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A Fast Night For Vendee Arctique Sailors


  • A Fast Night For Vendee Arctique Sailors

    A fast first night of the Vendee Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne has seen the skippers on the latest generation, fast foiling IMOCAs sustain average speeds of over 25 knots in ideal conditions as they charge westwards towards a ridge of high pressure 150-200 miles wide which will see speeds plummet later today.

    Separating slightly to the north of his closest rivals Romain Attanasio (Fortinet-Best Western) is judged to be this morning’s early leader – being closer to the theoretical direct, ideal course to the next waypoint of the course – whilst Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is furthest to the west and has been quickest overnight.

    The winner of last month’s Guyader-Bermudes 1000 race Dalin was just over half a nautical mile ahead of nearest rival Jeremie Beyou (Charal) who won the first edition of this race back in July 2020.
    In the NNE’ly breeze of between 17 and 20kts Attanasio is sailing a higher angle but was making about 1.5-2kts slower than the faster foursome Dalin, Beyou, Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Louis Burton (Bureau Valle'e).

    The skippers are monitoring the evolution of this high pressure ridge which runs SW-NE blocking their course. As they unfold their strategies – seeking to cross at the narrowest point and emerge into the stronger, favourable SW’ly wind on the other side – their courses will curve more northwards today.

    Speeds will slow towards midday as they get into the light airs. Tonight promises to be complicated in very light airs whilst the leaders should escape tomorrow morning. "The best average speed over 15 minutes last night was 29.4 knots," reported Yann Chateau, assistant race director this morning, "The boat was going very hard last night,"said Swiss skipper Alan Roura (Hublot). "It's a bit difficult to find a rhythm. I snacked on carrots because heating water is complicated. On the sleep side, I just managed to grab 20 minutes.”

    Japanese racer Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI GLOBAL ONE) is in tenth this morning whilst Kiwi Conrad Colman (Imagine) is well positioned in 12th.

    Hungarian skipper Szabolcs Weores arrived back at the Vend?e Globe pontoon in Les Sables d’Olonne at about 0200hrs HF and reported, “Before the start we realised we had some issues with the keel. My technical crew was on board and had started to work on it. We realised that on the port side the keel was at the wrong angle and then we could not cant the keel to port. And so we don’t know what the solution is right now, we can see what is happening and we cannot cant the keel. I hope we can get it repaired. We have no fixed plan yet but are working on it.”
    Updates direct from the skippers this morning

    Louis Burton: “The start of the race on Bureau Valle'e was fast as it was for the rest of the fleet I think on a with a very fast reaching leg. I saw peaks at 35 knots! You have to get into the rhythm straight away there is no choice. I slept three times 20 minutes. I'm going to attack the high ridge quite south, where I wanted to go. ?

    Antoine Cornic (EBAC Literie): “ It was an emotional start a bit of a foretaste of the Vende'e Globe perhaps. I haven’t had too much trouble getting into the rhythm of the race but I have I had two or three problems on the boat, including a complete blackout of electricity but I got it back quickly. I had a little diesel leak which has left a bad smell. It was windy last night, things have progressed well, I haven't slept much, I'm going to take a little nap before the sun rises and the conditions really change. The strategy for approaching the ridge seems clear to me, I am the most northerly competitor in the fleet. The ridge looks less thick up there, which is why I made the decision to “climb” to try to cross it to the north."

    Sebastien Marsset (Cap Agir Ensemble #SponsorsBienvenus): “My first night went well with a beautiful moon in windy conditions. The reaching course was fast. We had to stay on it all the time as it was gusty. The wind has eased a bit at daybreak. Everything is going well on board. It was a bit emotional leaving land and it takes a little time to recover from that. Now we will have to think about strategy this morning depending on the position of my rivals and the next weather files. The one thing that worries me is that I was cold already last night, how am I going to be in the north, up there?”


    Tens of thousands of well wishers lined the mythical channel today in Les Sables d’Olonne to send the 25 competing solo skippers on their way as the 3,500 nautical miles course around Iceland started in a light to moderate NE’ly breeze at 1700hrs local time this evening.

    This new summer race north to Arctic waters is now managed by the Vendee region and complements their famous solo non-stop race around the world and is the first available qualifying race for competitors aspiring to compete in the 2024 edition of the Vendee Globe. After a week of festivities, more than 40,000 visitors taking to the race pontoons this week to see the 25 IMOCAs and their skippers, the race started cleanly and on time this evening.

    After a short period of unstable winds just after the start gun, within an hour the top group fast foiling IMOCAs were reaching at speeds of more than 27 knots spearing north and west in the early stages a passage which will take them west of Ireland and then on a quick northwards reach towards the eastern tip of Iceland which they are forecast to reach next Friday.
    Louis Burton, the Saint Malo based skipper who finished third in the recent Vend?e Globe, was quickest off the start line and early evening was leading, just ahead of Charlie Dalin, winner of last month’s Guyader-Bermudes 1000 race. Burton is racing his new Bureau Valle'e, the radical, full scow-bowed Sam Manuard design which is very much a blueprint for the next generation of IMOCA yachts.

    The first weather obstacle will be a ridge of high pressure producing a NE-SW zone of light winds which the leading skippers need to choose where to cross. The option going further west may require more miles to be sailed but the reward would be a more solid, consistent SW’ly wind for the long, fast reach towards Iceland. The non-foiling boats of which there are 11 are more likely to stay further east, close to the Irish coast.

    “This is a bit like the Vend?e Globe but in summer.” Smiled Manuel Cousin (Groupe S?tin) on the dock in Port Olona where the atmosphere was very reminiscent of the usual November dock out other than the skippers’ emotions were nothing like as intense and there was warm sunshine.

    “In the first 24 hours we will have manageable conditions. We should be going fast tonight and tonight with a priori few maneuvers, perhaps a change of sail. It's good not to attack hard. Difficult moments, we will have them later in this race, we know that” said Louis Duc (Fives - Lantana Environnement).

    Britain’s Pip Hare was in 11th this evening making over 20kts on her new foiling Medallia. As she docked out Hare said, “I think really this race is about analysing and improving all my own techniques as a sailor and I’m watching the other boats of the similar generation and measuring my performance against them but I think this is a great experience for me to learn and of course a race to finish and make my first qualification step for the next Vendee Globe.”

    Kiwi Conrad Colman made a good start on his so far sponsor-less non foiler Imagine, “ I’m just happy to be on the race, happy to go around Iceland. That’s completely new for me and for everybody else. And as you know for somebody from the very south of the world New Zealand to go all away to the north of the planet it’s pretty exciting. The main goal is to come back here in two years to be qualified and selected for the Vendee globe and take the big start. And also have fun, keep the boat and myself in one piece. If I can make it on podium with the other daggerboard boats I will be very happy.”

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