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Thread: 2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

  1. #61
    Had a feeling that the true test of this cycle was to keep the foil-centric boats unbroken.

  2. #62
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Convergence In The Pacific

    Last days in the Indian Ocean, Five boats race in sight on each other in regatta mode
    Dalin back in race mode, J2 repairs are top of the Job List





    Having been slowed since around 1800hrs UTC yesterday evening to evaluate and then today to make some kind of repair to his port side foil system of APIVIA, Charlie Dalin has dropped to third and lost over 120 miles to his two nearest rivals Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven.
    But Dalin, Vendée Globe leader for 23 days up until last night, appears to be back in race mode this afternoon, making over 14kts south eastwards towards the south Pacific Ocean.





    His team have so far only shared scant details about the problem, saying only that the damage is not thought to have been caused by a collision with an object.

    Dalin’s communication said “The port foil remains whole. The damage is to the lower support, where the foil rests as it leaves the boat. Charlie has therefore been focusing on strengthening the foil attachment to make sure the casing remains secure.”




    Meanwhile Ruyant, who himself has no working port foil on LinkedOUT, has taken over the race lead again with a small margin of around 10 miles over Bestaven’s Maître CoQ as the leading group broad reach south eastwards towards the Antarctic Exclusion Zone before gybing to parallel the ice boundary and accelerate into the Pacific Ocean later tomorrow or Thursday.

    Over three hundred miles behind the leading trio, after 36 days and very nearly half of the 24,410 nautical miles course, five IMOCAs are racing within sight of each other in high pressure conditions more akin to the Mediterranean than 47 degrees south, some 1000 miles south of Adelaide, Australia.

    https://youtu.be/XWwJiFF5aiM


    Boris Herrmann, the German skipper of SeaExplorer Yacht Club de Monaco was visited by Louis Burton’s drone, then – predictably – they all started filming each other! There is less than four miles between Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) in fourth Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) in fifth, sixth placed Herrmann, seventh placed Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) and eighth positioned Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL).

    Herrmann enthused, “It has been such an amazing day, I really had to jump on my pilot to not crash into Damien, we were kind of converging like magnets pulling the boats one to each other. Of course we were observing for a long time but I really didn’t want to touch my pilot because my boat was on the perfect set up for going fast.Now I can see 4 lights around in the total darkness, and this is pretty amazing, 5 boats inside half way around - this has never happened before! I was so close to Damian that I could talk to him boat to boat and look closely inside his cockpit and so on…And then we also chatted on WhatsApp.. it’s really nice - no more loneliness. My dream day! It was warm… part of the day I was working outside without a jacket: I made the stern of the boat my workbench and I was playing with the grinder and the drill and this and that… and gluing the sail back together. A really fun day for a change! With distractions and nice things to do. The boat was going nicely by itself while I was working! Still a bit to overtake them but let’s see how tonight goes. Not sure what happens with Apivia, seems like he has a problem with the foil case… but yeah, the Vendée Globe is always good for surprises! Like Francis Joyon says"Tu est jamais à l abris d une bonne surprise” = " today was really a nice surprise day": warm and quiet. Gentle in any sense.”




    Herrmann’s objective for the day, to work through his job list while the benevolent conditions prevailed, was mirrored elsewhere in the fleet, although some jobs were achieved through sheer necessity rather than because of the conditions. Yannick Bestaven was ecstatic to have climbed his mast and patched his J2 headsail leech to make his workhorse sail serviceable again before the Pacific and therefore render his Maître CoQ back to 100% efficiency again.

    Bestaven said this morning“ It is good for our little group as we never stopped. We're going to get wind as we advance and we we'll get more wind along the ice exclusion zone limit. We're going to continue to build the gap on the group behind; that's the aim. I had seen that the area of light pressure was catching up with us, that's why I used the little gennaker, a bit on the limit, it wasn't comfortable, and I had to be careful. I had to follow so as not to be caught up in the light patch with no wind behind. I did not know about Charlie (Dalin) but I could see he was slowing down. I'm not surprised! They are faster boats; they should have better averages than me. I suspected he had a problem, but I think Thomas (Ruyant) is doing well anyway. My foils aren't very big, but they are strong!”



    Further back in 11th place Maxime Sorel’s J2 repair was less than easy on board V and B Mayenne. He had been working round the clock since yesterday

    "I'm burnt out, I've just spent nine hours non-stop repairing my J2 (one of his headsails). I don't have any hands left! I've repaired four metres of it. I started at 10pm GMT and finished at 7.30am. My only breaks were for gybes along the Ice Exclusion Zone. I did this listening to music and with lots of elbow grease! I slept for an hour and will sleep another hour before I take the sail out. It's very stiff, all 100m2 of it. It takes up the whole boat! Once the sail is out, I’ll have to rig it on the cable. Then I'll have to go back up to the mast to attach it. Given the state of the sea, I'll have to do it now because the conditions won't be so good afterwards.



    Right now it looks like the South Atlantic, it's pretty cool. When I climbed the mast, I couldn't understand the state of the sea: we've been sailing on rough seas for ten days now. As the sea conditions had improved, I had the impression that it was OK. But once I got to the top, it wasn't so good! Now though it's going a lot better, I'm going to take advantage of it. I listened to an evening playlist while tinkering about, I had the Fugees playing, a bit of everything really. I had enough hours to play the playlist several times! I




    TRACKER





    They said: “

    Isabelle Joschke (MACSF): "Mentally, it's going pretty well. I'm settling more and more into my race, I'm feeling better and better. Technically, the last three days have been complicated: I had some problems with my gennaker furling system. I had to do some real acrobatics at the front to hoist and lower the sails. Physically, I get tired quickly when there is a difficult manoeuvre. And I get cold quickly... I need to sleep. I am making the most of the calmer weather to take a long trip around the boat, to check, repair... I'm not bored.

    One important point to note is that I need to allow more time for myself. Really, from the very beginning of the race I have needed this, but it's impossible. Either I have a cascade of problems or the wind calms down and I throw myself on my ‘To Do’ list of repairs. Or there is a lot of wind, so you have to be on it. I have to find a way to give myself some time. I can't find my Kindle, but anyway, I don't know how I could have found the time to read!

    I need to get away from it all and the irony is that I have reduced energy because I have a broken hydro. Which means it’s not possible to distract myself with listening to music or watching videos. And my Kindle, which I normally always have with me, I can’t find anywhere. The other day I did some meditation, which works well for me. It's probably what I should do a little more.

    In this race, there are moments when things are on the up, on the competition side of things it’s going well, and then " badaboum ", there's something wrong and you have to fix it. It's hard to gauge. I have been very lucky to be able to get back into the fleet, that’s what really motivates me and that’s why I am in attacking mode. In the race, it speeds up, it stops, it starts again, it stops again! I have to adapt. It's better compared to the beginning of the race. If something breaks on board, I know that in the rankings I will lose some ground, but I also know that I can come back up again, so it affects me a little less.

    Earlier, I aired the boat's forward sail locker, the fresh sea air did a lot of good to the enclosed and wet air inside. The boat is totally enclosed. Since Kevin (Escoffier) sank, I have closed all the hatches. I felt that my boat needed to breathe, a bit like me! You have to keep the heat inside, so it's very confined. So when I come out, I breathe!”
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    Leaders Pass The 1/2 Way Point

    Leaders into Pacific shortly and passing race midpoint tonight, Bestaven v Ruyant Drag Race in the 50s, Dalin Repairs and Says ‘I am here and I am back and I have them in my sights.




    Yannick Bestaven, skipper of Maître Coq IV took the lead of the Vendée Globe early this morning. And though the 47 year old from La Rochelle who is sailing a 2015 launched boat has threatened the lead before sailing an accomplished, express passage on his first time across the Indian Ocean, ‘Besta’ today becomes the 10th different leader on the 20th lead change on this remarkable Vendée Globe since the start in Les Sables d’Olonne back on Sunday 8th November.




    Bestaven is now jousting with Thomas Ruyant as the pair scythe eastwards leaving the Indian Ocean behind and passing into the Pacific tonight, on a fast port gybe running as close to the Ice Exclusion Zone as they dare in the decidedly chilly ‘Fifties. The leaders will also pass the midpoint of the 24410 nautical miles course this evening.

    Bestaven and Ruyant are 15 nautical miles apart this evening. Earlier in the day they spoke on VHF radio. The LinkedOut skipper noted on the morning call that maybe Bestaven’s older generation VPLP-Verdier design might prove quicker as the 25 kts breeze moves aft to give more VMG downwind conditions. Meantime the Maître Coq skipper has continued to show high average speeds on what will be a long port gybe drag race for the next three days at least.

    One hundred and fifty miles behind them previous leader Charlie Dalin is back in the game after an exceptionally tough and exacting repair made to the foil bearing and housing on the port side of his APIVIA. Dalin told today how he worked steadily through a detailed plan including accurate drawings of the replacement carbon composite part he had to cut and replace into the foil housing, while suspending himself from a halyard.




    Dalin explained, “The hardest part was fitting it. I was going back and forwards between the cockpit and the foil exit location on the hull I was suspended by a halyard to reach the point where I could fit the chock and I don’t know how many times I went back and forth, I don’t know 30 or 40 times to adjust the carbon piece to fit in the foil case. And in the end just before nightfall I managed to fit the piece in and tinker it. It was a big relief as I could see the sun going down. I was saying to myself ‘Charlie you really have to do this, you have to do this before it is dark because after that it is going to be too late. I worked really hard and managed to do it.”

    Wearing a smile of relief he had admitted, “ I have had a few problems. But this one puts the rest in perspective. Before a small problem felt big for me, a big concern, and after this one all my problems before they feel small. I am glad this one is over and I feel I have gained confidence in my ability in fixing the boat and I really hope the repair will hold. I now know what the Vendée Globe is about it is about surviving, managing to carry on with the boat. Boats tend to lose percentages of performance as you go on and the game is to lose fewer percentages than the opposition. So I hope I wont lose any more percent from now.
    Now I have to cross the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific and in my line of sight is Cape Horn, it seems so far, far away, so many thousands of miles, but believe me I am glad the Indian Ocean is over soon.”




    He concluded “I happy to do this and to still be in the race. I am only 150 nautical miles behind the leaders. It is not unachievable to come back, so I am here and I am back and I have them in my sights.”

    Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) It has been hectic ever since I realised one foil bearing was gone so the foil was not maintained any more at the exit of the hull, the foil cage was full of water and under pressure and a bit a of a leak inside the boat. More importantly the foil was moving a lot and constraining the whole thing against the foil case so I could not go on any longer like this. It was a really difficult moment for me I immediately thought that the race was over for me and that I could do nothing about it and I would end up somewhere in Australia . But I have a wonderful team and they worked really hard, Apollo 13 style, listing everything I had on board, trying to find a solution. They sent me drawings of a new bearing to make. The first thing I thought when I received the list of all that I had to do I felt it was unachievable. There was a mountain of work ahead of me. But I took it step by step and started by withdrawing the bearing and cutting with the jigsaw and doing it. T

    This morning I went and did an inspection of the new bearing, everything is fine the foil is not moving much at all any more. I am confident in my repairs so far. I hope it will hold like this until Les Sables d’Olonne. This morning I really felt confident in my repair. I hope it will work. I happy to do this and to still be in the race. I am only 150 nautical miles behind the leaders. It is not unachievable to come back, so I am there and I am back and I have them in my sights.

    I have had a few problems. But this one puts the rest in perspective. Before a small problem felt big for me, a big concern, and after this one all my problems before they feel small. I am glad this one is over and I feel I have gained confidence in my ability in fixing the boat and I really hope the repair will hold. I now know what the Vendée Globe is about it is about surviving, managing to carry on with the boat. Boats tend to lose percentages of performance as you go on and the game is to lose fewer percentages than the opposition. So I hope I wont lose any more percent from now.
    Now I have to cross the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific and in my line of sight is Cape Horn, it seems so far, far away, so many thousands of miles, but believe me I am glad the Indian Ocean is over soon.



    Ari Huusela (FIN) STARK: I am so happy. I just woke up from my sleep. The boat is dong fine. It is so great. It could not be better. Yesterday when it was light winds I was able to do some maintenance jobs and I am very happy with that. There were small issues, no big ones, so we have clear skies and no clouds. Nice conditions. We will get some more wind later. I love this. I have seen albatross since the Indian Ocean and right now they are flying behind me. It is such a wonderful sight. Its capability of flying is so beautiful. Yesterday I had two media phone calls from Finland and because of the situation where other sports are not happening there are huge amounts of followers in Finland, lots of publicity.

    It is going well. Almost everybody in Finland knows the Vendée Globe now. Everybody is following it. Everybody is asking about sleeping and eating. Some people ask funny questions like did I see land when I passed the Cape of Good Hope. I have been so lucky with the weather, a few chilly mornings and evenings. I have used my heater three times in the whole race. After the morning when the sun has warmed things up I am in my greenhouse in the sun and I will enjoy my morning coffee outside, watching the Albatross flying. It will be really nice. The only thing is I am running out of cookies. So I will soon have no biscuits. 70 days to go. I feel confident with the boat now. I feel very confident in the manoeuvres, for example when I packed the gennaker on the foredeck today it went so easy, so nicely I wondered how it was so difficult before. Day by day by day it gets better.





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


    Racing in 25 knots of wind at 53 degrees south, life is distinctly chilly for Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven, the top two Vendée Globe skippers who are less than ten miles apart. They both gybed early this morning and are heading fully east running parallel to the exclusion barrier, for the Pacific where they are hoping the sea state will be easier and more conducive to higher average speeds than the Indian Ocean has been.


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


    Ruyant and Bestaven now have a gap of over 140 miles over longtime leader Charlie Dalin The skipper of APIVIA was slowed during the early hours of the morning.
    And while the two leaders have made their final gybe east for a few days at least, some 350 miles behind the main peloton have had to make multiple gybes, each one requiring 30-40 minutes of intense physical effort, as the race leader explains,

    “It's quite a manoeuvre. First, you deal with the stacking inside. We've been racing for more than a month so we have less bags, but it already takes a good 15 minutes to move the sails, the safety bags and food and stuff to the other side of the boat . Then I go back to my cockpit and prepare the various sheets and lines and so on to swap the headsail to the other side. I swap the ballast and slowly. In the process, I cleat the runner and lower the keel then I ease the headsail . I try to accelerate on a wave to get the mainsail over and then I get back on the run and off we go!"
    And near the Antarctic Exclusion Zone you need to be accurate and not make mistakes.

    Ruyant continues, “I have just gybed. At last. I have one reef as there is 25kts. It is not easy this Indian Ocean with the crossed, short seas, it is hard to find the right speed but on port gybe it is a bit easier, VMG downwind is not the conditions for the foilers, but it is certainly better than starboard.
    There is nothing too much on the weather right now it is sailing a course east with the majority on port gybe, just a little gybe or two to stay to the south, but that’s it. It is a route fully east at the moment. There are little things to do, little transitions but it is all about going full speed east.

    I have not had much info about Charlie but it is not good for him, but we were a god trio and he is not far behind, he can come back the differences are not so big, I am in front now but the course is very long and I am happy right now to be in the lead on my round the world race but Yannick goes very fast too, especially downwind VMG, he is a good race partner. I spoke on the VHF with him and it was cool to have him on the VHF in the 50s. This is the first time I have been down in the 50s in 2016 I was in the 40s on a more northerly route and had to stop into New Zealand, but it is cold. I I close the door when I am charging the motor and so that helps warm up my feet a bit. Last night I was cold when I was sleeping, and so when I am charging with the engine then I stay in the boat. But this is it in the Southern Ocean.
    I miss a good salad, fresh fruit, vegetables, things like that. But I get my vitamins I eat well and lots. I’d like something fresh, but it is all good. I have food for 80 days so I am not rationing yet!”





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

    Here are the times at Cape Leeuwin.

    Sunday 13 December 2020

    1 - Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 11:25 am UTC 34d 22h 05min from Les Sables-d'Olonne, 12d 07h 10min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    2 - Thomas Rettant, LinkedOut, at 2:37 p.m UTC 3 h 11 min after the leader, 11 d 20 h 56min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    3 - Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ, at 2:46 p.m. UTC 3h 20min after the leader, 11d 01h 58min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    Monday 14 December 2020

    4 - Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA - Water Family, at 00:51 UTC 13h 25min after the leader, 11d 10h 13min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    5 - Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, at 01:50 UTC 14h 24min after the leader, 11d 14h 18min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    6 - Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam !, at 02:13 UTC 14h 47min after the leader, 11d 16h 17min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    7- Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, at 4:25 am UTC 16h 59m after the leader, 12d 06h 38min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    8 - Boris Hermann, SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco, at 08h09 TU : 20h 43min after the leader, 11d 22h 27min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    9 - Isabelle Joschke, MACSF, at 11h09 TU : 23h43 after the leader, 11d 14h 29min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    10 - Giancarlo Pedote, Prsymian Group at 14h37 TU : 1d 03h 11 min after the leader, 11d 21h 03min from the Cape of Good Hope.

    Tuesday 15 December 2020

    11 - Maxime Sorel, V&B - Mayenne at 12h06 TU : 2d 00h 40min après le leader, 12d 04h 43min from the Cape of Good Hope.
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  4. #64
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Linked Out Leaking In The Pointy End



    This evening (French time) Thomas Ruyant, who is lying in second place in the Vendée Globe, has slowed his boat to a near halt after discovering that the front bow compartment of his IMOCA LinkedOut was filling with water.

    Shortly before 2100hrs TU he has engaged both his main pumps to drain this usually watertight compartment. The bulkhead doors are closed and so the main living space on the boat is not affected.
    As soon as the water is fully evacuated Ruyant will make a complete examination of the boat to make a definitive diagnosis of the problem.

    Source: LinkedOut
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    Champagne Sailing In South Pacific




    Consistent Dalin Closes Fast..... A Different Race to 2012..... 2016 Editions, Herrmann Ready to Challenge Le Cam for Fourth.

    The southern Pacific Ocean between the longitude of Tasmania and New Zealand has proven to be just a little bit too peaceful for the liking of leaders Yannick Bestaven, Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant today as the pacemaking trio have been slowed and so conceded nearly 100 miles to the chasing group of boats which has enjoyed perfect conditions.



    Perhaps the most nervous of all has been Yannick Bestaven who has been leading Dalin and Ruyant for more than two days.

    Stuck for most of today in a zone of calms the skipper of Maître CoQ IV has seen his margin shredded to less than 50 nautical miles by Dalin who has been pushing hard to regain the lead he lost to a technical failure which required him to slow to a crawl and repair for nearly 24 hours. But by late afternoon the wind had filled again for Bestaven who is back to nearly 17kts boatspeed.

    And in third place, Thomas Ruyant appears to have made a risky attempt to get back on terms with the leaders by trying to go north and cross the high pressure ridge’s light winds to hitch himself first to the next low pressure system, a strategy which rival Dalin believes might have offered him rich pickings had his timing been just a little earlier and his speeds faster.

    “It was an option that required a big investment at the outset but which meant losing ground sailing in light winds, to gain big afterwards.” Said Dalin early this morning, “It's not totally dead for him. But you had to sail in light wind to make some gains afterwards. We can’t say yet that it won’t work but think there is a chance now that his timing is screwed up because of his little problem. For me it was do-able, but the percentages of the polars that I had to sail to make it was very high and I had told myself this was not my option. It is a huge gain if it works and big loss if it doesn’t. It's a daring option, if I had been in his place I think I would have done the same.”









    In second, Dalin is nearly 100 miles ahead of Ruyant again.

    The expansion and compression, gains and losses between the leading groups, are very typical of racing in the southern oceans where so much is pre-determined by the timing of the low-pressure systems tracking east and the high pressure zones in between them.

    And this edition of the race is significantly slower than the 2016-17 edition. Four years ago, at this stage eventual leader Armel Le Cléac’h was nearly halfway closer to Cape Horn which he rounded on 23rd December after just 47 days of racing. Vendée Globe meteo supplier Christian Dumard is predicting the leader will pass the famous Cape on the last day of 2020.

    “This is a very different race.” Suggested his associate Sébastien Josse this morning, three times Vendée Globe racer, “Not only have the meteo conditions been very different, slowed in the South Atlantic, a difficult, disorderly Indian Ocean and now light winds for the leaders, but the last two editions have featured pairs of skippers who knew their boats perfectly, who were prepared to push them hard and had the confidence of having a few Vendée Globe under their belts and having confidence in their boats. Right now there has been some damages, because of COVID we lost two Transatlantic Races and so perhaps there is a bit more caution.”

    Prudency, the desire to keep his boat at 100% has been very much part of the patient, long term strategy of Germany’s Boris Herrmann who is on his third racing circumnavigation and his fourth round the world challenge. He is steadily making inroads into the Jean Le Cam’s fourth place, just eight miles behind the French veteran this evening.

    Explaining the differences seen between the Indian and the Pacific, Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas – who was awarded France’s Sailor of the Decade Award yesterday – explained, “Conditions in the Indian Ocean are dictated by the weather and the wind on the surface. It varies from year to year. One often says that the Indian Ocean can be rougher because you get the tropical storms coming down. There tends to be more violent changes and in particular in how the weather system moves there. The pacific is bigger, calmer, that is maybe why it is called that! If you look the experience people have had, it does vary with some having had quite easy Indian Ocean crossing and then tougher Pacific ones.”

    Meanwhile eighth placed Louis Burton is still expected to pit-stop briefly in the shelter of Macquarie Island which is 260 miles in front of him to make repairs








    Yannick Bestaven is leading the fleet through a transition zone of lighter winds this morning just to the south of Macquarie island as the Pacific lives up to its name. The skipper of Maître Coq has been slowed through the night and this morning is making just 10kts but his margin over second placed Charlie Dalin is a relatively comfortable – for the moment – 100 nautical miles.

    Dalin has been second since last night when Thomas Ruyant erred further to the north and has gas had much less wind but is playing a riskier game, one which - according to Dalin - may yet pay off.

    The skipper of APIVIA, who led this Vendée Globe for 23 days before damage to his foil bearing case explained the route of his rival Ruyant this morning
    "There was a very good option to take. I think Thomas had planned to do this before he had his problem with his sail locker filling up with water. It was a really good option to play but the timing was tight and his problem knocked him off his timing I think. You just couldn’t hang around because the door was closing quickly. I fully understand why he is there. It was an option that required a big investment at the outset but which meant losing ground sailing in light winds, to gain big afterwards. It's not totally dead for him. But you had to sail in light wind to make some gain afterwards. We cant say yet that it won’t work but think there is a chance now that his timing is screwed up because of his little problem. For me it was do-able, but the percentages of the polar that I had to sail to to make it was very high and I had told myself this was not my option. It is a huge gain if it works and big loss. It's a daring option, if I had been in his place I think I would have done the same. This option is paying off in the long run. We will have to wait a little bit to see the result. "

    Dalin continued, “ I have 15 knots and I am going about 15knots and the seas are quite OK, if the Pacific stayed like this it would be perfect. I don’t know if there really is a natural frontier between the Indian and the Pacific but a few hours after the Pacific it was still bad then after that it just became easier. The sky is blue and the good news from the weather files this morning is I should make some little gains, the winds will be light just 12-13kts but when I get through the transition I should have some good winds. “




    TRACKER


    Sébastien Destremeau was reached this morning at daily 5 am radio calls to the skippers. He explains in detail the autopilot and steering system
    "Since 5 pm yesterday, I have been sailing with the autopilot, with a steering system; it is not yet reliable, but it's sailing, and it works. I managed to replace the steering and pilot system. I am sailing slowly for the moment, but I'm happy to have been able to get the boat back on course and to no longer be just drifting and losing ground.

    I don't have a welding tool to repair the metal part, I couldn't drill the steel. The Vendée Globe is a race where when you don't know, you invent. I took everything off, cleaned everything, removed the tiller, and concentrated on connecting the two rudders together, but above all I had to put the rudder angle sensor on. Otherwise, you can't have a drive. We had to find a strange assembly. The sensor was originally on the part that broke. That was the priority of priorities.




    Then I put the spare pilot back on. The other two pilots had had it. I had a third one that I installed but I made a mistake with the connection. I connected a wire badly that then, burnt out an electronic card. I had to change the engine drive. But this motor is 24 volts, and on the boat, I only have 12 volts. I had to reconfigure the electronics. It was a real battle!

    I was helped by my brothers but especially by Julien Berthelot of BJ Nautique in Les Sables d'Olonne. Without him, I would never have made it. It was quite a drama, but we made it! I went to bed afterwards... I don't know the system will hold, it still needs to be tested, because it is held together with bits of string... The plan is to head slowly on the course to Australia.

    You imagine crossing the desert in a car far from everything and at some point, it gets really bumpy and your steering system breaks. So, you have to make do with what you have. You reinvent. That's the image I have. So, succeeding is a victory... "





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    Bestaven Extends Lead, Boris Now In 4th, Charal Moves Up

    Breeze favours the leader.....Burton repairing at Macquarie....Hare Punching Hard....Autissier On French Live


    TRACKING


    Yannick Bestaven, who has been at the front of the fleet for four days, passed the Antimeridian at 1337hrs UTC this Sunday afternoon with his lead now extended to 120 nautical miles over second placed Charlie Dalin.

    Of the mental milestones that the Vendée Globe skippers tick off along the 24,410 nautical miles solo race round the world, the Antimeridian – or 180th Meridian – is a significant boost to morale.
    It is there that they see their longitude start to drop from 180 and emotionally each degree feels closer to home and to the Les Sables d’Olonne finish line at 1.799 W.

    Bestaven has had the advantage of staying in the better breeze than Dalin and third placed Thomas Ruyant but this looks set to be a complicated week ahead for the leaders as a high pressure will block their path midweek which could require something of a detour north to find better wind and in fact they might find themselves sailing upwind for a period just before Christmas.

    The second part of this ninth edition of the Vendée Globe looks set to offer even more tension and excitement with the prospect of the top 11 skippers being within 800 nautical miles of each other at Cape Horn around the 31st December or the first day of 2021.

    Consider that the last two editions have seen either a the leader or pair of leaders more than that distance ahead of the third placed boat and the climb up the Atlantic in January promises to be a sporting spectacular.

    And on his new scow bowed Manuard design Armel Tripon, presently 14th on the standings is on the hunt, seemingly always in a beneficial wind regime which is allowing him to consistently pull back miles on those immediately in front of him, “It's a different phase (for the leaders) now until Cape Horn, the cards can still be redistributed but of course there will be opportunities until the end. "




    Burton At Macquarie
    After arriving in the lee of the remote mist shrouded Macquarie Island, 840 miles south east of Tasmania, this morning (European time) Louis Burton climbed the 28 metre mast of Bureau Vallée 2 as it drifted gently offshore. He went up at 1118hrs UTC and returned to the deck after two very hard, chilly hours during which he accomplished a partial repair to the mast track damage which had been preventing him from using his mainsail to its full hoist since early in the Indian Ocean. He reported to his team that as he drifted offshore the seas had become too rough to continue his work to finish the repair and deal with the electronics problem he had there too. And so the skipper from Saint Malo was considering anchoring in Lusitania Bay which is much more protected but always involves more risk anchoring and retrieving an anchor unassisted.


    With less than 100 miles to go the young Swiss skipper Alan Roura will be the next to pass Cape Leeuwin in 15th place. Britain’s Pip Hare is having a fantastic race right now, profiting in the stronger winds on her first time ever in the Southern Ocean. She has closed miles on Les Sables d’Olonne’s Arnaud Boissières who is on a newer boat and is on his fourth consecutive Vendée Globe and she has also moved more than 60 miles clear of Didac Costa who is on his second consecutive Vendée Globe and third round the world race in five years – as is Jean Le Cam who has been a mentor to the Catalan skipper as he has also to Damien Seguin and Benjamin Dutreux. While Hare may be a newcomer to the south her Medallia a 20 year old Pierre Rolland design knows its own way as this is its fifth racing circumnavigation, the last time in the hands of Roura who is only 453 nautical miles ahead.





    STANDINGS



    Isabelle Autissier, the first woman to complete a solo round the world race, was the guest on the French Live show today, Isabelle Autissier, on the French LIVE.

    The legendary pioneer has sailed around the world four times, including once in the Vendée Globe, in the terrifying 1996-1997 race, when out of the fifteen boats that set off, only six finished the race. That was the race which saw Gerry Roufs lost at sea. Autissier spent a long time looking for him in hellish seas in the Pacific. Out of the official race after a pit stop in Cape Town to repair a damaged rudder, she went back to complete the course – as Sam Davies is inspired to do now – arriving ‘hors cours’ back in Les Sables d’Olonne after 105 days with a lot of memories. « I knew I would only do that race once. The Vendée Globe is something that has to be earned. »

    Today Autissier remarked, “ This is a pretty incredible race. I do not recall having ever seen one likes this, and I have followed them all, with so many different battles going on and such a big bunch together in the lead. The speeds are just amazing. I did the Vendée Globe a long time ago now and then I thought we were going fast, but today it is just incredible, there is no comparison. I am happy to see that there have not been too many breakages, some of course, but I see that the sailors are all very capable and able to fix things, which is pretty impressive because it shows the boats are strong and safe.”

    A staunch advocate for ocean health, she commented, “ In my role as president of WWF France, we work hard to protect the remote areas the fleet goes through like the Kergeulen Islands. Earth is the only planet with an Ocean, and it is the ocean that gives life to Earth. We depend on the Ocean for the health of our planet and we must protect her. It is of the utmost importance to us; it provides 50% our oxygen through the plankton and it regulates the temperature of our planet. If ultimately, we do not respect it, it will be us who suffer in the long term. We need to look at it from the climate change perspective, the fishing, plastic pollution and there is just a lot to do.”

    Talking of Davies she said, “ I did send a message to Sam when she was in Cape Town saying that it was a real opportunity to complete her journey and that she would enjoy doing the full trip, like I did when it happened to me. For me it was a real pleasure to be able to finish it, and I did not have the pressure to race, which at the time was quite tough as I was among the favourites in third place when it happened, but after I set off again full pelt and complete at one with the boat and the sea. I got the welcome in the Sables d’Olonne, when I finished 24 hours after the first, as if I were second overall. I am watching Sam and she will finish her race around the world.”








    They said
    Alexia Barrier, TSE for my planet: “My boat is the oldest in the fleet at 22 years, but it is also the most experienced having been here before. I have the birds flying around and it is just beautiful and huge. The wind and the waves and the strength of the elements. I dropped a special ARGO buoy on behalf of a programme that is led by UNESCO. This will give data on the ocean in this remote area. The information will then be made available to researchers the world over to study our oceans. It is lovely to have so many birds play with the breeze, and particularly with the turbulence of the rig. We are visitors in this great Southern Ocean and the only animal I have seen right down in the 40s was a seal. I was so touched to see a living animal after 30 days of not seeing anything. We must all do all we can to protect this ocean.”

    Stephane la Diraison, Time for Oceans: “I am so happy to finally be sailing in the southern seas. It is not quite what I had expected, and I worked really hard to reach a competitive group of sailors and so we have proper racing. The boats are technical and need a lot of managing. Above all we must remember that the Vendée Globe is a massive human challenge and that to be here all alone on our boats on the other side of the world is just nuts. Last night I got another leak in my foil case and so filled my “soute a voile” and had to stop, furl up the gennaker, empty the “soute” and re-stick a board, let it dry… well just everything. It is a Vendée Globe full of action, technical repairs and with a toolbox permanently on hand and open! It is a human challenge and so I fallen behind with a different group and we have very complicated weather systems. Frankly we have not been spared back here. It is pretty mad what we have had in the Southern Atlantic and then near the Kerguelen, where it was warm, and we could shower in the cockpit. In a few days’ time, we will get to the point where I dismasted four years ago, so I am really happy to get past this and have the chance to experience the second half of the race and get into the Pacific and start getting closer to the Sables d’Olonne as opposed to further away.”
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    Solstice And The Sticky Southern Seas



    Bestaven Might Forge An Escape, Dalin, Ruyant Choose their Options, New Low Threatens Burton, Attanasio, Cremer. Destremau Heading Towards Decision Time

    The Vendée Globe seems set to deliver a South Pacific Ocean cliffhanger worthy of Christmas Holiday week fireside viewing as the front running group try to negotiate a large, tricky high pressure system which is blocking their route east.





    If the plot line were written only by leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoqIV) he would be allowed to escape from the evil clutches of the anticyclone and to ride off to a much more substantial distance on the two groups that are chasing him, Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) at 129 miles behind and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) chasing at 165.1 mile.

    Behind them Boris Herrmann in fourth is three to four knots quicker at 373 miles behind Bestaven, at the head of the second wave stretching 530 miles back from Herrmann to Maxime Sorel in 10th.

    So complex is the modelling, tracking and timing of the sticky system which is moving south east across their path that Ruyant today admitted he is half prepared to bide his time and watch Bestaven open the course.


    But weather ace Christian Dumard, meteo adviser to the race, says there is a slender chance the skipper of Maître Coq might be able to extend his break, sailing close to the ice exclusion, while his chasers are forced north-eastwards to find a different, more roundabout route to hook into the next low pressure system.

    "It is not clear if I manage to escape. It is hard to say. Rationally I am the first into the real high pressure areas and then should also be the first to get out, normally!” Explained Bestaven earlier today.

    Ruyant responds, “We still have some pressure for a little while but further we go in a straight line the lighter it will be. So I hope Yannick doesn’t escape.”







    "The weather files are only seemingly reliable for two or three days with any real degree of confidence," explains the skipper of LinkedOut. “So the forecasts are not very reliable looking forwards towards Cape Horn. We don't know that much and so I am going to stay a bit conservative. I'm lucky to be a hunter, in this not very precise weather, not the hunted – not having to lead the way. I can benchmark myself against others, and I watch hour by hour day by day. "

    The one thing which does seem sure about this whole scenario is that the anticyclone is crossing their path, cutting off their supplies of breeze. And all the time they are slowed to positively pedestrian paces scuppering the dream sequence of the latest high tech foilers scything east on long Pacific surfs.









    Between two low-pressure systems
    A new low pressure is very much on the minds of three competitors. The red stripe on their weather files that comes down from New Zealand is a fairly deep low-pressure system generating gusts in excess of 40 knots. Romain Attanasio and Clarisse Cremer now joined by Louis Burton, after he lost 400 miles with his pit stop off Macquairie Island (he climbed his mast three times to carry out repairs), are going to have to weather the storm between Wednesday and Thursday with strong NE’ly winds forecast forcing them to sail upwind in very nasty seas. “We have to avoid going too quickly as we would end up in the worst of the low,” explained Romain Attanasio in a video he sent back. “It does not matter if it catches me coming from behind me, but I am going to slow down. It’s not very logical and I find it hard to do that,” explained Clarisse Cremer the day before yesterday. As for Louis Burton, his problem is the reverse. He needs to accelerate now ahead of the low so that it does not pass right across his route.

    Destremau suffering from steering problems
    Everyone is speeding along towards Cape Leeuwin in excellent weather conditions allowing them to lap up the miles. Everyone that is except for Sébastien Destremau, who continues to suffer from problems with his steering and autopilot, causing his boat to broach without warning and stepping up the stress levels for the skipper from Toulon. “You could say that the end is nigh and I don’t have many other options than to sail Merci to the nearest port... But having said that, you never know when you’re in for a pleasant surprise,” explained Sébastien this morning. The skipper is not clear about whether he wants to continue or not or whether he could carry out repairs under shelter in Australia. His route northwards should protect him in any case from the worst of the Southern Ocean with a new low expected to offer stormy conditions around the Kerguelens on Thursday.




    TRACKER
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    The Pressure Is High




    Dalin. High Pressure = High Stress, Costa’s Perfect 40th Birthday Present Passing Cape Leeuwin Tonight. Hare Happy With Second Cape

    Leader Yannick Bestaven is being forced to play chicken with the Vendée Globe’s ice zone limit in the South Pacific as he seeks to extricate his Maître Coq first from a frustrating anticyclone which is offering unusually light to moderate breezes even though they are racing at 55 degrees south.
    Bestaven, who has seen his margin eroded to 84 miles by Figaro one design ace Charlie Dalin while Thomas Ruyant is also about 80 miles behind.

    The problem all three leaders face is that the centre of the system is moving east at more or less the same speed as they are. But if Bestaven can wriggle clear and his pursuers remain snared then the leader could hit the jackpot, gaining an advance of many hundreds of miles. Bestaven took himself to within 3.4 nautical of the virtual line today before he gybed back north-eastwards, all the time trying to stay as far south as he could where the winds are strongest.


    TRACKER



    Charlie Dalin, in second, admitted that the stress of the scenario was keeping him awake during a phase he really needs to be maximising his rest. Speaking on the Vendée Globe English Live show today, in the dark during the Southern Pacific Ocean night, Dalin said,
    “I am under a high level of pressure because my 90 miles deficit to Maitre Coq could transform into 1000 miles if I cannot manage to outrace this high pressure. I am under a lot of stress, trying to sail as hard as I can to be able to stay east of this high pressure centre, which will travel towards us in the next couple of days. It is really stressful because I know that if I don’t manage I could end up in a different system to Yannick and lose a lot of ground.”




    He affirms, “The weather we have in the Pacific is weird, I feel like I am more sailing a Figaro leg than the Vendée Globe. It is full on racing at the moment. I have got as many square metres of sail up that I can have up. It is really weird. Before the start of the race I was not expecting to be sailing like this at 55 degrees south.”
    “It Is always easier to sleep at night and so I should be asleep right now. But it is keeping me awake. It is hard to find the balance in the long term because when the wind starts to get light then I know I will have to be in top shape. So it is not an easy compromise to find between getting some rest and trimming the boat to be as fast as possible.”





    Arriving later towards the centre of the high, the second wave are led by Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and right now are watching closely to see if the three leaders can get out of the system. “We are the hunters for sure right now. Our question is whether they will escape or we all end up in the same system.

    It is the first six skippers, Bestaven, Dalin, Ruyant, Herrmann, Le Cam and rookie Benjamin Dutreux who are most affected by this area of weak and erratic wind. Behind them the systems are aligning to offer a significant catch up in a strong north westerly flow






    "There will be a regrouping they will come back strong from behind, it is a little annoying but it is all part of the game" noted n Dutreux.
    Groupe Apicil’s Damien Seguin is fighting hard to make the best of any possible comeback: “I have the opportunity to come back. I am ready to fight. I'm waiting for the right time.”

    After his stop at Macquarie Island Louis Burton is in fighting spirits, ready to press as hard as he can to regain lost miles. Having been up to second in the South Indian Ocean before his damage, the skipper from Saint Malo is focused on giving his all in pursuit of the top five finish which was his pre-start target.






    And the best in the South Pacific had been consistently Armel Tripon on L’Occitane in Provence. He posted the best average speed of the fleet today: 446 miles 24 hours compared to just 257 for Thomas Ruyant. “Numbers speak louder than words.” Tripon wrote this morning after entering the South Pacific: “To my right, Antarctica, an immense continent that I dream of seeing up close one day, and in front of me, far, very far, Cape Horn! Between us, a gigantic ocean and in front a whole lot of tiny boats I dream of overtaking! " One part of that dream seems sure to come true.

    Spain’s Didac Costa: The passage of Cape Leeuwin as his 40th Birthday Present
    The Barcelona firefighter who is currently in 19th position celebrated his 40th birthday today asn should cross Cape Leeuwin before midnight on the ex-Kingfisher of Ellen MacArthur with whom she won the Route du Rhum 2002. Didac, who raced his 2016-17 race largely on his own under Australia fighting mainsail and technical issues is fighting in a of 5 IMOCAs in a match which is as exciting as at the top of the fleet. He is tussling all the time with the British skipper Pip Hare, Stéphane Le Diraison, Manu Cousin and Arnaud Boissières who is the the leader of the small posse.
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    Moseying Along In The Placid Pacific



    Compared with the last two editions of the Vendée Globe which, by Day 45, had both been distilled down to high octane drag race sprints across the Pacific to Cape Horn, at the front this ninth edition is increasingly becoming an exacting game of strategy and patience.

    For the top ten right now rather than spearing eastwards to Point Nemo, the most remote spot on the course which right now is still over 1000 miles to the east, the sport is more reminiscent of an inshore race in the Mediterranean in benign, fickle breezes, fighting with the track of a voracious zone of light winds,

    Not only is this edition not going to break any speed records, so slow was second placed Charlie Dalin moving at one point in the last 24 hours that he noted that he joked he would back in Les Sables d’Olonne in July or August.

    Leader Yannick Bestaven is threatening to escape from the dominant high pressure and second placed Charlie Dalin and third placed Thomas Ruyant, close to the centre of the high pressure are powerless to stop him.








    Weather strategy expert, two times winner of La Solitaire du Figaro Yoann Richomme explained today on the English Live show,




    “ There is going to a be a break. Yannick is in front of the system and the others are behind. It is a like a wall which is slowly moving so that entire group for me from V and B La Mayenne to Charlie Dalin is gonna be pretty closed up with eight or nine boats within a hundred miles or so of each other by this weekend. Yannick has another low pressure coming down this Saturday and it depends how strong and how it is positioned but right now I see him getting a nice 200 or 300 miles lead.”


    And the second group is compressing too, running into the buffer zone of light winds on the west of the high. Boris Herrmann in fourth is under threat from boats on both sides of him.

    Benjamin Dutreux is up to fifth place albeit only seven miles ahead of Jean Le Cam on the water. But he is on the hunt for fourth placed Herrmann, the two on a converging course this evening in light winds, making five to seven knots only.

    Le Cam and Dutreux are both sailing very similar Farr designed 2007-8 generation boats.

    The 30 year old Vendée sailor Dutreux is sailing an incredibly accomplished race. He was born in the north of France – the French sailors’ strict demarcation making him a ‘Chti’ like second placed Dalin from Le Havre and third placed Ruyant from Dunkirk. But his grandmother had a house on the Ile de Yeu where he spent all his time each summer sailing. He joined the Ile de Yeu club at eight before graduating to the local mainland club.






    TRACKER


    He was on the French youth team at 16 and won national, European and world titles before he was 18. After college he became a sailmaker for three years and in his 20s joined the Vendée Formation Figaro training group going on to finish fifth overall in 2018.
    Dutreux’s boat was previously Kojiro Shiraishi’s Spirit of Yukoh which Dutreux brought from Japan. While Le Cam’s Yes We Cam has already won as Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia in 2008, Dutreux’s was on the podium on the 2012 race as Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss.
    He and his brother have a boat renovation and repair yard in Les Sables d’Olonne where he is very popular for his very down to earth, friendly demeanour. His best IMOCA result to date was 19th in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

    Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) and Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) are racing almost in sight of each other – four miles apart – in seventh and eighth.




    “I have Damien not far away but can’t see him or pick him up on the AIS. There are conditions that are more favourable at times for my boat and at others for his. Now it is great to have caught up with him when he was quite long way ahead, but he has also had a few issues to deal with, either way it is nice to have caught up. I have felt a lot better in the Pacific, better than in the Indian and I am more confident and less scared. There are things that you are naturally scared of, but which you overcome, and it is wonderful to have the chance to make the most of it and enjoy it now. I am loving the Pacific; it is just the opposite of the Indian. We will have to see what conditions are like at Cape Horn.”
    She adds, “I am enjoying eating well and doing a bit of cooking, when the conditions are good of course. We have light conditions, and we are sailing with stunning conditions, under the moon and with very short nights. I am sailing to the South West of an anticyclone and will be into it and so it should get a lot lighter which means that those ahead will slow down and those behind will continue to catch up until they too get the lighter airs. I will have to see how I negotiate it and it is not going to be too easy because it will be very light.”
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    Boxing Day Updates From The Vendee Globe




    Article
    Like a sci-fi monster which constantly evolves and won’t lie down and die, the high pressure system which has blocked the path of the Vendée Globe leaders since they were south of New Zealand, is not giving up the top ten solo skippers and releasing them to accelerate east towards Point Nemo and onwards to Cape Horn.

    Speeds remain modest, no more than 12 knots for any of the top third of the fleet. And in particular the second group of seven skippers is still only making six to eight knots because the anticyclone has ridged to the north east and south west, drawing an even more impenetrable barrier of calm.

    While Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) has a lead of less than 30 miles on second placed Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) the vanguard of the second group is formed by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) who are still less than one mile apart. The enforced slowdown means that Maxime Sorel (V and B - Mayenne) has not only been able to reconnect but, having made up more than 250 miles since just before Christmas, he is up to seventh and could be very much in the match for the final ascent up the Atlantic from early January. And Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who restarted from Macquarie Island with a deficit of 890 miles on the leader is now 394 miles behind Bestaven and 50 miles from Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who is ninth.






    TRACKER



    Second placed Dalin looked – predictably - slightly jaded today as he responded to questions in the middle of the southern hemisphere night, on the midday French show today.

    “After a few days of taking advantage of smooth seas and sailing downwind in VMG mode, now I’m upwind on rather choppy seas… I am getting used to the boat slamming again. I am heading once again for the Ice Zone that I should reach in around 24 hours. I’m pushing the boat as best I can, but the wind is fairly unstable in strength and direction. That has been quite normal in the Southern Ocean recently, so I’m getting used to that.”

    Talking of his precise strategy Dalin explained “ I had the option of letting the high pass by or taking a route via the north. The day I took the decision to gybe to head back down to the Ice Zone, there was still a slight chance that I would escape from it, and if things didn’t work out, I would only lose thirty miles or so. That was the logical solution. A matter of hoping rather than giving up. I realised that there was always more wind than shown on the charts and knew that would apply to my option. That enabled me to sail fairly fast ahead of the high pressure system. Of course, it was a bit stressful when the wind eased off, as I kept thinking the high had caught me. But there were times when the breeze was fairly strong and that allowed me to make good progress.”!

    “It didn’t matter what Yannick (Bestaven) or the others did. I was racing against the weather system. Yannick has now moved off to an interesting position to get by the Antarctic Exclusion Zone that I don’t have. In terms of positioning, he has a slight advantage, but his wind direction is slightly more unfavourable. In the end, he will do better."

    Hydraulic ram issues, such as he had before, are threating the race of Alan Roura. The youngest skipper in the race, Roura, 27, lost all his hydraulic oil when a valve failed on November 28th. This afternoon his team report he is facing a new issue and one of the rams has failed. He has blocked the keel but cannot cant it to any useful effect. He is said to be discussing solutions and possibilities with his team from his position 550 miles SW of South Island, New Zealand. Roura now has Pip Hare and Arnaud Boissières just 160 miles behind. That the British solo racer is so close to him on the boat he sailed last time will not be adding to Roura’s morale on a race which has so far been mostly frustrating for him.

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





    Alan Roura informed his team this Saturday morning, December 26, that he was again the victim of an oil leak from one of the two hydraulic cylinders of his sailboat. Unable to get this keel tilting system to work again, essential to La Fabrique's competitiveness , the Swiss skipper analyzes the situation with his team in order to make the appropriate decisions for the second part of his solo round-the-world tour. .

    He had celebrated Christmas at the same time as his entry into the Pacific Ocean, the virtual mark of the mid-point of the Vendée Globe, by crossing the longitude of the South Cape of Tasmania on Friday morning, December 25 (French time). Barely 24 hours later, Alan Roura complained about a new problem with La Fabrique's keel jacks . It was after a jibe in 30 knots of wind that one of the hydraulic system hoses dropped, at the end of the keel, the appendix then falling suddenly downwind.

    This is the second time that the Swiss sailor has found himself confronted with this kind of problem, after a first leak and the change of said hose on November 28.

    Alan has already stabilized the situation by managing to block the keel in its axis, thus severely affecting the performance of his boat, but ensuring her safety on board. In close consultation with his technical team in order to identify any collateral damage and the causes of this new breakage, the 27-year-old Genevan will have to determine the possibility, or not, of remedying this damage and of continuing his race.

    Source: La Fabrique


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

    Still racing upwind but having changed on to the ‘making’ port tack – the angle taking them closer to the mark than away from it – Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) is back in the lead but only by a small handful of miles over Charlie Dalin (APIVIA).

    The seven strong peloton are now compacted into a postage stamp area some 50 by 70 nautical miles but are once again bumped into the light winds of the high pressure barrier, they are all making much less than ten knots.

    The significant movers over the course of the last night and yesterday are the ‘comeback kids’ Jérémie Beyou (Charal) now making continued inroads at good speeds, averaging over 20kts for much of the time and so now up to 18th place passing Didac Costa (OnePlanet-One Ocean) and Stéphan Le Diraison (Time for Oceans). And Armel Tripon (L’Occitaine en Provence) has passed Roman Attanasio (Pure-Best Western) to take over 13th place. They are feeling the effects of a new high pressure system which is slowing them.




    The slow down for the peloton, the group led by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) has been good for Maxime Sorel (V and B Mayenne) and especially for Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who have made miles back in the group, Burton more than 250 miles over four days.

    Alan Roura (La Fabrique) in 15th is more than 300 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia): the start of the Pacific is quite good for them although they have this depression chasing them. At the moment three solo sailors (Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa) are in the system in thirty knots as they leave the Indian Ocean. Manu Cousin (Groupe Sétin) has preferred to sail much further north.











    From the morning calls at 0400hrs UTC

    Boris Herrmann (SeaExploerer-Yacht Club de Monaco): “ I got pretty fed up with the eating out of a plastic bag adding hot water and eating with a spoon, so there is no sensation to the process of having a meal and so I started having a routine of having a meal now where I start by cutting a little piece of cheese into smaller pieces and some sausage just to have some manual sensation to taste what I eat a bit more and so something with my hand. That keeps me motivated to eat. And so that keeps some of the joy of eating.

    We will be getting a bit more back to normal. This is unusual to have a couple of days of very light winds, or no wind. Once we are done with this in about one day it goes back to normal and we are dealing with stronger breeze, fronts, wind between 20 and 30 knots instead of between three and eight knots.

    I think the next couple of days can be quite good. The conditions for me for foiling are when the wind is wider than 65 degrees 70 degrees TWA and stronger than 12 knots and when we are VMG running and with the wind straight from behind I am not faster than Jean Le Cam or any of these kind of competitors here around me.”




    Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) “It is quite windy, 28-35 knots, I am reaching along the top of the forbidden Australian zone and I have another 180 miles to go before I can start going south east should I choose to do so. I think I have passed Cape Leeuwin which is pretty good. It is going to be fast. Earlier this morning I had up to 43 knots which is less amusing and last night the wind was what I call ‘mad wind’ really badly organised from 12-25 knots, big shifts and when it is like that it is hard to know what direction to point the boat in. It is steady over 30kts. I had a Christmas dinner made by a company called ActiveEat they made it for me and for Sam Davies and it was delicious, Turkey, stuffing, greens, potatoes, parsnips and some Brussels sprouts and I shared it virtually with Sam Davies on WhatsApp which was rather nice. It was really nice, classic Christmas Dinner and then my mother’s classic Christmas Cake. It was a nice Christmas. And a lovely Christmas Cake with lots of fruit in it and lots of alcohol.
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