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2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

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

    Bummer for Corum, hooray for Charal!


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


      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


      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #18
        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.


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


        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.”

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #19
          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]
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #20
            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.


            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.
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #21
              Fast, But No Record!

              By crossing the demarcation line between the two hemispheres this Wednesday November 18 at 2:19 p.m., Alex Thomson is far from improving the reference time: the skipper of HUGO BOSS thus took 9 days 23 hours 59 minutes to reach the equator at the start des Sables d'Olonne. His pursuers are now more than one hundred miles (except for Thomas Rettant and Charlie Dalin), or even more than 1,000 miles from the twentieth ranked solo!

              There are straight lines, broken lines… and imaginary lines. The one which “separates” the Northern hemisphere from the Southern hemisphere is indeed a virtual “barrier” which surrounds the Earth (inclined 23 ° 26) and which measures 40,075 kilometers, or 21,638 miles, the initial distance retained for the Vendée Globe. This parallel is therefore the longest of all the Earth and marks the origin of its “colleagues”, from 0 ° at the equator to 90 ° at the pole (North or South).

              A very average crossing time

              Passing from one hemisphere to another on Wednesday 18 November, Alex Thomson ( HUGO BOSS) will have taken 9 days 23 hours 59 minutes since the start from Les Sables d'Olonne on Sunday 8 November at 2:20 p.m. And if this is not the best time since the creation of the round the world solo and nonstop, it is still a remarkable score given the three depressions (including a tropical one!) That the competitors had to face. before touching the Cape Verdean trade winds ...

              Let us recall all the same that the leaders of the sixth day of racing of this edition were more than 500 miles behind Armel Le Cléac'h's time in 2016: when Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson were still battling at the end of Theta, off the Canary Islands, the winner of the previous edition was already in the heart of the Cape Verde archipelago! This shows if the trade winds acceleration was substantial this year with the foilers as soon as the breezes in the eastern sector set in ...

              Crossing the equator

              1989: 5d 12h (Titouan Lamazou- Écureuil d'Aquitaine II )

              1992: 5d 9pm (Alain Gautier- Superior Baggage )

              1996 11j 08h (Christophe Auguin- Géodis )

              2000: 14d 03h 49 '(Yves Parlier- Aquitaine Innovations )

              2004: 10d 11h 28 '(Jean Le Cam- Bonduelle )

              2008: 12d 08h 58 '(Loïck Peyron- Gitana Eighty )

              2012: 10j 19h 18 '(Armel Le Cléac'h- Banque Populaire )

              2016: 9j 7h 03 '(Alex Thomson- Hugo Boss )

              2020: 9d 23h 59 '(Alex Thomson- HUGO BOSS )

              Already cracked fractures!

              But what especially marks this passage from one hemisphere to another are the gaps that are growing visibly! There were already fracture premises after passing around Theta, but early this eleventh day of racing, deltas become colossal Kevin Escoffier ( PRB , 5 th !) Is already nearly 200 miles behind leader, Italian Giancarlo Pedote ( Prysmian Group , 13 th ) to more than 400 miles, the Diraison Stéphane ( Time for Oceans 19 th ) to more than 700 miles from Columbia, Costa Didac ( One planet-One ocean , 20 th ) just passes the Cape Verde Islands with Pipe Hare ( Medallia), Arnaud Boissières ( La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Manuel Cousin ( Groupe SÉTIN ) while seven solo sailors are still off the Canary Islands 1,500 miles from the equator while Jérémie Beyou ( Charal ) tackles at the exit from the Bay of Biscay, more than 2,800 miles from the first!

              This would still be “acceptable” for a marathon runner, but the weather configuration for the next few days is frankly very favorable to the leaders and very unfavorable to the pursuers… Because Alex Thomson ( HUGO BOSS ) and a dozen solo sailors to follow will be able to get around the race. high pressure from Saint Helena quickly enough and far enough from the Brazilian coast to reach the tropic of Capricorn, then the Roaring Forties ... But the high pressures of the southern hemisphere will disperse next week in several cells, which will then make the very complicated crossing of the South Atlantic for the pursuers!

              And if Alex Thomson will have trouble improving Armel Le Cléac'h's reference time as he crosses the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, he should further increase his room for maneuver, at least vis-à-vis the peloton: the eleven current pursuers still able to destabilize the leader, should indeed dig an insurmountable furrow vis-à-vis the other loners; to the point that in the south of South Africa, there should be at least five groups of two to seven skippers scattered over more than 2,000 miles, not counting the two sailors who returned to Les Sables d'Olonne: Fabrice Amedeo ( Newrest -Art & Fenêtres ) and Jérémie Beyou ( Charal ) will take many days to pick up the tail of the fleet ...

              In short, besides the fact that the first to cross the equator will be able to accelerate in the trade winds of the southern hemisphere while his pursuers will still be entangled in a Doldrums, certainly cooperative, but all the same under development and development. activity, this line of demarcation becomes a line of flight: the Briton will inexorably escape! However, the eight previous editions of the Vendée Globe all have one thing in common: the winner of the non-stop solo round the world race was always one of the first ten to cross the equator ...

              Vendée Globe editor / Dominic Bourgeois
              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #22
                Thomas Ruyant Reeling In Thomson

                Alex Thomson ( HUGO BOSS ) still in the lead although having conceded ground on Thomas Reyant ( LinkedOut ) and Charlie Dalin ( Apivia ); unanswered questions about the leader's tempo; three IMOCAs with "straight drifts" already in the southern hemisphere; Nicolas Troussel safely ... Here is information for this 11 th day of the Vendée Globe.

                For a few hours, a doubt floated in the bow of HUGO BOSS . In fact, in 48 hours, between crossing the equator as the leader, with 78 miles ahead of LinkedOut , his runner-up , and this Thursday, Alex Thomson saw his lead shrink like snow in the Brazilian sun: he no longer counted. only 15.4 miles ahead of Thomas Rettant in the standings by 15 hours and 44.8 over Charlie Dalin ( Apivia ), more than 160 miles at the start of the week.



                Crisis of faith? Technical concerns? Small secrecy? Difficult to say, the English skipper unable to answer the morning shift. In the game of theories, let us push in bulk and in disorder that of the big DIY session, planned for the doldrums - but ultimately postponed since, doldrums, there was hardly any for the leaders -; that of the downsizing the time to carry out a complete train of checks and small repairs; that of the difference in performance between HUGO BOSS on the one hand and LinkedOut and Apivia on the other, proposed by Marcus Hutchinson ( LinkedOut team manager ) and which, in substance during the English version of the Vendée Live program, underlined that different designs corresponded to different peaks of performance; and then that of Yann Elies , interviewed as an expert at the daily show, the Vendée Live on Thursday noon and indirectly entrusted the keys of the performance of Alex Thomson Nicolas Troussel: " Does is this the configuration of HUGO BOSS foils ? It's possible. But it is also possible that the sailors have eased off from ( what lived ) Nicolas Troussel. We ask ourselves a lot of questions about dismasting ( from CORUM L'Epargne , Monday morning, editor's note ), it is urgent to pay attention to the tension we are putting in the rigging at the moment ".

                In short, many questions, scenarios for a temporary slowdown, Alex Thomson having put the gum back in recent hours. However, the results of the expert appraisals currently being carried out on the circumstances of Nicolas Troussel's dismasting, under acceptable sailing conditions, are eagerly awaited. This dismasting raises questions in all the teams, all equipped with one of the one-design masts imposed by the IMOCA Class in order to secure the fleet - and the result has been convincing for several years. Flows of data sent by CORUM L'Epargne will provide useful information for the collective.

                HUGO BOSS , LinkedOut and Apivia are therefore sailing tight-knit? Yes and no, since 70 miles in longitude separate Alex Thomson, very to the West, from the duo of "Frenchies". There, Alex Thomson found winds a little less sustained, but which allowed him to slide due south, while reserving the possibility of attacking the crossing of the South Atlantic when he saw fit. Calés further east, Thomas Rettant, Charlie Dalin and their Verdier plans were still gaining ground in recent hours.

                12 in the South!

                23 hours and 37 minutes after Alex Thomson, Damien Seguin in turn crossed the equator . The skipper of Groupe Apicil is the 12 th to enter the southern hemisphere at this edition. Seaexplorer - Yacht Club De Monaco, Initiatives - Cœur, Maître CoQ IV, OMIA - Water Family and ARKEA PAPREC had preceded him. At this time, nine of the twelve “Southerners” are foilers, but the “straight daggerboards” are holding up! It cites as evidence the 10 th place of Benjamin Dutreux sacred sailor on Omia - Water Family , and inevitably the 4 th place of Jean Le Cam,still and always. 135 miles north of the leader, the dean of the race still maintains a remarkable pace, fueled by his impressive knowledge. Kevin Escoffier ( PRB ) and Louis Burton ( Bureau Vallée 2 ) are 5 th and 6 th , about 200 miles from the lead.

                Within 24 hours, they should be six more upside down. These skippers will then have gotten rid of the doldrums, which Alan Roura ( La Fabrique ) dreams of, in a hurry to be able to stick a good nap without having to fear a brutal calm or a gale force (read below), or even Clarisse Crémer ( Banque Populaire X) who worries about having nothing to do when there is not a small adjustment to install.


                " It's the washing machine here. I have between 25 and 28 knots of wind, nice waves to surf, I put my boat in moped mode with the J3 and two reefs in the mainsail. "

                I took care of myself and it worked well. I have the fishing now, I can't wait for the day to break. I'm making good progress, between 13 and sometimes 20 knots in the surf. I can't wait to find the flying fish.

                Alexia Barrier / TSE - 4myplanet


                The fleet of thirty-two IMOCA monohulls is sailing this Thursday, November 19 in pleasant conditions with a south-easterly trade wind for the former, a little active doldrums for the peloton and a north-easterly trade wind for the latter.

                While Stéphane le Diraison on Time For Oceans attacked a doldrums this morning that was still just as lenient, the leaders will spend the day off Recife. They are sailing in beautiful conditions with a well established trade wind, which allows the foilers of the latest generation to express themselves.

                The Saint Helena anticyclone is currently located in the eastern part of the South Atlantic. A small “low pressure” axis is located between Salvador de Bahia in Brazil and the central South Atlantic.

                By the end of the week, the strategy of the first competitors will be to slip into the downwind corridor in the southwest of the Saint Helena high. The objective for the moment is to keep a curved trajectory to navigate with fast wind angles and to gradually curve the route when the wind turns to the north.

                In the ideal scenario, it would be necessary to stay in this corridor until the Forties. This low pressure axis is unfortunately less and less active next week. The wind should therefore ease and it is not certain that the competitors will be able to keep a sustained wind as long as they would like. The models that will be released in the next few days will bring more visibility in the long term and on the scenario as the Cape of Good Hope approaches, which could become complex with many possible options. The time for important choices could be Sunday, November 22.

                The trade winds are still in place for all the competitors who are north of the latitude of Cape Verde. They take advantage of good sailing conditions and can repair minor injuries. On the other hand, conditions in the doldrums could deteriorate slightly from Friday with weaker winds and more squalls.

                Christian Dumard / Great Circle


                Troussel at anchor in Mindelo
                Nicolas Troussel has secured his CORUM - L'Epargne, now at anchor in front of the port of Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vincente. After three days to the east with the engine, following the dismasting of CORUM L'Epargne on Monday morning, the skipper of the bay of Morlaix awaits the arrival of his team ashore to moor his monohull at the pontoons of Mindelo, the second largest Cape Verde city.

                His team should join him in the coming hours. Together, they will then manage the landing of CORUM L'Epargne in this port where there is no water everywhere for IMOCAs with a draft of 4.5m.

                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

       Photo Gallery


                • #23
                  Top 3 In Tight Competition

                  Risky Route to the South?
                  Big Split To Advantage Top Three
                  Comebacks Are In

                  Racing at the latitude of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil this morning British skipper Alex Thomson, leader of the Vendée Globe, today emphasized that he feels under no pressure from his nearest two French rivals Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who have both cut miles from his lead since their exit from the Doldrums three days ago.


                  The top trio are each trying to plot their best route down the South Atlantic to catch a fast moving low pressure system and the strong, favourable winds which would catapult them eastwards into the Southern Ocean. While the weather situation for them is very enticing right now, offering a fast slide down the face of a cold front, at the bottom of the ride there is a potentially lethal transition zone which might evolve into a period of very light winds.

                  Should today’s weather modelling work out as predicted, according to the Vendée Globe’s weather expert Christian Dumard, the three leaders would gain such an advantage that they might be as much as two days ahead of fourth place and the chasing group by the time they pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope.
                  Asked on this afternoon’s LIVE show Thomson said, “I am trying to find my way to the Southern Ocean, I am not really being affected by what they are doing. I am clear what we have to do over the next couple of days, I am positioned well so I don’t feel too much pressure. I don’t feel under pressure.”
                  He responded to suppositions that life in the tropics, living and working inside his boat all the time as opposed to on deck, might be hotter and more tiring, “In terms of the heat I would say it is cooler in here than it is outside. Much the same as the others I am probably drinking four litres of electrolyte a day. It was a struggle to stay hydrated but over the last day or so it is becoming better. I am trying to sleep as much as possible, I am still in debt for sure, so wherever I feel the urge, whenever I can I get my head down and get to sleep. Eating is a constant process for me. I am constantly going to the cupboard and grabbing a snack or a meal.”

                  Asked about the small miles Thomson has lost in recent days, the naval architect from VPLP who co-designed HUGO BOSS with significant input from Alex Thomson Racing’s own design team, Quentin Lucet suggested, “I think Alex has been sleeping a bit more recently and just not feel the need to push too hard for the moment. Maybe he is more in a controlling aspect on his followers. And maybe in terms of design there might be some slight performance differences due to the real wind they have just now. For now we have no alarm saying Alex has any issues. Probably he just does not see a real need to be accelerating just now.”

                  Double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux on the French show confirmed that he is a big fan of Thomson’s option to the west, 115 miles closer to the Brazilian shore than Ruyant.

                  “For sure the changes near the lead are due to a combination of the packages the various leaders have. Foils, sails and hull shape. Also there is a difference to what we see here on land as per the forecasts and what the sailor might actually get on the ocean. I think the further West you go the better the angle you will have to then come back and catch up. And so for me the two behind Alex really need to put their foot down to try and catch him now because the passage towards the Cape of Good Hope is going to give Alex quite a lead. If you look at the projected routing it is now that they need to make the most ground up because after the lead will extend a lot.”

                  Indeed as the angles have opened to broader reaching angles HUGO BOSS has been quicker than Apivia and LinkedOut, Thomson averaging more than 23 kts. Once again there are some anomalies on the official rankings because the positions are taken from a moving, rather than fixed waypoint. The late afternoon rankings maybe show Ruyant as leader but Thomson continues to be about 40 miles further south.

                  The breakaway trio are now more than 160 miles clear of fourth placed Jean Le Cam, who has the fast moving Saint Malo skipper Louis Burton on Bureau Vallée approaching in his wake. Burton is racing the IMOCA 60 which holds the current 74 days 3 hours solo round the world record and moved up to fifth today holding definite designs on fourth.

                  The comeback kids
                  Also coming back fast after their own particular technical problems since the start are Sébastien Simon on ARKÉA-Paprec who, in tenth, is chasing Briton Sam Davies hard at 27 miles behind. The 2018 La Solitaire champion, one of four skippers in the race who live in Les Sables d’Olonne, has been consistently fast over the last couple of days since he had to climb the mast of his Juan K design. And Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi is back in the race with an operational mainsail on DMH MORI. Four days of repairs to a tear at the top of his sail and batten repairs are completed, even if the Asian skipper must sail with one reef from now on. He was sailing directly west this afternoon away from the Cape Verde islands which might have provided additional refuge had he needed it. And Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest Amedeo) has nearly completed his comeback after a three day pitstop back in Les Sables d’Olonne to repair a hairline crack at the top if his mast.

                  They said:
                  Sébastien Simon (ARKÉA PAPREC): “I’ve had a pretty good 24 hours, I'm not far from the group with Maître CoQ, Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, and Initiatives-Cœur. It's good, it's going to challenge me a bit. I’m happy. What's hard to manage are the boat’s sudden flights, but that’s what allows me to go fast because the boat is very powerful. It can take off very quickly - sometimes it rests still on the water’s surface depending on the sea and wind conditions, other times it flies off, and if it flies quite high you really have to cling on when it falls back down, and that's what requires energy. Otherwise it’s going pretty well. I managed to sleep last night because I've been working a lot on trimming over the last 48 hours.

                  I sleep in my bunk - it's a mattress on the floor with two pillows to support my head, it's pretty comfortable. But the last two days have been so hot! It was pretty suffocating in the boat, I was sweating profusely when I was recharging the engine. With the cockpit closed, the air doesn't get in, and the little air that does get in is a salty fog. But last night it was bearable. In the South Atlantic, there won't be record conditions. We have this high pressure zone to get around, that's why we are heading towards Brazil. Then we’ll have a front to deal with, so it's going to be a pretty extreme southern route. I’m sure we’ll reach the ice zone much earlier than the Cape of Good Hope. In any case, it won't be a very direct route. I'm enjoying being alone on the boat, I’m not really noticing the time going by, but I do like hearing news from on land, it calms me down a bit. I even allow myself the luxury every night to take a shower before going to bed, it makes me feel a little more human! I’m making the most of it now because I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to do it in the Deep South. I haven't yet found a solution for my weather vanes. "

                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                  • #24
                    Great race thus far, what are the odds that Charal can catch up?


                    • #25
                      I hear that it easier to lead from the front.

                      Having never been there, I cannot confirm.


                      • #26
                        The Boss Gets A Setback

                        HUGO BOSS is making slowed speeds SE’wards down the race course early this morning after Alex Thomson’s team last night alerted Race Direction of the Vendée Globe to a possible structural issue on board Thomson’s black and pink IMOCA when it was lying in second place, racing 800 miles east of Rio de Janeiro.

                        The British skipper has reduced speed to lessen the loading on the boat while a solution was being sought in consultation with the designers VPLP and engineers. He alerted his team of his concerns at around 1900hrs UTC last night, Saturday, and the Alex Thomson Racing Team issued a short statement which was published around midnight UTC.

                        Since last night’s 2100hrs rankings report HUGO BOSS made 42 nautical miles overnight, averaging six knots, around half the speed of race leader Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who passed about 23 nautical miles to windward of HUGO BOSS around midnight, the French skipper taking over second place in the race.


                        The leading trio are racing in light, variable winds. Just before the alert was made to Race Direction, Thomson had been averaging around 16kts, the forecast swell being around 1.7m. Overnight he has conceded around thirty miles to the leader Ruyant. More information will be shared during Sunday.

                        The leaders are looking to wriggle through a zone of lighter, unsettled airs to reach the stronger conditions at the fringe of the Southern Ocean. Speaking at 0400hrs this morning Charlie Dalin had not yet learned of his British rival's problem. "I hope it's not too bad and the extent of the damage is limited. Most of all I hope that this does not mean the end of the Vendée Globe for him. We are having a great race with him. Alex being part of this trio is very stimulating ”

                        Talking of the weather Dalin said, “I have the impression that I am reliving a doldrums passage but it is even more bizarre. I found some pretty strange variable winds, sudden changes in direction and force, I really didn't expect that. I even got gusts from the NW yesterday. This morning, the sea is flatter and there is a beautiful starry sky, it is beautiful ".

                        As the leaders slow down in these light conditions so there has been a small gain by the chasing group, Ruyant and Dalin making around 12kts to fourth placed Jean Le Cam’s overnight average of 14kts, the gap reducing by some 25 miles to 274 this morning.
                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                        • #27
                          Boy, does Alex ever get a break?


                          • #28
                            Fortunes Might Vary

                            British Vendée Globe skipper Alex Thomson has today been forced to slow his HUGO BOSS to a crawl as he attempts to make a technical repair to a longitudinal beam in the bow of his IMOCA 60.

                            Thomson alerted his team to the problem around 1900hrs TU Saturday evening after a routine inspection raised immediate concerns as he raced south-eastwards towards the Southern Ocean part of the leading trio of boats racing south-eastwards some 850 nautical miles east of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

                            With the imminent requirement to plunge south for more than one month in the inhospitable waters between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, the 46 year old British skipper will want to have complete faith in the repairs and in his IMOCA. But a statement issued by his Alex Thomson Racing Team this morning confirms he has the materials and the methods to effect the necessary repairs and aims to be back on course as quickly as possible.


                            “Alex has now put the boat into a safe position to manage the sea state in order to reduce movement onboard while he carries out the repair. He has all the necessary materials onboard, a detailed plan to follow, and a team of world class engineers advising him. We are therefore confident in his ability to complete the repair. Our objective is to carry out the necessary repair swiftly and effectively, in order to minimise the miles lost and resume racing again.” Said Alex Thomson’s Racing’s Technical Director Ross Daniel.

                            Having been in second place in the 33 boat fleet during Saturday, averaging 16kts at times and some 25 nautical miles behind leader Thomas Ruyant , Thomson’s pause had already cost him 150 miles on Ruyant and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who passed into second 23 miles to windward of the British skipper around midnight last night.

                            “Supposing it takes Alex 24 hours to effect a repair and get going again he would rejoin the chasing group with Arkéa Paprec, Initiatives Couer and PRB, he would lose quite a bit as that would put him 1000 miles behind at Cape of Good Hope. But I have been looking at the history of the race as well and remember that last time on the last race he rounded Cape Horn 800 miles behind Armel Le Cléac’h and so I would not call this ‘game over’.’ Suggested Yoann Richomme, winner of the last Route du Rhum in Class40 and double winner of La Solitaire du Figaro when he was today’s guest on the Vendée Globe LIVE English programme.

                            Talking about the latest generation of fast foilers Richomme, renowned as a meticulous technician, explained, “These new boats are really tough to sail, they are really hard to engineer and are slamming into the waves with a lot of power, which is most likely happened to Alex. What is hard is that we know that they took their feet off the gas a little in the south on the last race to preserve the boats last time, and I think they will be doing that again. From the scenario we are seeing they need to preserve the boats. When these boats start taking off, they were slamming the hulls a little bit further back but now these boats are fully foiling, flying a lot of the time, it is now the bows which are hitting the waves in front, from 2-3m high at times and the impact on the bows is huge and we know a lot of the boats in France had reinforcements in the bow. We saw Corum in September have a two week repair in their bow. They are discovering new problems and we are hoping they have covered off most of them.”

                            At two weeks since the race started off Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 8th Novmember there are many repairs, small and not so small, critical and almost incidental, that skipper need to make. Contemplating the descent into the Southern Ocean race leader Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) had to climb the 28m mast of his IMOCA after his spare halyard broke. The two leading IMOCAs, LinkedOut and Apivia are side by side 10 miles apart setting out on a gybing match up as they drop south-eastwards towards an area of unstable air, described by Dalin as ‘mousehole’ through which they must pass to get to the Southern Ocean and a fast ride east towards the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope.

                            Now the Vendée Globe fleet stretches for more than 3000 miles, Jérémie Beyou in 32nd, has lengthened his stride in the south of the Canaries. Listening to the skippers on the daily calls or reading the messages sent from on board, whatever the age of the boat or its position on the Atlantic chessboard, every day brings its share of problems. Yesterday it was a weather vane for ninth placed Sébastien Simon, today a composite repair on a part of the foil well for Armel Tripon on L’Occitaine and that week long repair to the mainsail of the Japanese Kojiro Shiraishi. Big or small the problems prevail through the fleet.

                            Armel Tripon, the self styled philosopher skipper of L’Occitane en Provence, reflects, “The boats want to go fast, the chase their predicted speeds and they are built for that and the teams and the architects are pushing all the time to go fast. Now it's up to each of us to sail with our soul and our own peace of mind. ".

                            They said:
                            Kevin Escoffier, PRB “We all lost a bit of sleep on the first week of the race. Now I am sleeping well and looking after myself. Doing a few little odd jobs and checking the boat over. I will try and make the most of the calm conditions we are about to have to do another full boat check.
                            I tend to look ahead and try to not push my boat too hard. PRB is a boat from 2009 to which we have added foils, so you have to be careful and keep an eye on the structure. It is for this reason that I chose to round the tropical storm and not go too far in to shore. I will continue to sail in this way. I will still take my chances and keep looking ahead and work to keep the ones behind me, behind. I know that Thomas (Ruyant) has had halyard issues and I know from the experience on the Volvo and then on the TJV once, that going up the mast and fixing things is always very complicated to do. With regards to Alex, I really hope that he can repair, he is doing a great race and it would be a shame if it had to end so soon for him. He is in the right place to be able to repair. It is sometimes better to have the mainsail up when you go up the mast because it stabilises the boat and it also gives you an anchoring point. It is a bit less like being a cork floating on the sea, however climbs are always stressful and you need to find the best possible moment and mentally prepare for climbs.”

                            Armel Tripon, L'Occitane en Provence: ""I'm approaching the Doldrums and will be entering them soon. It's still windy, I'm still making progress and it won't be long before the wind backs a bit. There are not too many clouds. It should be better than we expected three days ago. There has to be some sailing without having problems!

                            I have just heard about Alex Thomson's structural problem. This is a mechanical sport so there are bound to be problems, these boats are still new and we haven't sailed with them for a long periods at high speeds. We will discover things as we go along. We are all taking care and not pushing our boats like we could be. There are a lot of situations where we don't know how the boat will react in the long run and it's true that with the foils, it brings new load constraints and we can’t control everything. It's a new way of sailing. The boat just needs to accelerate and the teams and architects are pushing to go fast. Now it is up to each sailor to sail with his or her peace of mind. I have a lot of small issues to deal with, problems appear before I can detect them. I go around and check regularly, after the boat has been subjected to stress. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time making composite on a piece of the foil well that had torn off, so it had to be sanded, ground, glued, it was a day spent in the workshop! But overall the boat is very well prepared, my technical team did an exceptional job. We're going to eat up the miles, with hours of sailing and it is only natural that things will crop up. I can't wait to get to the southern hemisphere. We are figuratively changing worlds, we're going to pass to the South, and focus on how to get round the Saint Helena high. It is the first


                            It’s a morning of mixed emotions for Isabelle Joschke, who admits enjoying the surfing on her foils and not slamming into the waves, however she is unsettled by the damage sustained to her pushpit that has left her feeling a little unsafe on board.

                            "I have recovered from last night's drama and have had a good rest last night, the sailing conditions are very sedate so it helps to put things into perspective and to feel good at sea. It's pretty cool this morning: the conditions are good for my foils. Crosswind, medium and a flat sea: for the past 24 hours, the boat has been making very little noise.It shakes a lot an it is impossible to write, or tap away. This pace is going to continue, which is no bad thing: it means I make headway. I'm not at the optimum of my speed potential, but it's going fast enough and it allows me to recharge the batteries.

                            There is a list of technical issues to work on, which I can't deal with while boat is advancing on a port tack, because the area to work on is under the area being sprayed by the water. It will either have to calm down or slow down for me to do the repairs. I'm mainly talking about my pushpit, which needs to be be fixed and the gennaker block that needs be put back in place properly and safely. I also have a lot of other little annoying breakages.

                            Repairing the pushpit, technically speaking, is a big job. The deck stanchions are torn off, the hooks are in the bottom and the aim is to rebuild the railing and fasten it well to the deck. I speak with the shore team a lot looking to find simple and sturdy solutions. The guys know the areas they have reinforced and if I were to try and decide on my own, I would make possible risky choices.

                            The pushpit is needed for safety and it has been a hard blow to the sense of morale. I have had a series of issues and damage since the start of the race. I had to stop the boat several times, which is very hard for a competitor. But the pushpit is also what you attach to the boat with. It’s not the same without it and I need to feel safe before heading into the Southern Ocean. Right now, as I go to the stern, I clip on, which would not usually be needed.

                            Are there any positive things? Plenty, but I'm right now I am frustrated, annoyed and I do not feel like saying everything is fine when it is not. On the competitive side of things, I am disappointed and I do not want to hide how I feel.”
                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                            • #29
                              Damage Report From The Boss

                              In this video just landed Alex Thomson takes us into the front of HUGO BOSS and shows the extent of the damage to the internal longitudinal framing which he is currently repairing.
                              He says he has the materials and a detailed plan and is confident he will be able to continue!
                              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                              • #30
                                Apiva Assumes The Lead While The Boss Gets Repairs


                                Thomson explains repairs and is moving in course direction this evening
                                Beyou talks of his new race
                                Dalin, Ruyant in step on slalom south

                                On a sequence of gybes stepping downwind underneath the Saint Helena high pressure system in the South Atlantic Charlie Dalin (Apivia) became the new leader of the Vendée Globe this morning. He outmanoeuvred his close rival Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and went on to build a 20 mile lead as they slalom towards an area of lighter and variable winds which bar the breakaway duo’s passage to the roaring forties which are still some 600 nautical miles to their south.

                                Charlie Dalin topped the standings on one position report earlier in the race, but he is one of ten different leaders since the solo non-stop race round the world started on Sunday 8th November.
                                As the duo lead at the latitude of Itajai, Brazil they have more than 250 miles in hand over third placed Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam), although the wily, persistent veteran Le Cam is more than holding his own.

                                Dalin and Ruyant, who both originate from the north, from the Channel coast of France, may yet see two areas of high pressure join together to make the course south extremely tricky. As the top group try to find the best routing through a complex weather pattern, at 16-18kts boatspeed this afternoon, British skipper Alex Thomson remains purposely slowed in light winds, more than 350 miles north west of the leaders. He is 48 hours into dealing with a complicated series of repairs to the main central longitudinal support beam towards the bow of his HUGO BOSS.

                                Alex shows his repair skills

                                Alex feels better about his situation

                                The British racer sent a detailed video of the damage today, emphasising, “The problem is fairly significant The central longitudinal is broken in several places. The good news is we carry so much materials to fix this kind of thing, c plates, solid panels, and even girders, we have plenty of material to fix it and the other bit of good news is I am not in the Southern Ocean. I am in the middle of the Saint Helena High and so have good conditions to be able to do the job and the other good news is I feel super positive and happy to crack on to get this job done and get back in the race as soon as possible. So don’t feel sad. It could take another day or so to do the repair and the engineers and designers are absolutely confident the boat will be as strong if not stronger than before.”

                                From his position 120 miles off the African coast, Jérémie Beyou offered his British counterpart his support today. The French sailor should have been Thomson’s main rival on this race but while Thomson repairs, Beyou is chasing the fleet still 600 miles behind back marker Kojiro Shiraishi and 3000 miles behind Dalin. Their Vendée Globes are now massively different to what they hoped for.

                                Damage to his Charal means Beyou had to return to Les Sables d’Olonne and restart nine days after the original departure. So just as Thomson acknowledged yesterday repairing can be part and parcel of the Vendée Globe, so Beyou’s race to catch up has become a different Vendée Globe too, one of self discovery and a test of motivation.

                                “In terms of morale I have ups and downs” said Beyou this morning, “ Right now, I'm sad for Alex, because it's a pain in the ass for him, it's a pain to see him slow down. He's got a big repair to do, it's really not cool. I've been thinking about him all day. I support him, I hope he will fix it and get back in the fight soon. But when I see that I am 3000 miles behind the lead, that I am in the North Atlantic while they are at the bottom of the South Atlantic, it is not easy to live with. I take advantage of the fact that the boat is going well, and I'm making progress hour by hour.”

                                Thomson’s German friend and rival Boris Herrmann (Sea-explorer-Yacht Clube of Monaco) had looked set to be next in line to benefit from the HUGO BOSS sailor’s problem but Alex Thomson was moving in course direction on the 1700hrs UTC ranking this evening and making the same speed while sailing 37 miles to Herrmann's leeward and similar speeds to fourth placed Kevin Escoffier who is 55 miles ahead on PRB.

                                Britain’s Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) is in tenth and pressing hard to stay with the newer, theoretically faster ARKEA PAPREC of Sébastien Simon. At the back of the second group of six boats, Davies might take an option to dive south early and potentially sail more miles but avoid the messy roadblock of light winds which are forecast to develop.

                                Her British compatriot Pip Hare, who is on her first Vendée Globe, brought Medallia across the Equator into the South Atlantic this afternoon after a challenging Doldrums passage. She is in 20th place in the 31 boat fleet, 11 miles up on Catalan rival Didac Costa – a former rival from Mini 650 days. The duo will be profiting from each other’s competitiveness, not least as the full time fireman from Barcelona had very sporadic contact with other skippers on his 2016-17 race because he had to restart four days late due to a ballast tank leak which flooded his alternator.

                                They said:
                                Maxim Sorel (V and B Mayenne): “I am on one long port tack sailing at 80 to 90 degrees from the wind with a steady breeze. We have been at this for a while, but approaching the St. Helena high, and so I need to check the weather files and see how I am going to get through. A few days ago I had 33 degrees in the doldrums and dealing with sudden squalls.
                                was told I would have the answers at the end of the Vendee Globe as to what I had come to find on it, so there is still a bit of time. I loved the first week of the race being close to everyone, all the manoeuvres and then we hit the trades and sped up which was great. Now things are different, they are a bit calmer. You must not forget it is an endurance race, a marathon. I am experiencing new things, feeling things for the first time. I have never spent more than 24 days at sea at any one time and so it is all new.This is a complete life change from having been an engineer!
                                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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