains of his 60 miles lead, and it is even with a deficit of 135.5 miles on LinkedOut and barely less on Master CoQ IV that he leaves, port foil unusable.



    But Dalin cashed in, held on and kept his place in the trio throughout the crossing of the Pacific. He passed Cape Horn in 2 nd position and brilliantly negotiated the meteorological gymkhana which marked the ascent of the South Atlantic. He gained more than 400 miles on Bestaven and regained his position as leader on January 12 off Brazil, while the whole pack of pursuers, served by more favorable weather, came back strongly to contact. The rest is played on a mine of mine with Louis Burton. In the ascent of the North Atlantic, the skipper of Apivia remains inside the turn, shifted to the east of his pursuers, until he passes very close to Cape Finisterre. A winning strategy!

    Lover of the sea and boats since his first edges in an Optimist at 6, became a naval architect by passion, Dalin is a perfectionist who is interested in everything and does not neglect any detail of his preparation, technique, physical and mental. He set out on his first round-the-world trip with a dream of victory and the means to achieve it, including a latest generation boat, perfectly developed by the Mer Concept team. Whatever the outcome of the general classification, one certainty remains: he has the makings of great champions.



    CHARLIE DALIN / APIVIA STATS

    He will have covered the 24,365.74 miles of the theoretical course at an average speed of 12.65 knots.

    Actual distance traveled on water: 28,267.88 miles at actual average speed of 14.67 knots

    The major passages:

    Ecuador (go)
    3 e on 18/11/2020 at 9:03 p.m. UTC after 10d 07h 43min Race

    Cape of Good Hope
    1 st on 30/11/2020 11:11 p.m. UTC after 22j 09h 51min Race

    Cap Leeuwin
    1 st on 12/13/2020 11:25 UTC after 34d 22h 05min

    Cape Horn
    2 nd on 03/01/2021 04:39 UTC after 55d 15h 19min

    Ecuador (return)
    2 E on 16/01/2021 8:11 p.m. after 69J UTC 06h 51min, 59 minutes behind Louis Burton

    Number of top classifications (Vendée Globe score reference): 226

    Best 24-hour distance
    November 20 at 0500 UTC: 506.99 miles at 21.1 knots average

    His boat
    Apivia, Verdier plan (foils), built by CDK Technologies and Mer Concept
    Launch: August 2019

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    Things That Go Bump In The Night




    At 1950hrs UTC this evening while racing in third place, some 90 miles from the Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne German skipper Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) was in collision with a fishing boat. He reports damage to his starboard foil and some other damage but he is unharmed and has secured the boat and is proceeding towards the finish line at reduced speed.



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    That sucks for Boris!

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    The Podium Completed




    Yannick Bestaven, the 48 year old French skipper of Maître Coq IV, is the overall winner of the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe. Although he actually took the gun for third place off Les Sables d’Olonne, France at 03hrs 19mins 46 secs early this Thursday morning, because he carried a time compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes, awarded by an international jury for his role in the search and rescue of fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier, Bestaven takes victory 2hrs 31mins 01secs ahead of Charlie Dalin and 6hrs 40mins 26secs of Louis Burton who both finished ahead of him and take second and third respectively.

    The skipper of Maître CoQ IV was one of the two skippers who led the fleet for the longest time: 26 days, or 32% of the time an excellent result for the skipper who grew up in Arcachon and has Yves Parlier as his mentor.

    Bestaven finished in Biscay drizzle on a two metre swell in 20 knots of westerly wind before being warmly welcomed back to Les Sables d’Olonne’s channel where well wishers lined their balconies and streets to acclaim the new winner of the Vendée Globe.




    ‘My main quality? "Stubbornness". My main flaw “Stubbornness”. "I also am very resilient " admitted Bestaven before the start.

    Although he was not tipped among the fancied, possible winners of the race, Bestaven revealed himself as an outstanding performer on his first time in the southern oceans where he was at his best in the Indian Ocean, passing Australia’s Cape Leeuwin in third place and then in the Pacific, emerging first at Cape Horn with a 15 hour lead.

    After then building the biggest margin of the race, 440 hard earned miles thanks to a smart climb up the South Atlantic, Bestaven must have thought his chances of winning this Vendée Globe were over, when during three frustrating days all but becalmed south of Rio, he saw his margin evaporate like snow in the hot Brazilian sun.

    But the skipper from La Rochelle on the west coast of France, an engineer as well as professional skipper, proved his race winning credentials as he fought back into contention by the Azores. His final, key move proved to be choosing to head north on the Bay of Biscay which allowed him to arrive on the heels of a low pressure system and accelerate faster on a long, direct track into Les Sables d’Olonne over the last 24 hours, chasing Dalin and Burton across the line to hold his time to win outright.

    Over an ocean racing career spanning nearly 20 year Bestaven has tasted success in the Mini class – winning the Mini Transat in 2001 – and then in Class 40 where he twice won the Transat Jacques Vabre. But, after he was one of the first to be forced out of the epic 2008 Vendée Globe when he was dismasted on the Bay of Biscay less than 24 hours into the race, he has taken his time to return to the Vendée Globe with a well appointed programme which saw him put together a small, hand picked team of specialists from all fields including the America’s Cup. He is also a successful entrepreneur who owns and runs Watt & Sea, a company which develops hydrogenerators fitted to most of the competing IMOCAs.

    Although, in the 2015 VPLP-Verdier designed Maitre Coq IV which was built as Safran, his boat is not one of the latest generation foilers, he was able to maintain high average speeds in the south and remained competitive in more moderate conditions.

    The ninth edition of the race saw a record entry of 33 skippers and has been marked by complicated weather patterns for both the descent down and the ascent back up the South Atlantic, including regrouping of the leading pack in persistent period of light winds early in the Pacific, and again off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Difficult, short, crossed sea conditions in the Indian Ocean meant the newest, most powerful latest generation foilers could not sail to their full speed potential. And two of them, Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut and Charlie Dalin’s Apivia both suffered different damage to their foil systems which compromised their speed potential on starboard tack.

    The most dramatic moments of the race came on the 22nd day of racing, November 30th when PRB, the IMOCA of third placed Kevin Escoffier broke up suddenly 640 miles SW of Cape Town.

    Escoffier was forced to abandon into his liferaft in minutes. Four skippers were requested to reroute help locate and rescue Escoffier. Although 61 year old veteran Jean Le Cam was first on the scene and got close to Escoffier it was 11 ½ hours later when Le Cam was finally able to rescue the stricken skipper from his liferaft.

    The international jury announced their time compensations on December 16th at six hours for Germany’s Boris Herrmann, 10hrs and 15 mins for Bestaven and 16hrs and 15 mins for Le Cam. Little then did race watchers realise that this redress would ultimately decide the final winner after the closest, most competitive race finish in history, the first three skippers crossing the line in less than eight hours.

    Germany’s Boris Herrman was in contention for a podium position until he struck a fishing boat at 90 miles from the finish line. He is bringing his Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco to the finish at reduced speed.



    Podium of the ninth Vendée Globe

    1 - Maître CoQ IV (Yannick Bestaven), finished 28/01/2021 03:19:46 UTC, elapsed time 80d 13h 59min 46s. Time compensation : -10h 15min 00s, Offical corrected time : 80dj 03h 44min 46s.
    Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.60 kts.
    Miles sailed: 28 583.80 nm at an average of 14.78 nds

    2 – APIVIA (Charlie Dalin) finished 27/01/2021 19:35:47 UTC. elapsed time 80d 06h 15min 47s
    no time compensation. Time difference to first 02h 31min 01s
    Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.65 nds
    Miles sailed: 29 135.01 nm at an average of 15.13 nds

    3 - Bureau Vallée 2 (Louis Burton) finished 27/01/2021 23:45:12 UTC elapsed time 80d10h 25min 12s, no compensation. Time difference to first 06h 40min 26s, time difference to APIVIA 04h 09min 25s
    Average speed on the theoretical course: 24 365.74 nm / 12.62 nds
    Miles sailed: 28 649.99 nms at an average of 14.84 nds

    ****************************





    Louis Burton, the popular hard driving 35 years old French skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe in second position, emerging from the inky darkness on his yellow hulled IMOCA to break the line at 23.45hrs 12mins on Wednesday 27th January, 04h 09min 25s after Charlie Dalin in what is the proving to be race’s closest and most hotly contested finish ever.

    Burton’s elapsed time for the course is 80d 10h 25min 12s. But, like first placed Dalin the skipper from Saint Malo must wait until rival Yannick Bestaven crosses the finish to discover his final position as the skipper of Maître Coq IV has 10 hours and 15 minutes of time allowance for helping in the search and rescue of Kevin Escoffier.

    Burton’s success is a triumph over adversity and technical issues as well as a reflection of his ability to drive himself and his IMOCA close to the limits.

    Racing the IMOCA 60 which won the last Vendée Globe in a record time of 74 days 3hrs in the hands of Armel Le Cléac’h, Burton has cemented his reputation as a skipper to watch for the future. He pressed hard and fast in South Indian Ocean, often working further south than his rivals for longer and usually reaped a reward.




    But his attack took its toll at times and he was forced to repair on two key occasions, once just before the Kerguelens with autopilot and sail problems in the Indian Ocean, and at the remote Macquarie Island half way between New Zealand and the Antarctic.

    After climbing the mast three times while drifting in the protective lee of the remote island, Burton returned to race mode with his boat at 100% but in 11th with a deficit of 938 miles on the then leader Bestaven and around 500 miles on the main peloton. By Cape Horn he was sixth and had reduced his deficit to 640 miles to Bestaven and by Salvador de Bahia he was second again, 20 miles from the lead.

    Burton improves on his seventh place in the last Vendée Globe with a remarkable performance considering that he runs a lean, efficient operation from his home town of Saint Malo with a small team, eschewing the training ‘poles’ and the circuit races, in favour of training on his own. Like Bestaven, he was not picked by any of the pre-race tipsters as a potential podium finisher.

    He has had the passionate backing of French office suppliers Bureau Vallée for ten years. One of their best decisions was securing the 2016-17 winning boat before it had crossed the finish line, to which they have made few upgrades beyond some new sails and electronics.

    If he has earned a reputation for his ability to push hard and fast for long periods there is a maverick side. He memorably jumped the start gun – for which he took a 5hr sin bin penalty - took an additional 1hr for failing to send a sealing image correctly, and strayed for 20 minutes into the Antarctic Exclusion Zone for which there was no penalty because he returned back to his entry point. But that should not mask the fact that he has sailed a smart strategic race.





    Louis Burton’s Race

    His technical problems started almost straight way, while still in the Bay of Biscay, with a leak at the keel ram and a cracked forward bulkhead. Louis carried out repairs before contending with Storm Theta, when he dived south close to the worst conditions with his foot on the gas.

    In 48 hours, Bureau Vallée 2 went from 14th to sixth place off the coast of Morocco. Despite his problems, Burton highlighted himself as a skipper to follow.

    He maintained sixth place at the equator, before routing well south around the St Helena high-pressure system. After passing the Cape of Good Hope in third place, and following the successive retirements of Kevin Escoffier, Sébastien Simon, Sam Davies and Fabrice Amedeo, Louis Burton moved up to second behind Charlie Dalin on 4th December.

    “I’ll be trying to get the maximum speed, telling myself that the others probably have their own problems. I’m going for it!,” he said on December 6, despite having suffered autopilot problems for two days. This in turn led to mainsail car problems, preventing the sail being hoisted above the second reef position and forcing Burton to hand steer for long hours.

    After his pitstop at Macquarie he subsequently proved unstoppable, gaining five places by Cape Horn, before moving up to third in what became a big restart for the leaders off Brazil. “I have never known this excitement and pleasure racing so close,” he reported. “I count the miles that separate me from Thomas Ruyant and Damien Seguin and examine their courses. It's exceptional.”

    He was then was first across the equator – the final big milestone – on January 16, ahead of Charlie Dalin and Boris Herrmann. A big gamble taking a wider course to get north faster during the climb back up the North Atlantic didn’t pay off in a big way, but Burton remained up with the leading group, pushing hard towards the finish.



    ****************************




    Thomas Ruyant crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne in fourth place at Thursday January 28th at 04 hours 42 minutes and 01seconds UTC, after 80 days, 15 hours, 22 minutes and 01 seconds at sea.

    Ruyant finished his solo race around the world, without stopovers and without assistance, 11hours 37mins 15 seconds after Bestaven’s corrected time.

    The skipper of LinkedOut was widely tipped as a podium favourite – indeed as a possible winner – but after having to cut away his port foil after it was damaged on November 25th, just 17 days into his race when he was lying second, the 39 year old skipper from Dunkirk was never again able to realise the full potential of his smartly optimised, well proven latest generation Verdier design.

    After his damage Ruyant fought bravely and cleverly and was still always among the leading contenders after he learned how to make the best of his compromised performance. Only during the final, unprecedented five-way sprint to the line did he slide off the podium, relegated by Yannick Bestaven who finished behind him but carried 10hrs and 15mins of allocated time because of his role in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier.




    Ruyant proved himself on the 2016-17 race when he was making progress up the fleet before he struck an object in the water and had to nurse his boat 250 miles to New Zealand while it was threatening to break up.

    Backed by a group of businessmen and enterprises from his native Dunkirk and surroundings, Ruyant sailed in the colours of LinkedOut an inclusion initiative supporting getting individuals back into work in his home region in the north of France.

    Ruyant topped the leaderboard on 20 occasions during the race. His is an impressively consistent performance, especially given the loss of his port foil before passing the Cape of Good Hope.

    A late starter to offshore and ocean racing, he quickly created a reputation for himself with victories in the 2009 Mini Transat, before he moved to the Class 40, winning both the Normandy Channel Race and Route du Rhum in 2010.

    Ruyant’s boat was designed by Verdier’s group of collaborators originally for the Volvo Ocean Race but was adopted as a good allround option by Ruyant’s backers for a project managed by Ireland’s Marcus Hutchinson.

    Only a couple of months after it was launched the boat took Ruyant and co-skipper Antoine Koch to fifth place in the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre, which he followed with a podium position in last year’s Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne.



    Ruyant’s Race
    He pushed hard from the start, almost neck and neck with the leaders of the group that headed west to gain maximum advantage from the first weather front. Less than two weeks into the race he set the record daily run for this edition of the Vendée Globe, covering 515.3 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 21.5 knots. At the same time he lost a major adversary when British skipper Alex Thomson slowed down to undertake structural repairs, in advance of his later retirement with rudder damage.


    Imagine Ruyant’s disappointment then, when a few days later while in second place, he heard a loud noise and discovered damage to the structure of his port foil.

    Fortunately this time it did not mark the end of his race, but he was forced to climb out onto the appendage to cut away the most badly damaged section using an electric saw. LinkedOut was therefore compromised on starboard tack for the remaining 19,000 miles of the race.


    However, the loss of this foil didn’t prevent Ruyant’s return to the top of the fleet. After diving south below Australia with the leading pack he took a narrow lead ahead of Charlie Dalin on December 15. Now at 53 degrees south, Ruyant held the lead for a day and a half before Bestaven gained a 10 mile advantage, while Dalin slipped 140 miles back.


    But just as he had fought back into contention, Ruyant’s advance was suddenly halted when his bow compartments filled with water. The only prudent option was to slow right down to take as much pressure as possible off the boat’s structure, while he pumped enough water out to assess the damage.



    This discovery was doubly troubling for Ruyant, given he was almost at the same point where he had struck the object four years earlier. But while the loss of miles to Dalin and Bestaven were to prove crucial, the cause was straightforward, a pair of deck hatches had not been closed properly against the fire-hose effect of the waves. By the time LinkedOut got back up to speed Ruyant had lost more than 100 miles on Bestaven.



    Nevertheless, he held onto third place at Cape Horn. Then, in a move that Vendée Globe veteran Mike Golding described as a potential game changer, Ruyant broke away from the other three leading boats, continuing west of the Falklands after passing between mainland Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island.



    However, it didn’t have a dramatic affect. LinkedOut gained useful distance on Charlie Dalin, but Bestaven continued to extend his lead and Damien Seguin moved up from fourth place to second.



    After the big restart in the semi-permanent cold front off Brazil’s Cabo Frio, Ruyant sailed a relatively conservative course, never far behind the leaders, waiting for another opportunity to break away from the peloton and regain the lead for the critical final approach to the finish. He was unable to impose himself and finished fourth across the line.





    **********************************




    On a wet, windy, unpleasant Thursday night it was at 19:19:55hrs UTC that Jean Le Cam crossed the finish line of the ninth Vendée Globe to take fourth place overall. Although he actually passed the line eighth, with his time compensation of 16hrs and 15minutes he moves up to fourth, in fact missing the podium by just 3hrs 19 mins 43 seconds.

    Racing on his fifth Vendée Globe, 61 year old Le Cam is actually only 10hrs and 09s behind the winning time of Yannick Bestaven. He now displaces Boris Herrmann to fifth.

    Without doubt Le Cam is the popular hero of this Vendee Globe after rescuing Kevin Escoffier on 1st December when the PRB skipper was forced to take to his liferaft.




    After the line he said

    "This is a finish line like I've never passed in my life. You will see tomorrow why. I don't know how I got here, honestly I don't know. But it's done! This is a deliverance certainly. This Vendée Globe has been a sick thing. I did it but with everything that happened. Besides, apparently I'm 4th! It's been two days that I have been pushing just to not to miss the tide. This morning Anne (editor's note Anne Combier, team manager) told me that I could get still ahead of Boris Herrmann. I had never imagined that! I was happy to be have been ahead of Groupe APICIL, that was the challenge between boats with straight daggerboards. This challenge was very much the race. These foiling boats are a lot of puzzles for not much! Like computing software. But sailing is not an exact science! For me the single most important thing is that I gave the younger generations the idea that they could do the Vendée Globe with limited means. I have had testimonials from young people in this regard. I am happy because we have seen budgets going up and up and so this is a real victory. I went from here to here. But as I say if I say too much about it only makes me chuckle."

    After his second place behind Vincent Riou in 2004-5 this is Le Cam’s second best result on the Vendée Globe and – ironically – improves on his sixth in the last edition on the same boat.

    It is a remarkable achievement, reflecting a very smooth and accomplished route all the way around the world on his 2007 Farr design which originally won the 2008 race in the hands of Michel Desjoyeaux.



    Le Cam’s race

    The skipper had already said his goodbyes to his family when he went down alone to the pontoon on the day of the start, as if he was in a hurry to set sail, after spending so many months preparing the boat in a shed in Port-la-Forêt. He believed in his boat in spite of the fact that she was built in 2007 and very few people chose her as one of their favourites for the race.

    And yet, on the day after the start, Yes We Cam! led the fleet. Jean would lead the race on nine occasions early in the race. Two competitors took therisk of entering the eye of the first big storm: Alex Thomson and Jean Le Cam. “Jean is getting close to me. He is incredible,” said the British sailor. The Breton found it all rather amusing. “There are people who think they can plan everything, come out with all sorts of ideas and talk rubbish... Saying things may make people laugh, but everyone falls silent, when you do things. The old man is ready to put up a fight.”

    Jean Le Cam’s voyage down the Atlantic was impressive, with the foilers apparently afraid of burning their wings if they got too close to danger. Ashore, he has always been popular in France, never one to pay attention to what is expected of him and ready to joke about what you are supposed to do to fit in with society. The French adore his spontaneity, while the ocean racing fraternity loves his trajectories. He has the image of a bragger or a wit, but those who follow such races closely know that he is always consistent in his sailing.

    His progress would however be halted on a night in November off the coast of South Africa. Kevin Escoffier abandoned his boat and jumped into his life-raft, with Jean twenty miles away. He changed course, spotted the skipper of PRB, before once again losing sight of him. When he found him again, he managed to bring him aboard his boat. “God, you’re aboard. That was close,” said Jean, who must have thought about his own rescue in 2009 when he was helped by Vincent Riou. After a scary night, everyone wanted to pay homage to Jean, including the French president.

    With Kevin at his side, they formed a comic duo, and appeared to be enjoying themselves during their week together. When it was time for Kevin to go aboard the Nivôse on a sunny Sunday morning, Jean was clearly moved. “Searching for someone, spending a week together and then finding myself alone again, is not that easy,” he admitted.

    He got back into the race and had to deal with warm fronts in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, “where long surfing waves are just something you find in books.” He rounded Cape Horn (“it was not something to take for granted”) in 6m high waves and in 45-knots of wind. He would often find himself in a contest with other competitors, such as Damien Seguin, with whom he chatted, and Benjamin Dutreux, who “never eased off.” In early January, he said that it seemed that “there is no getting away from each other. Benjamin gets excited at times and gets ahead. Sometimes I call him up and tell him, what is this pact we have? It’s not working out. You are just doing what you want!” This was not Jean’s way of mocking, but rather his way of showing respect. He appreciated Benjamin’s achievement aboard a boat like his without foils.

    His climb back up the Atlantic may well serve as an example to sailors learning their skills. Jean clearly enjoyed himself aboard his ‘Hubert’, the nickname given to the boat in memory of his friend, Hubert Desjoyeaux who founded the CDK yard. On the way back home, Jean explained he was in a good position, as he was “one of the chasers behind the pathfinders out in front.” The skipper kept pushing relentlessly and would remain close to the frontrunners, thanks to his expert knowledge of his boat. Reliability appeared to be worth more than flying at any cost.
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