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Thread: 2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

  1. #11
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    Good Luck Or Bad Luck: The Boss Takes Over 2nd Place





    TRACKER

    Sébastien Destremau: "The boat is now like new"

    After the setbacks of yesterday and last night, Sébastien Destremau climbed up the mast to release a rope preventing him from changing sails.

    “It's just a small string that broke on a mistake on my part. Everything got tangled up there and there was only one solution: climb to a height of 18 meters (at the level of the 3rd spreader), turn everything and install a new rope. A very 'bustling' climb with the residual sea from the gale of the day before yesterday. The boat was broken down for several hours under the close supervision of the Race Direction. It's nice these guardian angels on the ground. We feel safe knowing that the race management is always by our side. After several hours of effort and a few bruises, the boat is now "like new" except for the famous cardboard cabin ( editor's note, Sébastien Destremau has fitted his boat with a cardboard cap.) who took a severe blow when the line broke. The boom and the mainsail collapsed on it (200 kilos anyway). I took the road around 12:30 pm, everything is perfect. Until the next shit of course. "

    Sébastien / thank you


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


    The first news of Jérémie Beyou (Charal) - attached in video this morning ...

    "It gets worse when you think about the events around us. Now, when you are a top athlete, you only live through your goal. For 4 years, I have lived with the goal of trying to win the Vendée Globe. I'm 100% in it, I don't see anything that exists around it. When it stops like that, suddenly, it's super violent. That's why I put so much time to turn around, I should probably have turned back right away, because going to cross the front with the boat in this state, inevitably it did other collateral damage but I couldn't do it. Believe. Waking up is a little hard.

    A little earlier in the day, when the wind was not yet too strong, I tore off my headsail clew point return chain, it blew up the helm bulkhead ... tore up the starboard deck and then while I was inside the boat inspecting it all, I hit something with the rudder. It has half risen, I have a hole in the rudder attack and I have the rudder trailing edge which is broken. The strong wind was coming in, so it was either I turned right away, or I continued: we decided with the team that the rudder was going to hold the front and I managed to scramble a sheet. The front has passed, it has passed very quickly. We went from 45 knots on one side to 45 knots on the other. I jibed, I took the runner-up and with all the carbon shards it blew up the runner-up current, I found myself without a runner-up. I had just broken my aerial just a few hours before. The runner-up was the last thing. I had to shoot down and then head back.

    There is still sea there, I'm downwind in about fifteen knots with the sea behind so it's fine. On the other side, on the port tack, the rudder is starting to be badly damaged, I can't go very fast. I expect to arrive on the morning of the 14th. For the rest I don't know… The rudder maybe changed, the listening bar and the partition, I admit that I don't really know. Honestly, I'm waking up from 4 years of preparation to try to win the Vendée and that's it. My dad went to the hospital, he had a stroke a week before leaving, I completely overlooked that. Obviously there, it bursts a bit in my face.

    There, I bring the boat back and I'll see after. I don't know, I don't know to go back. "







    Today, between the fate of Alex Thomson and that of Jérémie Beyou, there is a world. The first sees his dreams of victory slip away. The second is in the lead. Competitors on the water, the solo sailors of the Vendée Globe are also brothers in arms, united in evil. In the northeast of the Azores, as the fleet sped downwind to meet a large tropical depression, the U-turn of one of the race's favorites cast a shadow over the board.

    Jérémie Beyou stunned

    “ I wake up from 4 years of preparation to try to win the Vendée and that's it (…) Obviously there, it breaks me a bit in the face. There, I bring the boat back and I'll see after. I don't know if I could go back. "It is a Jérémie Beyou struck by the disappointment which was expressed this morning in video. Downwind, port side amûre - to preserve the rig without starboard backstay -, the black boat travels in reverse the path taken to the outward journey. A heartbreak for this great favorite and this great competitor driven by the desire to win the race. Charal should arrive in the port of Les Sables d'Olonne on Saturday morning. Damage assessment (see the skipper's explanations more bas) will start from then on. Jeremy does not yet know if he will be able to go to sea again. He has until Wednesday November 18 2:20 pm to cross the starting line again. " None of us wish anyone what happens to Jeremy. Declared the new leader Alex Thomson.






    Thomson in the lead, Le Cam in great shape

    While Jérémie Beyou continues his Stations of the Cross towards the port of departure, the fleet continues to progress under the influence of a weak depression located in the northeast of the Azores. An unprecedented situation on a Vendée Globe, the Portuguese archipelago is on the path of sailors who will certainly see the lights of Sao Miguel or Santa Maria tonight. Will some pass between these two islands? A priori, it will be more a question of jibing in this downwind to ward off the winds, but who knows if LinkedOut and Apivia will not play cat and mouse between the rocky islets of Formigas?

    North of the map, these two have been an inseparable duo since they crossed paths last night, followed at a distance by PRB. About forty miles downwind, the black bow of HUGO BOSS took control of the race this afternoon. “ Busy, crazy night for all of us: a crazy and intense night for all of us. We spent our time jibing and changing sails, ”Alex Thomson told the radio session this Thursday morning. " We're all tired, I have to go to sleep because it's very easy to do something stupid ". The Briton hasn't done much so far. CORUM-L'Epargne, Initiatives-Cœur and ARKEA-Paprec have aligned themselves along its path. But the Dalin and Thomson groups, shifted to the west of the depression, did not benefit from the strongest wind this evening. The situation continues to benefit men from the East, starting with Jean Le Cam a very fit, new boss IMOCA drift and 2 e in the standings 15:00!


    DIY day

    The weather situation and the obligation to approach the depressions from the right side (from the North then the West in order to be able to slide downwind) is forcing the fleet to line up. Deviations in longitude are turning into deviations in latitude and more than 300 miles now separate the former from the latter. At the back of the pack, apart from Fabrice Amedeo who flirts with the coasts of northern Spain, Sébastien Destremau has lived through stormy hours. That night, he fell asleep and spent several hours asleep inside the boat, opposite to the road. He then spent his day tinkering on the deck and climbing the mast to untangle twisted halyards. The list of technical issues grows longer as sailors check the condition of their mounts. Maxime Sorel also climbed the mast to retrieve a halyard. Same penalty for Louis Burton who, in addition to his ascent, had to mop up liters of oil (coming from his keel cylinder) spilled inside his boat before grabbing the grinder to repair a small crack on a partition.

    Ensuring the condition of the equipment is essential. Because tomorrow morning, it will be necessary to tackle the big tropical depression which bars their way.


    Theta 29 th tropical depression of the year

    It is at the center of the concerns of sailors. It's a big red ball placed in the middle of the map. A cannon ball. The solitary ones will have to follow its curvature, from the west, touching from afar its generous forms. Those who rub it too closely could be severely punished. Because this subtropical depression conceals within it winds of 50 to 60 knots and makes rise liquid hills of 6 meters. It's Theta. And this is the 29 thtropical depression of the year, a record since we have never observed so many phenomena of this type in previous years. For the record, tropical and subtropical depressions are named after the letters of the alphabet. First 21 letters from the Latin alphabet, then, when all are exhausted, we move on to the Greek alphabet. Theta is the 8 th .



    The editor of the Vendée Globe / C. El




    On-board message sent by Pip Hare (Medallia) this morning, Thursday 12 November.

    "Everything is going well on Medallia, we currently have 10 knots of wind, flat seas, and spent the whole night fighting La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle , which finally took the upper hand about 30 minutes ago.

    Yesterday was difficult, I didn't stop. I had up to 50 knots around 7 am yesterday morning, the change was brutal. The state of the sea after the front was horrible. It takes about an hour to empty the ballast from the bow of Medallia . The waves were big, they were breaking coming from strange angles, but we got through them all. We didn't have enough canvas and we had too much weight up front - which meant every time I tried to do anything on the deck I was constantly dealing with huge walls of 'water. They also filled the cockpit on several occasions.

    I didn't stop, I went from three reefs to a full mainsail while watching the sail climb slowly up the mast (at the column, I was set in "grandmother" mode) and promising myself tea and a rest when it was all over. But it never seemed finished, moving the piles, emptying the ballast, emptying the bow… Then all the damage checks after 50 knots in the bow…

    We did quite well. I have some damage on the furling pad, which is superficial, the rope of the J3 is damaged, I will have to sew today. There were some weird noises coming from the back of the boat and I discovered that one of the rudder quadrants had loosened, so I had to get on with it. I think it will be a weekly job, we had similar problems in the Transat Jacques Vabre, and Alan told me he had the same.

    The ballast is leaking which is disappointing but ok, it's just more work for me. We really thought we fixed the leaks before the start, but apparently it always leaked, even Bernard Stamn said it was leaking.

    Finally, when everything was checked and changed, and the boat was again in a good configuration for the conditions, I settled down to sleep. I activated my AIS alarm because La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle was behind me and on a collision course. We fought all night and I had the opportunity to take a few naps. In fact, I was pretty happy when Arnaud finally passed me - I mean it's great to fight with a foiler - but I really needed to sleep.

    Today the breeze will pick up and I expect the jib to come off any minute. I have a full list of sewing and splicing jobs to do. I need to sleep and eat more.

    I have taken note of the warnings regarding Tropical Depression Theta. She's right on our way. The trickier thing will be to negotiate what will happen next because it seems to have sucked all the wind from the surrounding areas. "

    Pip / Medallia





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  2. #12
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    Thomson In Unfamiliar Territory


    TRACKER

    It has been a profitable night south of the Azores for Alex Thomson as the British skipper opened miles on the pack which are chasing him as they head south to deal with Theta the tropical storm which is in their path.

    The solo skipper of HUGO BOSS gained 37 miles overnight on Nico Troussel (Corum L’Épargne), the racer closest to his course, and now leads second placed Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) by 31 miles this morning, the veteran French skipper now sailing a route some nine miles east of Thomson’s.

    At the northerly edge of storm Theta this morning, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) gybed west at around 0300hrs this morning, electing to take what would be considered a safer route. His course had him more than 90 miles west of Thomson and Le Cam who are both on their fifth Vendée Globe races.

    The leading boats were accelerating into more wind, "At the moment I have good conditions, 20-25kts and am under one reef and code zero." confided Nicolas Troussel when contacted this morning on the phone. I will not delay in reducing sail ”

    Reducing sail area, going on to a smaller headsail, taking a second reef - is on the agenda for the next few hour as the winds will increase significantly as they head closer to the centre of the storm, but some will probably gybe too, avoiding too strong conditions, while at the same time going early enough to make a safe gybe. Both Troussel and sixth placed Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family both confirmed their plans to gybe. Meanwhile it will be interesting to see the routes of Thomson and Le Cam, the 61 year old French skipper is racing the 2007 boat he sailed to sixth in the last edition. Le Cam was second in 2004, abandoned in 2008 when he memorably capsized off Cape Horn and was fifth in 2012. .




    RANKING






    The gaps will widen
    While the leaders get ready to put on heavy gear, the mood is different in the middle and at the back of the pack. In the northeast and as far as the Azores, part of the fleet crosses an area of ​​lighter wind. The gaps are therefore likely to widen between them and the leaders over the course of this 5th day at sea.

    Fabrice Amédéo, who left Les Sables d'Olonne on the evening of on November 10 after his technical stoppage, is tacking near the cliffs of northern Spain.

    Finally, on the edge of the Bay of Biscay, Jérémie Beyou continues his journey towards the French coasts at moderate speed. He is just under 300 miles from the Vendée.
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  3. #13
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    Post Theta The Trade Winds Beckon



    After tackling Storm Theta, Alex Thomson races south towards the equator.

    After a week of racing in the Vendée Globe, Alex now heads south after passing through Storm Theta yesterday in some challenging conditions. The routing had HUGO BOSS tacking just before the eye of the storm, however 70 miles from the centre with consistent wind of 50 knots and 5 metre waves, the boat violently broached. Whilst the boat was on its side and head to the wind, Alex decided to sail away from the storm's centre in a south westerly direction. Since then, Alex and HUGO BOSS have been making good progress leading the fleet south, and as the storm tracks to the east, conditions on HUGO BOSS became more manageable overnight. HUGO BOSS is now sailing at full speed downwind towards the trade winds



    TRACKER



    The first 7 days of racing in the Vendée Globe has seen difficult weather conditions for the IMOCA fleet. With low pressure systems scattered across the North Atlantic, the skippers have had to cross some aggressive weather fronts, followed by taking on tropical Storm Theta. During this first period of heavy weather, several boats have been unfortunate to suffer damage, including close rival Jérémie Beyou who has had to return to Les Sables d'Olonne to make essential repairs.

    Until now, the fleet has remained close together as the tough conditions have not allowed the foiling boats to show their full potential. With the leaders now passed Storm Theta and approaching the more consistent trade winds, the foiling boats are expected to stretch their wings as they head towards the equator.

    Technical Director Ross Daniel gives an update on how Alex is doing after the first week onboard HUGO BOSS: "Alex has managed to get himself into a great position this early in the race. On Thursday night he took a tactical decision to carry out a series of gybes back towards the low pressure system, which the rest of the leading group chose not to do. Consequently, Alex made some good gains to the south which allowed him to approach Storm Theta at a preferred angle. Over the last week Alex has worked hard to preserve the boat through variable conditions and sail fast when he can.

    "Later this afternoon Alex will gybe and HUGO BOSS will start to slow down as they cross a ridge of high pressure. From tomorrow, Alex will see more consistent trade winds which will start to build and HUGO BOSS will sail on port tack all the way to the doldrums. Both Alex and the boat are in good shape."





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  4. #14
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    Corum Dismasts North of Cape Verde



    CORUM L'Épargne, a major player in savings solutions, announces the dismasting of the CORUM L'Épargne, skippered by Nicolas Troussel and engaged in this 9th Vendée Globe.




    Nicolas Troussel is not injured. He is making the necessary maneuvers to bring the boat to safety. Dawn will allow a better assessment of the situation.

    The dismasting took place while CORUM L'Épargne and Nicolas Troussel were 7th in the standings and were spinning at high speed in an early trade wind.

    More information to come ...



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  5. #15
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    Beyou Is Back In The Game




    This afternoon, at a press conference, Jérémie Beyou, skipper of Charal announced that he will start racing tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon.

    "It's a little weird to answer the shifts off the boat but I will soon be able to take them on board because thanks to the work accomplished over the last few days, we know that the boat will be ready tomorrow morning and will leave around 3 p.m. / 3.30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon . This is great news, I wanted to thank the entire Charal Sailing Team who, as usual, gave their all day and night here in Port Olona. I also wanted to thank all the subcontractors and external service providers who have added their skills so that I can start again. The Vendée Globe is a team race and they have once again demonstrated that with willpower we can work miracles. This is great news, the race will resume , differently certainly but it will resume for me tomorrow!

    The most problematic damage that made me turn around was the rudder problem, but technically the most difficult damage to repair was that of the sheet bar bulkhead, structural part of the boat. , which was completely broken. It was first necessary to have the damage appraised, to see how far the water had infiltrated and therefore to see what had to be repaired, to put forward the hypotheses of repair and reinforcement on both sides. So it took a lot of skills to fix it in record time with bad weather. It was also necessary to deal with problems with the wind vane, the aerials which had been changed, the mainsail which had been damaged in the various consecutive gybes.








    I'm not used to telling stories and not telling the truth, it's not easy: I went through all the states but it's true that I was happy to be outside of it , here in Les Sables d'Olonne, I needed to cut myself off from the boat and from racing. I did not look at the rankings, I "zapped" the social networks and for all that, I wanted to be next to my team who was working so that I could start again. I have great confidence in my team and even if the first night, I received a message telling me that it was going to be difficult to repair on time, deep down I knew they were going to get there.

    It allowed me to recharge my batteries and see the enthusiasm that there was behind the project and all the emotion it created in people, the will of the public, Charal employees, the media, friends. I had to go back!

    I didn't quite cut it either and I learned about Nicolas (Troussel) dismasting this morning: I'm super sad for him and his whole team. I know all the energy it takes to get a project like this going and to have a Vendée Globe. It is terrible. I think of them a lot today.

    Somehow, seeing all these people gives you more choice. You go to try to win a race and all that is behind me, you have to build something different and that, of course, helps. All the words I got are just crazy. Before the start, on November 8, a lot of people asked me if it was going to change something that there was no one in the channel and I found that not bad because it created less emotion. But no, it was missing. And there I had my dose when I came back and it made me happy.

    I tried to plan everything on a day-to-day basis in the preparation, by the hour or even the minute for the days before the race and the first days of the race. When you take everything on your head like this, you tell yourself that you have to work differently. The idea now is to take the events one after the other: go home, repair, now leave and then we'll see what happens, I prefer not to wait for anything, not to set myself goals. We'll see !





    On the weather side, I looked at the files, there is a first front to be passed on Tuesday which seems a little less virulent than the passage we had on November 9 and 10 but it is still a big front of near. Then there is a fairly strong downwind off Cape Finisterre which will set in. Then there is a small low off the coast of Morocco which will perhaps stop the trade winds and perhaps allow the Doldrums to spread out a bit so this is not necessarily good news. But again, I look at the situation from the start and see what happens next. I really want to be in that state of mind and I think that's what will keep me going.

    I had cut the mapping and all of my Instagram subscriptions and, on purpose, left Alex's one, so I saw he was in the lead. I'm happy for him, he has a good boat and he sails well, he has had a really good trip the last few days. The start of the race was not easy and hats off to everyone who is still at sea, with all the minor damage, they are all very deserving. Now I can't wait to get back on the road.

    There were about twenty people mobilized around the repairs, the architects and structurers, all the people who take care of the lamination and the composite and then all the logistical support behind, the people who redone the fittings, the North Sails sailmaker, I don't know how many people got involved in all but it's just crazy! We must respect the work that has been done and start again! A big thank you to everyone, these are the people we work with all year round and there they once again put a crazy energy back into it, it's a crazy team! "

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  6. #16
    Good news/bad news sort of day for different campaigns.

    Bummer for Corum, hooray for Charal!

  7. #17
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    November 16th: The Boss Extends It's Lead



    TRACKER

    The Schuss Downhill To The Doldrums


    Passing 250 miles west of the Cape Verde islands during last night Alex Thomson has the accelerator down on HUGO BOSS on the fast flight south trying to extend on the Vendée Globe rivals who are chasing him. Flying downwind at average speeds of more than 20kts, HUGO BOSS is more than 75 miles ahead of Jean Le Cam and 139 miles up on third placed Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut)




    Overnight the British skipper has largely held his margin on the hard pressing peloton although Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who has miles to catch up after a conservative option at storm Theta– joking yesterday ‘hold on lads I am coming I am putting on more coal – made the greatest overnight miles at 144nms compared to Thomson’s 141nms. True to his word Dalin is up to fifth this morning and is within seven miles of fourth placed Kevin Escoffier.

    The foilers are now on the ascendancy among the top 12. But Jean Le Cam is hanging on impressively in second but the foilers will gain at least 50 miles on him in each 24 hours. With three days to the Doldrums though it is far from over for the 61 year old. But there are now only three daggerboard boats left in the top 12.




    Life is not pleasant at more than 20kts in these trade winds conditions, even though the seas are not big, the boats slam constantly and the din inside the largely hollow carbon hulls can be insufferable.

    From seventh placed CORUM L’Épargne at 0500hrs this morning Nico Troussel reported, “It is a speed course towards the Doldrums with no manoeuvres but it is not very comfortable as it slams but it is OK. There is not really a lot of sea. We are foiling and it is fast and you have to pay attention. It is not easy to do anything really, not easy to sleep to get in the bunk. I have an energy problem I broke a hydrogenator, we don’t have a solution for the moment. I have one reef in the main and my small gennaker up .”





    Yannick Bestaven on Maître CoQ IV is in tenth and pressing hard to stay with the newer, faster boat reported to his team “Can you hear how the boat is whistling? I'm under FRO and full mainsail high! I'm heading straight south at 23 knots, towards the Doldrums. It is the full fast downhill schuss due south with this well established trade winds which will get stronger further. You don’t have any other option than pulling out all the big gear to keep up with the big foilers as much as possible. Yesterday, after my sail changes I made a full inspection of the boat. I went through everything from front to back. Everything is watertight and a watertight boat is good news. Everything is nickel.”

    And the races within the race are evolving, at more than 800 miles behind Thomson, Ari Huusela (STARK) and Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) are racing within four miles of each other on their similar Owen Clarke designs, with Alexia Barrier (TSE 4 My Planet) about 40 miles behind.
    Didac Costa (One Planet -One Ocean) and Pip Hare (Medallia) are separated by 25 miles west east but Pip leads Didac by 11 miles, two of the race’s most historic boats side by side – Bernard Stamm’s former Superbigou leading against Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher.

    Merron said this morning, “I am having a great race with Ari on Stark and we have a few other playmates not far behind, just because we are a little further back does not mean we are not racing hard. I’ve had a pretty good night with up to 20kts of wind but now it is dropping and it looks a little complicated and I can see there are rainclouds on the radar so I do need to concentrate on making the boat go faster. It is transition day today between the two lows. It will be slow and light. Much to my surprise and despite the technical difficulties I have had, I have been in a pretty good mood the whole time and I have never had a sense of humour failure which I can only put down to my advanced age.”




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

    Maxime Sorel V and B Mayenne hits an OFNI but all OK


    “I had a sudden stop. My boat hit something while I was emptying out a ballast tank. Everything jumped. One sail which was stacked on deck jumped 3 meters. I immediately inspected everything, speaking all the time to my shore team. But it seems everything is fine even if my keel is making a little noise. The cap of my diesel tank popped off. I have spent a lot of time cleaning up and now I have a bit of a headache. The smell of diesel has been bad." He has stayed in the game remaining vigilant at 15th overall 423 miles from Alex Thomson, in pole position.



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

    Nicolas Troussel, First to Abandon This Vendée Globe, Light Winds For Backmarkers


    “Before daybreak I was below when I heard a loud noise I rushed out and there was no mast left. And that is the end of the Vendée Globe 2020 adventure. We will have to come back, we will review everything " said the skipper of CORUM L’Epargne in an audio sent from the boat this afternoon.


    It is desperately disappointing for Troussel who had been in the match with his new IMOCA since the start of the race, the most recent of the 33 boat fleet was only launched in May this year. On this morning’s 0500hrs radio call he sounded upbeat, happy that he was going fast in the speed race to get to the Doldrums, making more than 20kts in gusty conditions.

    After having cut the rigging off the boat so as not to damage the hull, the skipper from the bay of Morlaix is now heading under engine towards the port of Mindelo in the Cape Verde islands which he should reach in 4 days.




    Full gas towards the ITCZ
    500 miles in 24 hours is the distance record so far for this race and it has been set by Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut who is charging towards the Doldrums at 117 miles behind Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS). Ruyant has been quickest in the fleet for the last 24 hours and has averaged over 20 knots of speed. IMOCAs with foils are now averaging 3 knots faster than the daggerboard boats. It is certain that Alex Thomson’s 24 hours record of 536.81 nautical miles set on the 2017 race will fall. The question is will it tumble before the Equator?

    Between the Canaries and Madeira, 11 IMOCAs are struggling in a high pressure ridge, an area of ​​light winds. From Arnaud Boissières, 23rd, to Clément Giraud, 31st, it is slow and frustrating “I stopped looking at the rankings four days ago because it was really killing my morale. I don't want to know where I am, I'll check again later ” confided Clément Giraud late this morning.

    870 miles from leader Alex Thomson, who is flying in the trade winds, this small group is trying to find their way onto the southbound highway. Spaniard Didac Costa has only covered 108 miles in the last 24 hours.


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

    Onboard messages : Miranda Merron and Pip Hare


    Feelings, rituals of life on board, postcards from the Atlantic ocean... the Vendée Globe skippers write to us from the sea. Messages received this Monday, November 16th.

    "Faster sailing yesterday and much of last night, and now as expected, the wind is dropping. Ari/ Stark and I have temporatrily parted company - I can no longer see him on the radar or on AIS.

    I'm going to have breakfast (freeze-dried scrambled egg and caramelised onion) on deck as it is warm enough and dry, and watch the sky get light over an ocean of freedom.

    Not a bad start to a Monday."

    Miranda Merron / Campagne de France









    "Tonight I have been battling with my inner voices having sailed into a big hole and spent the second half of the night just flopping around waiting for everyone to catch back up or sail away from me again. It's such a horrible thing to have to deal with and I have never been good at managing my mind when stuck in a wind hole.

    Yesterday was about getting south, trying to reach down to where the trade winds are starting to form south of the Canaries, but with the loom of a light wind hole creeping every closer. It's starting to get warm now and so sailing is in shorts and t shirt which is great, it was a dry day so I used it to do some small jobs around the boat including changing my hydrogen blades so both units are back up and running on each side of the boat. Though I had been more focussed on maintenance yesterday than squeezing every mile out of the boat it felt like I might be winning the battle, we inched across my computer screen towards where the wind arrows actually have barbs, and when night fell I thought I might have got away with it.

    but at midnight the wind shut off and for the last six hours I have been slopping around in hell. There is always a temptation to change sails, change tacks, hand steer, trim this and that,in the desperate attempt to get moving. All this might gain me a couple of miles in the general scheme of things but exhaust me at the same time so I have had to learn to think big picture in these circumstances, what is the best thing for me to do? and quite often it is to chill out, to keep the boat going on pilot in roughly the right direction, yes to move the weight around the boat to maximise any movement we have but after that to rest, wait for change and be ready to act when it happens.




    meanwhile my mind is mercilessly hounding me..... am I the only one to be in a hole, is all that work I did to break away going to down the drain, did I miss something in the navigation that put me here. If I can't sleep I listen to audio books, anything to keep my mind under wraps. This is just one moment in time on a long long race and I need to take it and move on.

    it's also been good to spend time outside, there is no moon at the moment and with the calm seas, the night is an utterly seamless 360 of black silk, punctuated only by the brightest of stars. It's incredible.

    I am suffering a little at the moment with a sore back. I pulled a muscle in it a couple of days ago and am in pain when I wake up and having to be a little bit careful moving things around the boat. Before I left my amazing chiropractors gave me a couple of massage balls to bring with me and taught me some techniques for alleviating things like this. I put the two balls in a sock, place it under my lower back and my buttocks find where it is sore, lean into it and gently roll the ball around. it's a really effective treatment. I now also need to do some conditioning exercises to try and activate the muscle that has been strained, all a lot simpler in the warm weather of the Atlantic.

    Today I am hoping the breeze will fill in properly and I might get the first wiff of the trade winds south. It's only been a week but it does seem like this has been a long journey south."

    Pip Hare / Medallia

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



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  8. #18
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    November 17th: Leaders Blasting Towards ITCZ

    While Nicolas Troussel is motoring slowly into a lumpy sea, his Vendée Globe abandoned after his mast was broken early yesterday morning, this afternoon in bright sunshine and light winds off Les Sables d’Olonne, Jérémie Beyou was resuscitating his own race, restarting some 2,700 nautical miles behind leader Alex Thomson who was negotiating the first hours of his Doldrums passage on HUGO BOSS.




    TRACKER

    With almost no slowing in the doldrums, the leaders have a green flag for records to be set!



    RANKINGS




    Promised a smooth passage through the 300-350 miles wide Inter Tropical Convergence Zone by the weather gurus, Thomson should be first across the Equator in the middle of Wednesday morning. On current routing models he is likely to be around one day slower than the record he set at 9 days 7 hours when he led the 2016-17 race into the Southern Hemisphere.

    There is a certain symmetry compared to the 2016-17 race. Four years ago Thomson led Armel Le Cléac’h by a little more than 50 miles. He is in front again this time but it is the hard driving Thomas Ruyant who has cut the British skipper’s margin by 40 miles to around 88 miles at 5pm UTC on Tuesday 17th. Coincidentally at this same time four years ago it was Tanguy De Lamotte whose hopes for his Vendée Globe were dashed by the race’s first broken mast.






    Beyou was full of hope and positivity when he set off on a balmy, almost Mediterranean afternoon in Les Sables d’Olonne, sent on his way by hundreds of well-wishers. But he admitted that re-calibrating his mindset, which for four years been hard wired towards winning the Vendée Globe, would be in itself the biggest challenge. “ It’s not going to be easy because I’m leaving so much later. But now I just have to go. No more thinking. I just can't wait to get back to sea. Having managed to mobilize myself is in itself a first win. After that I hope there will be more things to keep me going as I progress. But I don't really know what these things will be. I don't know how to put it in words. I'm going to explore myself a bit. I'm completely away from all my reference points here. For four years I have been just in the condition, in the state of mind to give 100% all the time to preparation, to give everything on the race course. Now we are in a different game, the goal posts have moved, I have to forget everything and then find a new way of doing things. I’m definitely no longer in my comfort zone here.”

    He seems assured of a fast passage south on the first days of his pursuit of the 31 boat fleet, his nearest ‘target’ being Fabrice Amedeo at 1000 miles range. At Cape Finisterre he should be able to hook into a low pressure system which will catapult him south to benefit from favourable winds on the east side of the Azores high pressure system.







    Meantime Troussel, who this morning had some 180 miles still to motor to Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands, voiced his misery. On a video call, his eyes hollow and his face drawn, he confirmed that he was below decks asleep when his mast crashed down in the gusty trade winds. ”It was just before sunrise and I was asleep and went up on deck and saw the damage. My priority then was to get the mast off and away the boat because the sea was quite choppy. Then you realise that it is all over.”

    The Doldrums look like they might offer Thomson and the lead group a free pass. The skipper from Gosport and his nearest rival Ruyant have seen their speeds ease to 14-15kts but the zone between the NE’ly and SE’ly trade winds is quite narrow.

    "It's not just a transition between two winds, it's also a transition between two seas," said Sébastien Josse and Christian Dumard, the weather consultants for the Vendée Globe. “The seas will not be as smooth as you maybe think. Speeds will be more erratic and courses more varied. To get out of here you have to cross directly at right angles and... stay calm. Each metre gained south is one meter gained towards the exit of the tunnel,” continues Sébastien Josse.








    From Madeira to the Doldrums, the 2020 Vendée Globe wagon train spans some 1,600 miles (2,900 km) of ocean. Now, finally, almost the entire fleet is in the trade winds and making decent progress. But to the west of the Canaries in a localised ‘doldrums’ of persistently light winds where five competitors are continuing to have their patience tested.

    They said:
    Thomas Ruyant, second, LinkedOut : "I’m starting to get the first hint of the Doldrums as we approach them. We’re almost there and already a few squalls can be seen on the satellite images. I am looking at them regularly to try to find a narrow passage through. They don’t look too active, but you never know what you’re going to get. There is always a surprise each time.

    I’m starting to get really hot. These aren’t the conditions I enjoy most. Inside the boat, it quickly becomes a furnace with the generator charging up. But we have a good angle to sail quickly, so it’s perfect for sailing now. I have 18/20kts and am at 110/120 degrees from the wind. Conditions are pleasant, even if at times it is a bit wild, as we accelerate away quickly. The Doldrums are 300/350 miles wide. So we can hope to get out of there tomorrow evening, if everything falls into place, but it could take much longer. It’s complicated getting accurate forecasts.”





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    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Video's du Jour!


    Alex Thomson Racing

    Destination: The Doldrums! ��



    [Day 9 VG2020]
    Jérémie Beyou (Charal) has finally taken to the sea. He past through the Sables d'Olonne Channel a second time to the cheers of encouragement from the crowd. Meanwhile, the head of the fleet continues its journey towards the equator with the skipper of Yes We Cam proving true to his famous racing slogan.




    Onboard video - Boris HERRMANN | SEAEXPLORER - YACHT CLUB DE MONACO - 17.11




    Onboard video - Sam DAVIES | INITIATIVES-CŒUR - 17.11



    [�� Vendée Flash #09 - English version]
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    The Boss 1st Tor Southern Hemisphere




    Alex Thomson has successfully crossed the equator into the southern hemisphere, as he maintains his lead in the Vendée Globe.

    The HUGO BOSS skipper crossed the equator at 13:19 UTC today (Wednesday 18th November) after 9 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes at sea.

    One of the favourites going into the race, which takes place just every four years, Thomson finds himself ahead of his nearest rival by some 70 miles.


    TRACKER


    Despite a gruelling start to the race – which saw the solo sailors navigate changing weather systems and a tropical storm – the Brit has passed through the Doldrums and has reported no major issues onboard the HUGO BOSS yacht, which was designed and built with the aim of winning the race:

    “I definitely expected the start of the race to be tough but it’s not normal for it to be that intense, that’s for sure” he said today onboard HUGO BOSS. “Normally you wouldn’t have to negotiate all of these changing weather systems and then a tropical storm; that’s never really happened before. So yes, it’s been tough with very little sleep.

    “But I like to start the race hard. For me, the start of the race is to the southern ocean and then, if you can survive the southern ocean and you get round Cape Horn, at that point you can head home on a boat which has already done a lot of miles and which you know is in good shape. So that’s what we’re looking to do”.

    The solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world yacht race has only ever been won by a French skipper since its inception. Thomson, however, finished the last two editions of the race – in 2012 and 2016 – in third and second place respectively, and has spent the past four years preparing to go one better in 2020:

    “I’m always desperately worried to lose out in the Doldrums” he continued. “So I’m very pleased to have made it in and out quickly. Now, I find myself in the lead which is exactly where I like to be. If you’re following, then you can get left behind and before you know it, everything can be over. I go out there to try and win the race. That’s what I’m here to do. And to be in this position at the equator, with the boat in good shape, gives me a lot of confidence in her performance but also in my own capabilities and decision making”.

    33 skippers began the 24,000 nautical mile race on Sunday November 8th from Les Sables d’Olonne in France. Many of the fleet, after just 10 days at sea, have already experienced technical failures or have fallen victim to the perilous conditions of the course, forcing some to turn back to the starting line or to abandon their race altogether.

    Thomson hopes to complete the race in around 70 days, this time at the very front of the pack.
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