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  • #46
    If they were looking to push things to the limit, they may have exceeded it a bit!

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    • #47
      Sam Davies Latest UFO Victim



      Bad news: Initiatives-Heart hit an unidentified floating object (OFNI). Thankfully Sam isn't hurt.

      She is heading north at low speed and inspects her boat to assess the damage with her team. She will keep us posted asap.


      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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      • #48
        Update From Sam

        UPDATE:

        Having struck something in the water last night Sam Davies this morning is heading out of the worst of the weather and the sea state to further assess the damage to Initiatives Coeur. She spoke to Vendee Globe HQ this morning.

        Sam Davies this morning on the audio call, “I was sailing last night I had gybed in the shift in the front, there was 30-35kts of wind for the gybe and that had gone well, and I was happy with where I was. I was sailing on starboard gybe heading east, and obviously the sea state was quite chaotic which it has been for the last two days. And obviously I know I was in these currents and I know these risks are there but I was sailing really nicely, as well as possible given the sea state. So speeds between 15 and 22kts and I was actually just making a hot meal after the gybe and the stack and everything and it was just starting to get dark.



        I hit something. I did not see anything. I did not know what it was. It was pretty much dark when it happened. But it was as if I had run aground on a rock at the time. The boatspeed went from 20kts to zero. The boat nosedived on the impact with the keel. I knew it was the keel. I heard a crack coming from there. I and everything else flew forwards, including my dinner which has repainted the entire inside of my boat. Everything moved. I went flying into a ring frame, luckily, because that could have been worse. It was really violent. But luckily I have just hurt some ribs. It is not serious but really painful. But I stopped the boat, dropped the main, and went to check around the keel, the bearings and the bulkhead. The bulkhead, the main bearing bulkheads (which support the keelbox) are intact as far as I can see. The keelbearings are intact.

        The longitudinal structure around the keelbox is all cracked. That has taken the shock of the impact of when the boat moved, that is cracked on both sides. The keel ram, because the keel ram goes through the sidewall of the keelbox, that had all moved and there is a watertight seal on the ram and that was knocked off. There was some water coming in but I have a really good immersion pump which I got going really quickly and permanently to keep the water down. For me the most important thing is to stabilise the boat. It is still is really bad, 30kts of wind, so I have the boat on a course which will minimise all the strains and effort on the keel and the bulkheads. And then I ran a whole lot of checks with my team who mobilised really quickly, the architects and the structural engineers just to check I was not in immediate danger. We did that really and the news was reassuring, they were really confident that I am not in danger unless I sail fast, so there is no bad noise and the keel is still in its bearings and not moving at all. I cannot sail at any speed, so I am heading slowly towards Cape Town because that is the nearest shelter and we are continuing to assess the damage and what to do with my shore team who are being amazing.”

        Sam Davies / Initiatives-Cœur
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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        • #49
          My guess is only 15 boats complete the race unscathed and Cam wins on redress!

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          • #50
            The Cape Of Sorrows




            Each edition of the Vendée Globe, Cape Town, South Africa provides final safe haven for stricken solo racers to retire to, restore their mental equilibrium, to reflect on what should have been and to enjoy the safety and security of terra firma after nursing an injured IMOCA to port.

            After nearly seven days and 1800 miles since he announced his hopes of winning the 2020 Vendée Globe had been terminated by a broken starboard rudder, Alex Thomson arrived in Cape Town this morning. He will be joined over the weekend by young Vendéen skipper Sébastien Simon who also announced he has had to give up the race because of damage to his starboard foil casing and his foil on the Juan K designed ARKEA PAPREC.

            Of the 33 IMOCAs which started the race, four have now officially abandoned, CORUM L’Épargne, PRB, HUGO BOSS and ARKEA PAPREC.

            Thomson said, “I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened, and I’m obviously utterly devastated that this is how the race has ended for us.”

            “But, as I’ve said before, it’s in our toughest moments that we find our greatest strength. Now we have to pick ourselves up and move forwards, and I’ve no doubt that we can do that together as a team. Over the past week or so we’ve been reminded of just how difficult this race is. I’ve said it time and time again but there really is no sporting challenge in the world as tough as the Vendée Globe. I have such admiration for any skipper who takes on this race. My thoughts go out to those who, like us, have had their races cut short. And I wish the remaining skippers a safe passage and a good race. I’ll be watching closely.”



            CHART



            The British skipper has been forced into Cape Town in early December before. His first Vendée Globe ended with his retiral on 7th December 2004 after an area of his coachroof around the mast gave way due to a structural problem. And in 2006 he and Mike Golding arrived in Cape Town on December 3rd 2006 after Golding had dramatically rescued Thomson from his IMOCA in the Southern Ocean after he had to abandon it because his keel had failed. Golding’s mast broke not long after the rescue and the pair had to sail 1000 miles north under jury rig.





            Alex Thomson arrived in Cape Town, South Africa this morning and officially notified Race Direction of his abandon from the Vendee Globe. He took nearly one week for him to sail HUGO BOSS the 1800 miles to the South African haven. Thomson suffered irreparable rudder damage which left him with no alternative but to retire.

            On his arrival at the dock Thomson said: “I’m certainly relieved to be back on dry land but I have very mixed emotions today. I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened, and I’m obviously utterly devastated that this is how the race has ended for us. But, as I’ve said before, it’s in our toughest moments that we find our greatest strength. Now we have to pick ourselves up and move forwards, and I’ve no doubt that we can do that together as a team”.

            “Over the past week or so we’ve been reminded of just how difficult this race is. I’ve said it time and time again but there really is no sporting challenge in the world as tough as the Vendée Globe. I have such admiration for any skipper who takes on this race. My thoughts go out to those who, like us, have had their races cut short. And I wish the remaining skippers a safe passage and a good race. I’ll be watching closely.

            “My arrival here in Cape Town marks our retirement from the race. To everyone who has sent messages – a huge thank you. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received. It means so much to us, it really does.

            “Right now, I’m looking forward to a shower, some sleep and getting home to my wife and my beautiful children”.

            [IMG]://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/93367680689280976634.jpg[/IMG]

            Britain’s Sam Davies is making steady progress north under reduced sail nursing her damaged Initiatives Coeur back to sheltered waters and this afternoon was about 80 miles south of Cape Town. After the best sleep since she hit a floating object which has damaged the structure round her keel, Davies admitted that the emotions were suddenly released as she was accompanied on her route by an albatross, “The sun came out too which helps to ease the aches and pains - I went and sat outside in the warm sun. And then suddenly found myself in floods of tears - and this is a bit weird for me who never cries to deal with all these emotions. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying - whether it was sadness for my boat and for my place in this race, or relief that my boat and I are safe? Or a mix of all these emotions? I’ve always felt that it’s stupid to cry when you are alone on your boat - nobody’s going to help you or hug you or reassure you so it’s pretty much a waste of time and energy. But at that particular moment I had no control over these emotions. I leant on the coach roof and looked out and there, right there, really close, unusually close, was the most beautiful albatross I have seen, gliding past silently and slowly. He was so close. Normally the albatrosses keep their distance but this was different, as if he could feel my emotion and wanted to help. He stayed close and gave me a wonderful display of effortless flight that was a welcome distraction. They say that albatrosses have the souls of sailors of the past and I can well believe that. I feel like I am being escorted to safety by these amazing creatures and I am grateful for their concern!”




            Meantime yesterday night Romain Attanasio (Pure-Best Western), Davies’ partner was nervously crossing the exact same zone where she had her collision two days ago and where four years ago he hit something which damaged his rudder, requiring him to repair at anchor off Port Elizabeth.

            “I am fully in the zone where Sam and Seb hit their OFNIs and it is exactly the same area as I did four years ago, the same spot same latitude, same longitude it is in the Agulhas current, there are all sorts of things in the water, objects, it is a zone which is a bit critical. I am reaching in quite a big sea and so I am on high alert. I have my eyes on OSCAR as much as possible, this camera system that surveys the route. You can’t see much in the water on the surface. So it is not easy all this.” Said Attanasio







            Conditions are still demanding for the fleet leaders who will shortly be able to angle more to the south east after passing the corner of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. Led by Charlie Dalin (Apivia) with Louis Burton now just 140 miles behind on Bureau Vallée, they are still all struggling to set a good average speed in the typically big seas and gusty winds. A second, deeper low pressure is set to combine next week to provide very testing conditions which it is most likely the leaders will change their route to avoid.

            The top ten now contains a fascinating mix of solo racers, six of them racing in the ‘big south’ for the first time, Charlie Dalin, Yannick Bestaven, Damien Seguin, Benjamin Dutreux. Isabelle Joschke and Giancarlo Pedote and still three non foiling boats, those of Seguin, Dutreux and Jean Le Cam.

            Louis Burton’s attacking force seems relentless, his wife Servane noting today on the Vendée Live English programme, “Louis never stops surprising me, but he has a mind of steel. When he went south he asked me, will you still love me if I screw up?"
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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            • #51
              Sunsets Before The Storm

              Maliza's Boris Herrmann send some video and stills before engaging in a big low pressure working its way across the Southern Ocean














              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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              • #52
                In Case You Missed It: December 7th Updates


                TRACKER


                A front and two men on the run! Charlie Dalin and Thomas Rettant are engaged in a chase with a front stretching 1000 miles north of the Kerguelen. The objective: to stay ahead of this phenomenon, to try to dodge by the north the bulk of the low pressure which is forming on their route and then to catch the moderate flow of the anticyclone near Cape Leeuwin. In an ideal world, if the two accomplices succeeded in executing this complex escape plan, they could take a decisive break on their pursuers.

                There is only one solution to achieve this: go fast, very fast. Because this disturbance, which will transform in 24 hours into a virulent secondary depression, is progressing towards them at a speed of 25 knots. So you have to keep pace with this pace. This is what the skippers of Apivia and LinkedOut are working on , who have maintained high averages since last night: 20 knots, in other words surfing at 28/30 knots. A hellish train facilitated by a wiser sea and aligned in the direction of the North-West wind.
                On the tack, Thomas Rettant can rely on his integral foil and make the powder speak. " It's rather a good dayCharlie Dalin, the fastest man of the day, commented with relative ease. We are close to the distance record in 24 hours (536 miles) held by Alex Thomson ...




                Behind, however, it's a whole different story ...

                " It's nonsense! "

                The nine boats sailing in Charlie and Thomas' wake were overtaken by the front (50 knots in the gusts!). At the rear, the state of the sea - deplorable - and the strong flow from the South-West make any compromise liveable.

                “ We have 45 knots and horizontal rain, ” said Damien Seguin ( Groupe APICIL , 4th) in a video sent from the edge before slowing down sharply, probably to resolve technical issues. " I have never seen a sea like this, it is rough, it is very hard to move forward, it hits the boat, the boat overspeeds on surf at 29 knots but if you are too slow, the waves will catch up and explode on the transom, it's nonsense ”confirms Maxime Sorel ( V and B-Mayenne , 11th) reached this morning on the phone.

                " I choose a northern route to escape the hazardous weather conditions and have more practicable seas ," Jean Le Cam confided in turn ( Yes We Cam ! , 6th). Conditions have been tough for several days. There is no respite. It's hard for the men and for the gear ”.

                This fight between man and nature is a battle lost in advance which requires, like the reed, to bend in order not to break. And to forget the regatta to refocus on yourself, on your boat.

                It has been almost a week since the leading peloton entered the Indian Ocean. Almost a week he endures his mood swings and rough seas. However, they have come only part of the way in these hostile seas. “ The great South is an endurance race that slowly wears you out ” sums up sailor Sébastien Josse, who knows these regions well.

                The hoped-

                for course For the rest of the troops, this great South is nevertheless desired. After a good day spent in peace, Alan Roura ( La Fabrique ), Armel Tripon ( L'Occitane en Provence ), Stéphane le Diraison ( Time for Oceans ) and Arnaud Boissières ( La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle ), experienced the passage of the Cape of Good Hope yesterday (Sunday) as a liberation, a joy. This group is monitoring very closely the formation of a low pressure in southern South Africa that could lock them up, upwind (sic!), Along the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (ZEA).

                This afternoon, Manuel Cousin ( Groupe Sétin ) was about to double the longitude of Cape Good Hope. Next on the list: Didac Costa ( One planet-One ocean ) and Pip Hare ( Medallia ).

                For the eight laggards, the approach to South Africa is still laborious and only Jérémie Beyou ( Charal ) posted a speed above 15 knots on Monday. When the leaders have crossed Cape Leeuwin, the last will just enter the Indian Ocean ...



                Vendée Globe editorial staff / Camille El Beze


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




                Escoffier Evacuated
                Burnt Out Burton Back On It In 2nd
                Conservative Dalin Plays Prudent Long Game
                After being rescued from his liferaft six days ago by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam, PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier was plucked from the Indian Ocean by the French Marine National after jumping clear of his rescuer’s IMOCA 60 in a carefully choreographed manoeuvre early this Sunday morning some 360 nautical miles north of the remote Crozet Islands. Escoffier was quickly taken from a semi rigid inflatable to board the 93.5 metre long (306ft) 2600 tonne Floréal-class frigate which has a complement of 84 crew.





                The mission was accomplished swiftly and without setback around daybreak at 0210hrs this morning (Crozet is +4hrs UTC) Le Cam wished his passenger Escoffier well and continued on his race, lying in sixth position at 396 miles behind leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and 15 miles behind fifth placed Ben Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family).

                For his time and miles lost while out of full race mode, Le Cam will be granted a time compensation by the International Jury, as also will Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq) who went to help in the search for Escoffier after his IMOCA suddenly split virtually into two when it buried its nose in a big wave.




                Meantime Le Cam’s request for additional food to replace that required to feed shipwrecked Escoffier was granted and the 61 year old Le Cam who enjoys fine food took a bag containing dry crisprolls, salted butter and fine Henaff Breton pate. Escoffier will be taken back to Reunion Island where the Nivôse is stationed and is due to arrive there next Friday.

                Le Cam chuckled, “I’m alone again. After two of us being aboard, alone again. Clack-clack-clack. There they go !"



                “Kevin is in great shape, he is going to enjoy a hot shower," said Frédéric Barbe, captain of the Nivôse. “And so a great start to a beautiful day!"

                At the top of the 29-boat fleet Charlie Dalin, Thomas Ruyant and Louis Burton all gybed on to the new north-westerly breeze which heralded the arrival of the new, active low pressure system. Burton had dropped a few miles to Ruyant and Dalin because of autopilot and other unspecified issues but he said today that the seas have evened out after a week of crossed, agitated waves. His autopilot issues had required him to helm his Bureau Vallée for long periods before finally effecting a fix in collaboration with his technical team.

                Burton Burnt Out? Not really…..
                “I'm pretty burnt out and I admit that I came close to having to abandon," reported Burton this morning, now recovered to be back up to second, 13 miles ahead of Thomas Ruyant.
                “Now the strategy is to try and stay ahead of the front. We are on it early. I have lost a bit of ground so I am not sure where I am but the idea is to go fast and as far as possible on this port gybe and either I manage to stay ahead of this front, which is going to be very strong and which would be good, or it go over us in about two days and then it will be a starboard gybe to just carry on the course. I have not seen the files from midnight, but those are 1800hrs show a transition that did not look great around the Kerguelen Islands. It could be pretty amazing if we can do it all on one tack ahead of the front, but there are going to be quite lot of manoeuvres. What I have to absolutely do is tidy the boat before I get some sleep. Having a mess just leads to more problems, accidents. I am then going to just go as fast as possible. I tell myself that the others must also have issues to deal with and you just have to hang in there.”

                Options
                Their dilemma, indeed that of all the lead group is a front which arrives next Tuesday, dark red spot on the weather maps yielding 45-50 knots and 7.5 meters wave troughs. Tomorrow they will have to make a choice.

                "Either they go through the front and find themselves in the heart of the storm, or they slow down and the front will go faster than them", explains Sébastien Josse, Vendée Globe meteo consultant.

                Leader Charlie Dalin seems to be taking the more conservative option, as might be expected of a skipper with a 200 mile lead and a boat believed to be still close to 100 per cent of its potential as the fastest, newest most proven foiling boat which has already won last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre. He appeared to already have slowed down today Sunday.




                Of this leading group of 11 skippers, all are wondering what to do. "I planned to do tack around a bit," said Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA - Water Family), still impressive and keeping up with the race pace.

                Some 450 miles further back to the west, smiles are back on the faces of Romain Attanasio and Clarisse Crémer. The 12th and 13th placed skippers – 16 miles apart - are finally finding stronger winds after light airs slowed them (over 15 knots since this morning) and they have had fun chatting on WhatsApp.

                Attanasio skipper of PURE-Best Western Hotels & Resorts remarked: “I have really picked up speed. The boat is hitting the waves, there's a hell of a racket and what is good now is that this going to last for five days. When you miss a system and a bit surfing session during a transatlantic race you blame yourself but here on the Vendée Globe you're actually happy as it gives you a bit of a break! "

                Respite isn't really on the menu some 600 miles further west. Alan Roura (La Fabrique), Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans), Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle) cross Cape of Good Hope today in succession after a spell of very light winds. They are seeing a very tough depression descending on them from South Africa from late today. "They will be stuck in front of the AEZ and have to go upwind as long as it does move further south," notes Vendée Globe meteorologist Christian Dumard. "It is not looking like fun at all it really will not be really easy to manage," confirmed Alan Roura, guest of Vendée Live this afternoon.

                And Britain’s Pip Hare in 20th, 74 miles behind Catalonian Didac Costa, reported today:

                “Medallia is running again, I am gripping onto the sides of my seat with my elbows while I type, trying to stay in it long enough to get this writing done, there is the familiar hum coming from my rudders, the sea is roaring as it whips past my hull and once again we making miles to the East. It feels good to be moving. The temperature has really dropped in the last 48 hours. I am now wearing a hat and gloves all of the time and have two layers on under my foulies. One of the significant blows from losing a hydrogenator is the fact that all of my diesel now must be reserved for power generation. I have a diesel heater on board which I had planned to use sparingly, but as my southern ocean comfort, when things got really bad and I needed a morale boost. No more dreaming of blown hot air for me, it is only going to get colder and I need to manage this with my clothing alone. I'm thankful at least that I did not skimp when it came to warm kit. I invested in merino wool underwear and thermals, I have multiple mid layers of varying types and the absolute rock bottom position is a full on wooly bear onesy, which though bulky fits under my dry suit and I have been warned will just make me too hot to sail. I think there will be days when I look forward to putting that theory to the test.”

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


                In second place Thomas Ruyant was joined on the morning call at around 0400hrs TU.
                "We are at the front of the front and so the conditions are quite invigorating but unlitmately not bad. We have around 20 knots, over 25 knots for me at the moment. It's for sure better than the last three or four days. It’s not rough weather, the sea is flatter unlike a what we have for days before. So we are going with this front. These are quite “sporty” sailing and you have to be able to live at these speeds.

                It has been several days since the low has been building along this front, strengthening with a shift in the wind for us. I try to find the safest route possible, to adapt my speed to where I want to go. I will try to avoid the big swell near the centre. It’s not easy to find the best route but conditions will improve by tomorrow. We all have a bit of the same idea: to go north in relation to the centre of the system. The sea will be fairly rough, we will try to go to the best possible place to preserve the boat and the sailor.

                Me, it's not bad. I didn't have a big problem. I try to maintain my boat to keep it in good condition. We’re heading east very quickly and I’m trying to adjust to that: at midnight UT it’s daylight and you have to adapt your sleep accordingly. I do everything to protect myself. The satisfaction and enjoyment is found in the challenge and in the competition that we are in. It's exhilarating to go at these speeds, to lead such exceptional boats and to try to find the right course. Here for the moment I have got it right, even though we know that the Vendée Globe is a long race that is not easy. "

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

                Up with the Vendée Globe leaders where they are racing in front of the low pressure front, finally in better, smoother seas, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) has been averaging 18-21kts with his lead around 200 miles over Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) while Louis Burton in third (Bureau Vallée 2) has been slowed again early this morning.

                “Things are pretty sporty this morning, you have to be able to live at these speeds.” Said Thomas Ruyant this morning.

                But while they are making hay right now in the favourable conditions as the depression they are riding evolves, they will head on a more northerly angle to be moving away from the centre of the depression where the biggest seas are and strongest winds, over 40kts.

                Ruyant explains, “It has been several days since the low has been building along this front, strengthening with a shift in the wind for us. I try to find the safest route possible, to adapt my speed to where I want to go. I will try to avoid the big waves and strong winds near the centre. It’s not easy to find the best route but conditions will improve by tomorrow. We all have a bit of the same idea: to go north in relation to the centre of the system. The sea will be fairly rough, we will try to go to the best possible place to preserve the boat and myself.”

                And while the leading duo were making solid, fast miles east Bureau Vallée 2 has had 30 knots of wind in the early hours, as did Maître CoQ IV (Yannick Bestaven) in fifth.

                Behind the leading group of 11 skippers, Romain Attanasio (PURE-Best Westernâ Hotels & Resort) - Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) have been finally had more favourable conditions since yesterday with 15 to 20 knots of wind (this which allowed them to cover almost 390 miles during the last 24 hours).

                For the four musketeers who crossed the Cape of Good Hope yesterday: Alan Roura (La Fabrique), Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence), Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle ) there is not enough wind and they have often struggled to make more than ten knots. "Having so many problems with a high pressure is unbelievable," sighed Stéphane Le Diraison on the radio session. Le Diraison has taken the opportunity to make some repairs (in particular to solve his mainsail halyard lock (hook) problem), recharge his batteries and monitor a depression coming south from Port-Elizabeth . "I don't like it at all: the forecasts are for more than 50 knots this gusts with waves of more than 6 meters".

                They will have to make their choice, to each their own, especially as the room for maneuver along the "AEZ" is limited. On his second Vendée Globe with his boat Le Diraison draws up three scenarios: "either we slow down to let the low pass, or we go north, or we go into it if the wind appears manageable". The skipper of Time for Oceans has already positioned himself a little further north than Alan Roura and Armel Tripon. "These are really very delicate decisions. The competitor in you tells you not to let go, but the seaman in you says do whatever makes sense not to break the boat ... It's a hell of a duel in my head!" Said Tripon.





                Meanwhile, over 900 miles away in the South Atlantic, the third group is hanging in there. The speeds are disparate, like Fabrice Amedeo this morning (17 knots, Newrest - Art & Fenêtres), Alexia Barrier (8 knots, TSE - 4myplanet) or even Jérémie Beyou (15 knots).

                For the skipper of Charal, it is also a question of choice. He has just made one hard choice to go further south despite it being an even longer route. And he is living out every moment of his choice he made, to restart from Les Sables-d´Olonne nine days later, accepting that he would be far, far from the leading battle and now, still being stuck in the South Atlantic.

                "I'm not hiding it, it wasn't easy to start with. At first I couldn't eat, it was hard, but day after day I try not to worry too much, to concentrate on the speed and performance of the boat. When I left, the weather window which seemed favourable suddenly changed, blocking things in front of me, the route became complicated. Here it's better, I get closer to those in front which it is good for morale."
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                • #53
                  Day 30 Brings A Plethora Of Emotions




                  30 days of racing.....Dalin Into Dante-esque night but has biggest lead yet....Three IMOCA generations head to head in the peloton

                  For the leaders of the Vendée Globe, the very difficult conditions in an Indian Ocean depression, are the most challenging of the race so far. Fatigue accumulated over one month of racing is less noticeable when motorway conditions roll out in front of a skipper and his or her IMOCA yacht, but right now in winds of 35-55kts and big seas, the combination of tiredness and continuous stress makes small technical jobs hard, and big jobs seem impossible.

                  A period of fast sailing yesterday and into last night, averaging close to or just over 20kts, has seen Charlie Dalin extend his lead out to 250 nautical miles – his biggest margin yet as he has now led for nearly half of the race’s duration so far.




                  While the Apivia skipper was ripping out some fast miles at the leading edge of the front, nearly all of his rivals who are chasing in his wake, either had technical problems or slowed to reposition themselves relative to this particularly malicious looking 800 mile wide system which has over 60kts or wind and eight metre waves near its centre.

                  Technical problems have meant living near the front of the peloton has meant to survive a war of attrition. Autopilot problems have beset Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) and both have slowed periodically and lost places because of this. Seguin has suffered since Sunday night and dropped from third to seventh. Burton has gone from second to fourth.

                  But Seguin and his team confirmed the solo racer has his problems solved:

                  “I am confident because we tested a lot of things to identify where the failure came from. Now we have to know if it is a soldi fix. Yesterday was a very complicated day for me. I was so fatigued, I was feeling low, and I was in a bit of a shambles. But I managed to rest a little, things are going much better, the conditions for sailing are a little better. Even if I am not moving very quickly because I am in backed off a bit, at least I am going in the right direction and I'm still in the game. In these situations I have complete confidence in my shore team to find solutions, to help me implement them in the boat. It’s never easy because you’re in a competition and you always have the feeling that every mile lost is a real tragedy. In fact, we must put it into perspective, this is such a logn course. We have to keep going and get back into racing mode as soon as I can. Mechanical problems are an integral part of ocean racing, it is a mechanical sport. I remember the transatlantic races, especially the Route du Rhum with a lot of energy worries where I had really struggled. I am used to fixing things on boats. I know I can go a little bit in the red when it comes to problem solving. Yesterday was a bit extreme, I was really tired but luckily I have people on the team to help me keep my spirits up and to push me to see things in a positive way because it is not easy all the time! "

                  Meantime it is Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ) who has done well and is up to third. “I feel like I have lived several different slices of life in a vey short time.” Said Bestaven who is on his second Vendée Globe but never made it into Day 5 on his first one in 2008. “So much has happened in such a short space of time, you would just never imagine it.”

                  “Sometimes I wonder what the hell I am doing out here, absolutely in the middle of nowhere on this very rough sea.” Reflected Benjamin Dutreux, the 30 year old Vendée Globe first timer from the Ile de Yeu by Les Sables d’Olonne. And Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), asked about her feeling after one month of racing, replied, “I feel like a very small thing, very fragile.”




                  Behind 2016’s record pace
                  Although the one month elapsed represents a little less than half of the record times predicted before the start, only 38% of the course has been completed. Right now the leaders are in the middle of the Indian Ocean while four years Armel Le Cléach had already passed Cape Leeuwin (on the south-west tip of Australia). Since the start from the French coast, the weather has never really been good for a fast race, especially in the Atlantic. There were no long surfs in the trade winds and no reaching conditions in flat-ish seas to see the fast foilers reel out the 500+mile days that were expected of them.

                  “At stage in the Vendée Globe, after a month of racing, it's quite incredible to have eleven boats within 600 miles in the Indian Ocean with so many different design generations all represented” said weather consultants Sébastien Josse and Christian Dumard.

                  “ Between the 2020 generation LinkedOut in second and fifth placed Dutreux’s OMIA Water Family there are 12 years or three Vendée Globe generations but they are only 200 miles apart. That is really, nothing! It’s less than half a day in some conditions”.





                  Tonight will be the toughest of the race for Charlie Dalin with winds over 50kts at times, while second placed Thomas Ruyant has slowed for periods to avoid the worst of the system.

                  Joined this afternoon during the Vendée Live, Yannick Bestaven described his life on board as like "animal" living conditions inside Maître CoQ IV. "I retracted the foils because the shocks are so violent. I just sail in all directions. I do everything to not be ahead of the routing, so as not to throw myself into the mouth of the wolf ”.

                  This system is a very deep depression that forms right on the forehead. From Bestaven to Sorel (11th), they are nine to have slowed down to allow this depression to move south. Apivia and LinkedOut are already too far east to avoid it. Dalin has already been experiencing harsh conditions: this afternoon over 40 knots of crosswinds and he has slowed at times to protect himself and his boat.




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




                  Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) sent this message this morning talking about the milestones he is looking forwards to, not least finally getting into a spell of lighter winds to repair his J2 jib
                  "I kept an eye on the weather this morning to see if it would be light enough wind for my j2 repair. But no. It wasn’t just quite right. Still 20 knots every few minutes. Drops to 13 but very short. Now we are back in accelerating breeze stable 20-22.

                  Boat speeds1 11 to 32 sometimes. (Which is not intended as it was lots of stress for man and Machine for no gains - taming the beast ...! Somehow next will be to go back to j3)

                  At night i had to furl the headsail twice. Take a reef. Squalls. So fragmented sleep but still a good night after all.

                  From now on the wind will increase and only ease off in 48 hours 800 miles east from here then. It will be the strongest low so far. I am fine with it.




                  My next inner milestone is the gybe Thursday - then I know I made it through the worst and have easier conditions for the next 1600 mikes to Cape Leeuwen where i expect to be on the 13th.

                  The other major milestone will be this Friday the 11th when does the first time since entering the southern ocean the wind should drop below 15 knots and i can tick off my j2 and other repairs. Gaining the j2 back will be a boost in confidence as I am lacking the sail for an entire ocean. It had made live more difficult and cost lots of miles.

                  Something really to look forward to.

                  After that I will close my navigation program and restart it in anti meridian view - with nzl in the center of the chart and the pacific to the right of it. Europe at the border of the chart then ....

                  I didn’t look on the tracker in quite a while I was fearing it could demotivate me. Anyway i ll do my best and my focus is 100% on the race.”

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






                  Pip Hare's message from Medallia this morning....
                  At 2am, in the pitch dark with no moon and building breeze the tack line on my code zero broke. It went with a loud bang. I was at the mast already tucking in an extra reef as I had been watching the wind slowly building from my bean bag down below. This is often how I spend my nights. Sheltering from the cold and the wet down below, reclining on the floor, propped by a beanbag behind my head and staring at a screen full of numbers

                  If the numbers are within limits I will sleep, setting my alarm for 30 or 45 minutes to wake up and check them again. If the numbers are marginal I doze, eyes closed and drifting in a nearly sleeping state, somehow with my mind relaxed yet alert to a greater angle of heel, the increased rush of water past the hull and indication that the breeze is on the rise.

                  When the wind reached 27 knots I upheld the deal I had made with myself, hauled my body out of the beanbag - no mean feat against gravity and with a slippery beanbag underneath me that slides and reforms every time I try to push myself up out of it.

                  Drysuited and booted I trudged on deck with head torch and safety harness and was dropping the last few meters of main halyard when the code zero tack went.

                  At first I did not realise what it was. The force of the sail blowing upwards had ripped the outrigger from it's location on the deck, I couldn't see the sail but saw the outrigger and assumed that one of the linkages holding that forwards had broken. Medallia felt a little wild, heeling over more, slightly less controlled. One job at a time I finished putting in the reef as quickly as possible. I put the boat on a downwind course to decrease the apparent wind in the headsails and I wandered forwards with my search light and saw the sail, flying up in the air, the tack line was broken so the sail was attached only at the top and back corners of the triangle, the only thing stopping the whole sail from wildly flailing around was the furling line hooked under the pulpit, the force of which was bending the metal framework upwards.



                  TRACKER


                  My mind raced, at once I went through several scenarios for how this could go. Somehow I needed to get the sail under control, the first option appeared to be to get it down but the risk in this was huge. Normally we role these sails up into a tight sausage before lowering them to the deck. In this form they have very little windage, they are manageable and most importantly small. I was not able to furl this sail as to perform this the front edge needs to be stretched tight between the tack and the head. This would mean me, one small person in the middle of the night battling with the full surface area of the sail, in 27 knots of wind, trying to drag it under control some 25 metres out of the sky, and land it safely on the deck of Medallia without it going in the water where with the speed of the boat it would be ripped out of my hands for good. In a split second I was able to visualise this scenario and it wasn't good. I could see many outcomes some lucky, some not so lucky all with risk and all with complete exhaustion.

                  I needed another solution and fixed on the fact that the furling line was in fact, for the minute and while the pulpit remained in place, holding the sail in position, albeit high in the air. for the moment the tack was out of reach but If I was able to bring the tack of the sail down low enough for me to reach it safely, I could put my spare tack line onto the sail and haul it down in that way. I needed to act quickly but make no mistakes, getting ropes jammed or putting extra load on anything at this stage could lead to further and more difficult problems.

                  In the back of the boat sorted out the necessary blocks and winches, carefully tying ropes off, re-leading lines, trying very hard not to rush and not to make mistakes. My heart was thumping hard, it wasn't difficult work just stressful. Very slowly and with extreme care I started to wind on both sides of my furling line, looking forward with my torch to check when the sail was low enough to reach, then going forwards into the dark, with a line to tie the sail off while I worked to change over the tacklines. The whole job was done in an hour and Medallia was off flying at 16 knots again. The night was still black and I sat for a moment thinking about how lucky I had been. Lucky the line had broken while I was on deck, lucky I had not had to battle with taking a full size flogging sail out of the sky, lucky that Medallia is such a strong boat to cope with these mishaps.

                  I have now put a system in place where there are always two tack lines on my furling sails. Those lines are put under one hell of a load and those sails will be my work horses for at least the next six weeks while I am racing through the southern ocean. With a second 'safety' tackline in place I will be able to sleep in the knowledge the sail will be contained until I am next on deck. In this way Medallia and I are evolving, we are adapting, we are learning.

                  It is often the way with racing a boat this size on your own that the first solution is not the obvious one and I have often said this is why I believe we are able to race men and women on equal terms in this incredible sport. Rushing in to wrestle that sail out of the sky was the wrong answer and had I been perhaps bigger, or more physically strong I may have been more inclined to try. But stepping back for a second gave me the right solution. It is not always easy to step back from a crisis situation and think. It requires a calm state, a confidence to withdraw momentarily and the ability to put aside the feelings of fear or stress and focus clearly on finding a solution. On reflection I think this is something I have learned to do through my sailing career.

                  I know well that icy grip of fear and how it has the ability to paralyse you and to turn your brain in circles. But when you are alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean there is simply no one else to take charge, the fear cannot take control, it keeps you sharp but you must learn to suppress it. I don't consider myself to be a particularly brave person, I don't think this is a characteristic you are born with. I think my sport has taught me how to control my fear and think clearly in a crisis. I do this not because I enjoy the stress or want to be a hero, but because I love my sport, I am driven to compete at the highest level I can possibly achieve and with the euphoria of screaming through the worlds most beautiful oceans on a beautiful race boat, comes the acceptance that at times I will be challenged and I will be scared.

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



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                  • #54
                    The Worst Has Passed




                    Worst Of The Storm Passed for Ruyant and Dalin, Golden Ticket for Armel Tripon. Beyou Making Inroads

                    For the meantime the worst of the Indian Ocean is behind them and Vendée Globe leaders Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant can contemplate a relatively smooth ride to Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, now 1250 nautical miles, or about three days, ahead of Dalin

                    Dalin, some 250 miles in front and, last night, more than 120 miles to the south of his nearest rival Ruyant took the worst of the Indian Ocean storm. Racing under triple reefed main and for much of the time no headsail at all, or a tiny storm jib, the solo skipper of Apivia saw gusts to 55kts and huge seas through the small hours of last night.

                    Winds have eased down to a more manageable 30kts and the two pacemakers will be into much more favourable SW’ly 20-25 kts breezes to take them to the second of the Vendée Globe’s Great Capes, Leeuwin.




                    Ruyant passed seven miles north of tiny, remote Amsterdam island early this morning, following a routing which kept him out of the worst of the strong depression. “ I didn't really have a choice, Charlie (Dalin) had enough of a lead to stay ahead of this front for longer but for me that would have been too hard. "

                    The skipper of LinkedOut, who was winner of the Route du Rhum in Class40 in 2010, saw a couple of hours with gusts to 60 knots then had a to make a difficult but controlled gybe in 40kts. “I'm glad I passed this last big hurdle in the Indian Ocean.” He said today, “Of course anything can always happen and we are not immune to anything, but that should be the last big weather phenomenon before we get to the Pacific. "



                    TRACKER



                    Racing to the North of the Kerguelen Islands, on the western side of this gigantic low pressure system which is racing at 25 knots east across the Pacific, the wind is still strong for the sailors chasing the leading duo.

                    At 45 ° South, Louis Burton, the most southerly of all, has regained 3rd place ahead of Yannick Bestaven, Benjamin Dutreux and Boris Herrmann. The German skipper crossed tracks – like backcountry powder skiers – with Damien Seguin. For the past three days Seguin skipper of Groupe APICIL has been spending his time trying to solve electrical problems that cause blackouts and most distressingly the disconnection of his autopilot and battery charging problems.

                    Fortunately, the situation appears to be back under control. "it is the size of the waves and their direction that dictate what you do" admits Damien Seguin. “You have to do work so hard just to take care of yourself, otherwise, it becomes unlivable. You reduce sails just to be able to eat and drink.”

                    For almost ten days, the leading peloton of eleven solo sailors followed by Romain Attanasio (12th) and Clarisse Cremer (13th), have been aboard the Southern express train which has dealt many, many stressful moments along the way. Add the infernal noised inside their boats, shaken around by violent movements, these men and women have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to the situation. They have had to get used to life in this aggressive environment.




                    South of the African continent under the influence of a low-pressure system that has moved down from Madagascar, three skippers are paying a high price to enter the Indian Ocean. Contacted by phone this morning, Stéphane le Diraison (17th), stuck in the middle of the depression an area with no wind, but with a 4m swell, he was almost tearing his hair out. 100 miles ahead of him, Alan Roura was also slamming into the seas, but in 25 knots of wind and in conditions described as unbearable.

                    Mother Nature is not kind to the competitors. But she can offer them some moments of breathtaking consolation, such as the rainbow in the wake of Maxime Sorel’s V and B Mayenne or the blazing, red Southern dawn on the horizon for Armel Tripon’s L’Occitane en Provence. For some these golden moments live on longer in the memories than seemingly interminable storms.

                    Having struggled early in the race with technical problems and ending up in the second half of the fleet in the South Atlantic Armel Tripon seems finally to have won the ‘golden ticket’, continuing to be blessed with favourable winds. His speed and timing were ideal to be able to escape under a fast moving low pressure and he has taken nearly 300 miles out of his pursuers in recent days and will continue to profit for the next three to four days at least, racing on the heels of this system 560 miles to the west of Clarisse Crémer and Romain Attanasio.

                    For Jérémie Beyou there is now the chance to finally start making inroads into the fleet with his fast foiling latest generation Charal. After re-starting nine days after the fleet left Les Sables d’Olonne Beyou is 130 miles behind 27th placed Sébastien Destremau (Merci) and should pass in the next 24-36 hours.


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




                    The next 24 hours will be the most challenging so far for Vendée Globe race leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia), especially through this evening and tonight as he will pass as close as he dare to the centre of a Southern Ocean low pressure system which is forecast to bring him gusts over 55kts and big seas. He told his team yesterday ‘this is the biggest, most powerful storm I have had through since the start’. So today will mostly be about pushing on and preparing himself and his Apivia

                    Meantime the problems seem to be mounting up for Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) who both have remained slowed, losing hard earned places as they try to get back on terms, fighting technical problems with their pilots and in the case of Burton other problems he has not specified.

                    “Yesterday was a terrible day for me because I had many problems with my autopilot, so I decided to stop the boat many times to try to fix the problem so it really was not easy to do something on the boat because it was moving. In fact I decided to sleep because I was so tired. And so this morning I have fixed 50 per cent of the problem so we have to work again today to find a solution but I am still in the game and today is another day so I hope we will get there.” Said Seguin this morning on the 0400hrs UTC radio call. He explained, “During Sunday night the problems started just after a gybe. I could not leave the cockpit, the boat was doing all kinds of things. I worked at the whole thing all day and I got the emergency pilot working".

                    And Louis Burton is clearly continuing to struggle on Bureau Vallée 2, seeming to be in difficulty with surprising course angles (North, East, South-East, North) at less than ten knots last night.

                    Meantime Dalin is setting himself up. "Charlie is trying to do everything to get through the northernmost part of the depression," says Race Director Jacques Caraes. “But that for all that we say that it will not be easy at all even on this northern curve of the depression, he will still see gusts of over 55 knots and 5 metre waves during the night tonight, but Charlie is ready and confident in himself and his boat.”

                    The skipper of Apivia - who has four podiums in the Solitaire du Figaro and wins in the Transat AG2R (2012) and a Transat Jacques Vabre (2019) victory on his resume. He has proven already that he knows how to look after himself and his boat.

                    That said he seems prepared to push compared to his rivals. Since Monday Thomas Ruyant has routed further north and was slower overnight compared to Dalin, 13 to 17kts compared to 20 to 25 kts for Apivia. And so Ruyant should have easier conditions as indeed is the case for Jean Le Cam who is still very much in the game in fifth and who has always stayed north.

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


                    Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) sent this message this morning talking about the milestones he is looking forwards to, not least finally getting into a spell of lighter winds to repair his J2 jib
                    "I kept an eye on the weather this morning to see if it would be light enough wind for my j2 repair. But no. It wasn’t just quite right. Still 20 knots every few minutes. Drops to 13 but very short. Now we are back in accelerating breeze stable 20-22.

                    Boat speeds1 11 to 32 sometimes. (Which is not intended as it was lots of stress for man and Maschine for no gains - taming the beast ...! Somehow next will be to go back to j3)

                    At night i had to furl the headsail twice. Take a reef. Squalls. So fragmented sleep but still a good night after all.




                    From now on the wind will increase and only ease off in 48 hours 800 miles east from here then. It will be the strongest low so far. I am fine with it.

                    My next inner milestone is the gybe Thursday - then I know I made it through the worst and have easier conditions for the next 1600 mikes to cape lieuween where i expect to be on the 13th.

                    The other major milestone will be this Friday the 11th when does the first time since entering the southern ocean the wind should drop below 15 knots and i can tick off my j2 and other repairs. Gaining the j2 back will be a boost in confidence as I am lacking the sail for an entire ocean. It had made live more difficult and cost lots of miles.




                    Something really to look forward to.

                    After that I will close my navigation program and restart it in anti meridian view - with nzl in the center of the chart and the pacific to the right of it. Europe at the border of the chart then ....

                    I didn’t look on the tracker in quite a while I was fearing it could demotivate me. Anyway i ll do my best and my focus is 100% on the race.”
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                    • #55
                      Great to see Ryan doing the anchor work!

                      However his British accent is lacking!

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Newrest - Art & Fenêtres Out: Leaders Picking Up The Pace


                        Photo: Jean-Marie Liot

                        Fabrice Amedeo makes the decision to quit

                        Deprived of a computer system since yesterday morning, the skipper of Newrest - Art & Fenêtres has set sail for South Africa. "It's a difficult decision to make," he confides as he gives up for the first time in a major race.

                        The shock is severe and the decision difficult. A competitor at heart, a passionate sailor, Fabrice Amedeo must make up his mind to abandon the Vendée Globe. Since Thursday morning, the skipper of Newrest - Art & Fenêtres has been deprived of his two computers. Only the onboard GPS allows him to know his position on the ocean. “Our foiling boats are devilish in strong winds,” explains Fabrice. I want to be able to sail according to a principle that has always been mine: as a good sailor and having the feeling of controlling my safety and that of my boat ”. The damage occurred while she was in 21st position in a 25 to 35 knot wind and heavy seas. "It's very hard to take," he admits as he now goes to Cape Town (South Africa).

                        FABRICE HUNG ON LIKE NEVER BEFORE
                        Since the start, 33 days ago, Fabrice Amedeo has shown a rare self-sacrifice while the problems have multiplied. A few hours after the start, on November 8, the skipper of Newrest - Art & Fenêtres had to turn around because of a damage to the masthead. Stopped for two days at Sables-d'Olonne, he was able to set off again, benefiting from the encouragement of the Sablais on the channel, a wave of precious enthusiasm. "I will tap into the love and encouragement of these people to face trouble," he wrote at the time.

                        Then nothing was easy. From the first night, he faced gusts of 42 knots and his first on-board computer did not resist. He must use the second and recognizes "living with a sword of Damocles" . Then, Newrest - Art & Fenêtres had to resist the pangs of the doldrums - much less favorable than for the rest of the fleet - to approach the Brazilian coast and fight against the Saint Helena high. In this difficult progression, the conditions were never in his favor.

                        Despite all these difficulties, Fabrice remained optimistic while waiting for “better days” and “luck turns”.He had managed to catch up and take the lead of a group of eight skippers. The computer problem brought its progress to an abrupt halt. Positioned 190 miles from the South African coast, it is currently on its way to Cape Town which it should reach tomorrow evening or Sunday morning. Its technical team is getting organized to join it and make the necessary repairs to allow Newrest - Art & Fenêtres to return to sea safely. As the boat is equipped with two oceanographic sensors that are still in operation, the collection of valuable data for scientists will continue and allow a measurement campaign over a complete tour of the Atlantic.



                        The words of Fabrice Amedeo, from the edge of Newrest - Art & Fenêtres:

                        "Dear friends. My boat is doing fine. We took care of each other and I had managed a few odds and ends in the Saint Helena high. My boat is doing well but since yesterday it has been blind: following a new computer problem, I can no longer download the weather files, calculate the optimal trajectory, the fastest possible but also sometimes the wisest possible. Faced with this irremediable obstacle in my path, two options: stop my Vendée Globe here or continue. It is possible to continue the old way, without information and thus cross the South Seas.

                        Let yourself be pushed by the elements for a month towards Cape Horn. But our foil boats are devilish in strong winds and I want to be able to sail according to a principle that has always been mine: as a good sailor and having the feeling of controlling my safety and that of my boat. So I decided to stop my Vendée Globe in Cape Town. It was a decision that was difficult to take but that I take responsibility for. I am very unhappy but I know I will bounce back. I thank and I think very much of my partners to whom I dreamed of offering an arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne, like a little light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which was complicated for everyone. I also address a huge thank you to my technical team who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life and failure is one of them.

                        " It was a decision that was difficult to take but that I take responsibility for. I am very unhappy but I know I will bounce back. I thank and I think very much of my partners to whom I dreamed of offering an arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne, like a little light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which was complicated for everyone. I also address a huge thank you to my technical team who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life and failure is one of them. I will digest this failure which will make me grow and come back stronger and more solid. " It was a decision that was difficult to take but that I take responsibility for.

                        I am very unhappy but I know I will bounce back. I thank and I think very much of my partners to whom I dreamed of offering an arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne, like a little light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which was complicated for everyone. I also address a huge thank you to my technical team who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life and failure is one of them. I will digest this failure which will make me grow and come back stronger and more solid. " like a little light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which has been complicated for everyone. I also address a huge thank you to my technical team who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life and failure is one of them.

                        " like a little light at the end of the tunnel of this year 2020 which has been complicated for everyone. I also address a huge thank you to my technical team who did a great job. The Vendée Globe tells stories of life and failure is one of them. I will digest this failure which will make me grow and come back stronger and more solid. "



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


                        TRACKER


                        With no working computers Fabrice Amedeo Abandons, Dalin’s margin is halved, Merron, Shiraishi Cross Good Hope

                        Leader Charlie Dalin has seen his margin more than halved in the last 36 hours as he negotiates a high pressure zone of lighter airs some 630 nautical miles west of the longitude of Australia’s Cape Leeuwin.
                        The perils of being first to break into gentler winds are obvious as he sees the chasing duo have closed up to within 100-120 nautical miles of him, albeit partly as he repositioned himself further to the south. But while some have been questioning if Dalin is hiding damage which might account for his slower speeds the 35 year old who originates from Le Havre has been sailing into the lightest wind of any of the top 15 boats.








                        “Charlie is facing an area of lighter winds for a few hours, those chasing after him are sailing in 15-25 knot SW’ly winds, offering them high speeds and allowing them to narrow the gap. The first fourteen boats from Apivia to L’Occitane en Provence (Armel Tripon) are today sailing in the same weather system with the Mascarene High stretching out across the whole of the Indian Ocean.” Noted weather supplier Christian Dumard this morning at his briefing to Vendée Globe HQ.

                        Vendée Globe veteran Jean Pierre Dick said today on the French Vendée Globe Live, “The leaders do tend to keep quiet about any issues they might have, to not give away anything to those chasing that might give them a chance to use it against them. That has often been the strategy of past leaders such as François Gabart, Armel Le Cléach or Michel Desjoyeux. I think that Charlie Dalin is in this area of light winds.”

                        Of life in the barren South Jean Pierre recalls, “I have spent nearly 6 months in the Southern Ocean over the course of the racing I have done and what impresses me the most is the sense of vastness and desolation. Over the course of the six months there, I never once saw a boat. The only one was PRB in 2008 when we nearly hit each other. It is so vast, savage and then seeing the albatross is a true honour to be there.”

                        “Then there is a form of optimism when you know about the climate change, the earth warming up and the pollution, being down there at one in nature and not seeing a living being for that long, you feel that you are in the one part of the world that you breathe, and that the world somehow heals itself from our urban excesses. What strikes me the most when I see the images sent back is the human isolation and the sporting battle one has with oneself. How to stay zen in the face of all the problems you have. It is not always to ensure to have less sail than you might like, as a competitor, but you have to also look ahead when winds change so suddenly from 15 to say 30.” Dick observes.

                        Dalin continues to play the long game in an assured fashion. He is without doubt measuring the threat from those behind him in the knowledge that his boat, assuming it to be at 100 per cent or close to it, should be the fastest of those in the top 11.

                        “He will be looking at the threat from behind and knowing that he should be able to be fastest. I think he is very much controlling the fleet knowing he can match them if he is at his best.” Notes four times Vendée Globe racer Mike Golding this afternoon, “That said we are still not seeing the averages we should have been seeing from these foiling boats and I wonder whether everyone is being generally quite cautious. For Charlie his biggest worry would maybe be in the South Atlantic climbing north again and that threat might come from Yannick Bestaven who is going well and Louis Burton who continues to impress me. But that is a long way off. There are some very good sailors in this group. But in terms of speeds so often it is down to the wave patterns. In the 2012 race in the Indian Ocean it was like this, there was never just the time to get the boat really rumbling for long periods.”

                        It has been a key moment of the race so far for Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi who crossed the longitude of Cape of Good Hope at 1053hrs this morning on DMG MORI. After having to retire into Cape Town with a broken topmast in 2016, Shiraishi was has passed his stopping point and was going well today, crossing just four hours and 24 minutes after Briton Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) who passed just 37 minutes after Alexia Barrier (TSE 4 My Planet).

                        Suffering from a breakdown of his backup computer – his first, main computer failed off Cape Finisterre – Fabrice Amedeo confirmed he will abandon his Vendée Globe in Cape Town. This afternoon he had just over 130 miles to sail to the South African haven. Journalist turned round the world racer Amedeo finished 11th on the 2016-17 race but had to restart two days after the start due to a hairline crack at the top of his mast.

                        Giancarlo Pedote, Prysmian Group: “The wind has dropped but the waves are still very steep, it's complicated. This morning, from 1:00 am UTC to 4:00 am UTC, it was fine, but now we have a cross sea once more, so it's hard to manage the speeds. Either we're not fast enough, or we're too fast and we just crash into the waves. I will just have to be patient again and wait for the sea to calm down to be able to let go get going and have more regular speeds. We are still three good days away from Cape Leeuwin and after that we will have to continue until Cape Horn before we can swich on the left indicator on. I have been wanting to do this trip for a very long time, it’s a dream I've had for years so now I just want to enjoy it. You have to live life to the fullest, not complain and continue heading east towards the Pacific. I'm very happy with the boat, there are a few problems but, overall, everything's fine. I have sailed with care. That's been my strategy since the start. We're not halfway there yet so if we want to finish, we have to look after both the sailor and the boat too.”

                        Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) The second placed skipper can't exploit all the potential of his LinkedOut because of its truncated port foil... And this situation is likely to last a few days as the winds forecast are not looking favourable for gybing: Thomas Ruyant will have to wait at least until Cape Leeuwin!"I passed the last obstacle 24 hours ago... It feels good to know that ahead of us, the conditions are pretty nice. It also gives me a chance to solve the little problems on board, to take some time for myself, to eat well. I slept well last night. The wind is still a little irregular, but I have blue skies! In any case, it's good to have a little break because since the beginning of the Indian Ocean, the weather has really given us something to think about. I had two mainsail battens to change yesterday: I was without my mainsail for around 2-3 hours, but it went pretty fast because I had the experience from 2016 under my belt. There are always things to do on these boats in terms of maintenance, but I am working well and LinkedOut is too!



                        Now I’m sailing on my truncated foil and these are the kind of conditions where I really miss it! But hey, it's like that and it's going to be like that until the end of the race... I'm not complaining but I'm losing about 20% of the boat's potential on this starboard tack. In the breeze, it's a bit less noticeable, but in certain conditions like we have at the moment, it's five extra knots that just go up in smoke. There's still some sea to play with, but it is at least in the right direction: the swell could make me start to make the foil work.



                        Tactically, I'm heading South-East to reposition myself in front of my competitors, but I don't have much choice as I've got a W'ly wind for the moment! I'm heading towards the Ice Exclusion Zone, which we're all going to follow for a little while... But it's a bit of a compulsory tack as well. The sailing conditions to come are great because there are no gales forecast, except for a small passage behind a low, and even then: that can change and the timing can change too. But what I'm seeing all the way to New Zealand is just starboard tack! It doesn't suit me very much... But I'm making do with it: I'm trying to find the boat's proper functioning even with my damaged port foil.



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





                        Finally blessed with good conditions in the south Indian ocean the peloton, the group which are chasing leaders Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) have the best speeds overnight. They have been making between 19 and 22 knots while Dalin, in an irregular wind flow, has been making just 10-12 knots – perhaps Dalin has been dealing with any technical damage after the big storm earlier in the week. Ruyant meantime is always lacking power on starboard gybe after losing his port foil.

                        In the SW’ly breeze the leaders are aiming at the Antarctic Exclusion Zone where they will gybe and then cross he longitude of the Cape of Good Hope on Sunday night.




                        Yannick Bestaven, Jean Le Cam, Benjamin Dutreux, Damien Seguin, Boris Herrmann, and even slightly behind, Isabelle Joschke and Giancarlo Pedote have been making close to 20kts, indeed it is Germany’s Herrmann who is quickest this morning at 22kts. And not so far behind them Maxime Sorel (V & B-Mayenne) is also pressing hard, foot down on the accelerator. Indeed all the way through the fleet conditions are decent this morning. And it looks like a good weekend for surfing. Along the Australian AEZ the breezes should remain settled and allow some faster days.

                        LinkedOut skipper Thomas Ruyant reported this morning, “It is good. The last big obstacle is passed. For us the conditions are cool, it is much better and it allows us to fix any little problems on board, to eat well and sleep, I slept well last night. It is good I have blue skies, the wind is a bit irregular, but we are going steadily. It is good like this. It is the conditions we have missed for a while. He (Charlie Dalin) is here I am here, sadly I miss a bit of power on port gybe, but that is just the way it is. But we are going not bad.”




                        In the moderate conditions Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) seems in great shape while Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) appears, by comparison, slower. We see the fast foilers taking miles from the daggerboard boats as Yes We Cam! (Jean Le Cam), OMIA-Water Family (Benjamin Dutreux) or APICIL Group (Damien Seguin). Are we into the times when the foilers will start to move away and the natural order of things be finally established? It seems like they will work close to the AEZ.

                        Romain Attanasio (PURE-Best Western Hotels & Resorts) and Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) are working the the edge of the anticyclone and should dive a little south-east before touching the back of a small depression in the north-east of the Kerguelen islands.

                        Likewise, Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) has enough wind to be going on with, a north-west erly flow which is allowing him to make good, easy miles. But he is now very much out on his own, 700 miles to , he is now quite alone, but he has enough to go back on his predecessors, 700 miles to the boats in front and behind. Alan Roura (La Fabrique) and behind, Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle), are all trying to get out of the high that does not to be good for Manuel Cousin (Groupe SÉTIN) either.

                        As for Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Art & Fenêtres) he is plagued by recurring computer problems (his second machine is down as is his first) and so he is climbing north eastwards towards South Africa. And near the back if Jérémie Beyou (Charal) has not yet passed Finnish skipper Ari Huusela (STARK), it will not be long. Far north in a southwesterly flow, the three-time winner of La Solitaire du Figaro should pass Japan's Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One) by the end of this weekend. Kojiro will, nonetheless be happy to pass Cape of Good Hope and South Africa where he had to sail to on the last edition as he abandoned with his broken mast.

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


                        The leader of the Vendée Globe talked on the radio session this morning about the big storm he had to go through the night before last "Tired" but "relieved", the skipper of Apivia tells how he held on:
                        "I'm still a little tired from the storm last night. Luckily, I had a little less wind than expected, which allowed me to recover well. I'm still recovering really, but I'm relieved that I managed to overcome this obstacle. The conditions were very strenuous. I was always trying to find a compromise in order to go fast. The solution was to head as easterly as possible. But I had to be careful of the shocks because the sea was very rough, really very tricky.

                        I didn't know what to do to slow the boat down.
                        As a result, I was always adjusting the boat's course to have a better angle to the waves, so that the boat was hitting the waves as little as possible. The wind was whistling through the mast, the gusts were impressive. I was really at the limit, there were some pretty tense hours. A few more knots and I would have had to throttle back even more. It was going too fast with the surge of the storm, it was slamming too much and I had to go with just the mainsail alone for a while. And even then I didn't know what to do to slow down because the boat was going really fast. However, I had the foils right in, I had configured the boat as well as I could, but when it did slam from the full height of the waves, it was very difficult.

                        Luckily I managed to keep my course heading east. When the strong winds started to diminish, the wind started to turn to the left. This meant that the centre of the depression was moving away from me. At that moment I saw that it was going to be good. That's when I sent a message to my partner and Antoine Carraz, my team manager, to tell them that it seemed to be going well. It was a relief when the wind started to drop.

                        Fortunately, everything held up.
                        In fact it felt a bit like fate that I lost my wind info two hours before the storm started. I have since recovered it, but I will never know what the maximum force of the wind was during that episode. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise... The only indicator I had was the wind angle at the mast. I'm really glad I was able to be on the other side of it now. Of course, I was apprehensive, but there was really no alternative course for me. Pride? I don't know, I'm just glad I didn't have any problems that would have caused a catastrophic domino effect.

                        The screen was scarlet red coloured with the force of the wind. I even removed the wind indicator because it made me too anxious to see a screen all red like that. I'm just glad I got through it. I may have just earned my stripes as a southern oceans sailor. After that, there will be more to come including more storms, and you just have to take them one after the other but I'm glad I made it through this one.

                        I feel that I am marked by this episode.
                        After the storm, I went to do a complete check of the boat's structure. I also had to fix something on my J3 tack which was a bit damaged. The wind being less strong, I had to take some time to myself and recover too. It's been a very trying 24 hours. It's starting to get better but I feel that I'm marked by this episode. It's going to take a little more time to fully recover.

                        I’ve been at sea for a little over a month now. Recently, I went over everything that has happened since the start. I have a memory of the events and manoeuvres from every day so far... On the one hand, it feels like it’s going by quickly and on the other hand I realise that it's been a whole month. Soon we will be at the maximum time difference between France and the navigation zone. This morning, it was daylight at 10 pm and the biggest difference will be in New Zealand. Similarly to us looking forward to arriving on December 21st so that the days will be longer, I will also be happy when the time difference will be in the right direction in relation to France.

                        Before leaving I was afraid I wouldn't get enough sleep. I come from the Figaro where you don't give up, you sleep a minimum and you're constantly on the go. Fortunately, I managed to find the right way to rest and be in shape. Overall, I'm beginning to find the right rhythm, the famous rhythm that allows me to move forward quickly but with a certain amount of caution. I always tend to favour the boat and neglect myself in order to give my all for performance. But I have the feeling that I've found the formula to take it steady and manage to keep up the pace. We're still halfway there, so I need to continue to think about the boat's performance.

                        **********************************
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                        • #57
                          The Fleet Compresses



                          Less than 100 miles separates top three skippers.....Top Ten Within 404 miles Of Each Other....Huusela, Beyou Cross Good Hope


                          With less than 200 nautical miles to make to cross the longitude of the Cape Leeuwin, Charlie Dalin’s lead on the Vendée Globe fleet is a much more tenable 81 nautical miles after long periods slowed in light winds during the last three days of racing.


                          TRACKER


                          Quizzed early this morning he denied he has any technical issues on board his IMOCA APVIA,

                          “I know there is speculation about me having technical issues but my technical issue has been no wind. APIVIA is going well.” He asserted

                          The leader’s elapsed time to Cape Leeuwin should be of the order of 34 ½ days, nearly six days outside of the outstanding record set on the last edition by Armel Le Cléac’h at 28 days 20 hours and 12 minutes. Le Cléac’h’s passage time back in December 2016 beat the previous record by five days 14 hours.

                          But while the last two editions of the Vendée Globe had already been distilled down to head-to-head match races this ninth edition is a much more open affair.

                          In 2012-2013 at Cape Leeuwin there was five hours and 49 minutes between the runaway duo Le Cléac’h and Francois Gabart. Alex Thomson was over one day and three hours behind.

                          And in December 2016 there was five and 16 minutes between Le Cléac’h and Thomson.

                          Today there are less than 100 nautical miles between leader Dalin, second placed Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and third placed Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq). Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) is 130 miles behind Bestaven and he in turn has three skippers, Damien Seguin, Louis Burton and Benjamin Dutreux all within 40 miles.

                          And at current speeds there is less than a day or just over 400 miles between first and 10th.







                          Burton Has Issues
                          Louis Burton, who a matter of a week ago was in second, 140 miles behind leader Dalin, admitted today that his problems are more than just the autopilot issues which he detailed a few days ago. The skipper of Bureau Vallée 2 has dropped to sixth now 246 miles behind leader APIVIA. He revealed that he has damage to his mainsail lock (hook) and to the upper part of his mast track to the point that the maximum hoist he can use the mainsail to is with one reef.

                          He explained, “ I still have the J2 which is working fine, but the small gennaker is in bad shape so I don't have a lot of headsails. I also have energy problems which are holding me back quite a bit. I’ve got a hydro-generator stuck down which actually slows it down a lot, but I don't have much choice since I don't have enough fuel to finish the rest of the race using my engine (to generate power). That's an extra worry. The problem with my pilot is fixed, and I’ve tried to make sure all those little fragile sensors are now watertight so that the problem doesn’t come back.”

                          Burton spoke of his 2016-17 race on which he finished seventh:

                          “ Compared to the last Vendée Globe, there is less wind, and the sea is calmer. But in saying that up until this point, the conditions have really been boat-breaking. Four years ago, when we passed through this zone, there were really high seas and the wind was much stronger, but there’d been more extensive weather systems, so fewer manoeuvres to make and therefore less danger for the boats. This time round, it’s really not been easy to manage. We're now going to enter a zone that will be less wind between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. It's not the Big South as I like to imagine with the usual big depressions on which you can stay a long time. Instead, the conditions are very changeable and very trying, which also explains why the boats are coming back from behind. "











                          Good For Hope, Good For Morale.
                          The Finnish airline pilot Ari Huusela was the final Vendée Globe competitor to cross the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope today, 33 days and 22 hours after the start off Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 8th November. That he was some ten hours and eight minutes behind Sébastien Destremau mattered not at all to the 58 year old from Helsinki.
                          Indeed he may be the 29th racer to cross but it is doubtful if any of the 29 ahead of him have been happier to cross this first of the course’s three Great Capes.
                          He is on the threshold to the Indian Ocean on STARK, his Owen Clarke designed IMOCA 60 which already has two racing circumnavigations under its keel, and that represents a big leap into the unknown for Huusela who has been planning his Vendée Globe for the best part of twenty years, and is in no hurry to have it finish any quicker than he would like it to.

                          “It feels so good to be passing this first Great Cape. It feels so good. It has been a lot of years coming since we started this project and so it feels really good. I am relieved. Next is Cape Leeuwin in two to three weeks. I am so, so happy today.” Smiled Huusela, one of the three skippers in this race who might strictly be described as amateurs, that is to say deriving their primary income from outside of sailing, along with Didac Costa who is a full time fire officer and Manuel Cousin who had a career in the automotive industry with Toyota.

                          Crossing Good Hope just ten and a half hours earlier than Huusela was Jérémie Beyou. The skipper of Charal who restarted again nine days after the original start was pleased to reach one of the little targets he had set himself, to be catching up with back of the fleet by the Cape of Good Hope.

                          Beyou, whose passage to the Cape has not been easy as neither the North Atlantic nor the South Atlantic have been kind to him. His elapsed time is 24 days 9 hours and 14 minutes, 15th fastest of the fleet.

                          “ It is not so much about passing competitors now which finally feels good but more just to have got back in touch with the race, to have made up the miles I was behind (1250 leaving from Les Sables d'Olonne on November 17), but at least now I am in the same weather system as others and I have people around me as I head into the Big South. I wanted to be here, catching the race by Good Hope and so I have done that and I'm happy. "








                          Beyou is happy to have reached the goal he had set himself: to catch up with the tail end of the by the time he reached the Cape of Good Hope.

                          "I had a good day yesterday, I finally managed to get back into the fleet. It's good to see people around. I have just spoken to Sébastien Destremau on the VHF, it was nice to speak with someone in person too.

                          This is the objective I had set myself before the start. Before Good Hope, I wanted to make the reach the fleet. The first goal achieved. It was important for me. And then to have found the means to get the boat moving properly up to there. These are small victories, you have to take advantage of them... Well, after 24 days to go to Good Hope... that's a lot!

                          The weather hasn't been kind to us, but we are here. I hope that the next stage will be easier. Until this morning, the sea and wind conditions were quite violent. I can't wait to find myself in better conditions ahead of a front so that the boat more easily.

                          We are reaching Seb. He is 3 miles ahead of me, but I can't keep him in sight with the sea so rough. I'm also going to put in a gybe in a little while, we're going to be on the same trajectory.

                          I am getting a lot of encouragement and it feels good. I want to sail the boat back to the finish in good condition. I'm trying to be a bit more in charge than I would usually and really to find the best mode. The boat can be tough, and I am looking to be the most fluid and flexible as opposed to rigid in my way of sailing.

                          The wind oscillates between 13 and 29 knots. All night long, it's been like that, with a very choppy sea. It's not easy to find an average setting. There are fewer and fewer squalls, the front is moving towards us, the wind will shift to the north during the day. It's all grey".






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                          • #58
                            Charlie Can Surf.....Three leaders cross Cape Leeuwin within 3hrs 20 mins



                            TRACKER


                            Dalin Leads Across Cape Leeuwin then hits 24kts, Three leaders pass within 3 hours and 20 minutes. Peyron Pays Tributes to Joschke, Le Cam, Seguin, Redress for Herrmann, Le Cam, Bestaven to be published Wednesday.

                            As if to prove to that his slow speeds were indeed down to a prolonged dose of light winds and not any technical problems, Vendée Globe race leader Charlie Dalin lit the afterburners on APIVIA this afternoon and enjoyed his fastest spell of his time in the last 1000 miles of the Indian Ocean, making sustained averages of more than 24 knots




                            Dalin crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at 1125hrs UTC this morning, leading at the second of the solo round the world race’s three great capes as he also did at the Cape of Good Hope 12 days and 7 hours previously. Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) crossed Leeuwin some 3 hours and 9 minutes later with Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ) only nine minutes after second placed Ruyant.

                            The top ten solo racers may be closer than in any previous Vendée Globe but this ninth edition is substantially slower than the 2016-17 edition. Dalin’s elapsed time from Les Sables d’Olonne is 34 days and 20hrs which is 6 days 1 hour and 53 minutes slower than Armel Le Cléac’h;s race record pace set en-route to winning the last Vendée Globe four years ago.

                            In fact, even with the leap in foiling technology, Dalin’s time to Cape Leeuwin today is the same elapsed time as Alex Thomson made in 2012 when he was in third position on his Farr designed former HUGO BOSS, then chasing Le Cléac’h and François Gabart.

                            Racing on the back of a depression under Australia, Dalin, Ruyant and Bestaven all had a spell of high speed sailing this afternoon as they try to win back miles.

                            Bestaven has been outstanding in the Indian Ocean, making up more than 300 miles to be virtually alongside Ruyant this afternoon.

                            After his first attempt ended after just over 24 hours into the Bay of Biscay in the 2008 race when his mast snapped, Bestaven 47 from La Rochelle has waited 12 years to come back to the Vendée Globe. He and Kito de Pavant – who also dismasted within the same hour - can now just about smile about theirs being the shortest Vendée Globe races in history. In their misery back in Les Sables d’Olonne they bonded and have since enjoyed a history together including racing in the colours of Bastide Otivio (formerly Initiatives Coeur and originally PRB) to fifth in the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre. Bestaven has two Class40 victories to his name on that transatlantic race.




                            Almost as impressive in the Indian Ocean so far has been Isabelle Joschke lying ninth on MACSF. Her course was highlighted on today’s LIVE programme by Loick Peyron as being one making consistently high average speeds and smooth trajectories,
                            ““It is interesting to analyse the track the boats leave and they are not all the same. The foilers tend to accelerate quite suddenly and this then imposes quite sudden radical changes in the course to try and slow them. It is easier to change and modify slightly the course than it is to change the sails. So, you do see very rough tracks, Isabelle does very smooth and beautiful lines as does Jean Le Cam. It is interesting that those with the most experience of ocean racing tend to have more smooth trajectories. You do not show your talent purely by the trace you leave from your trajectory, but it is a sign. It is not the skipper who goes the fastest, that wins, it is the one who maintains the best average and consistency. It is true to win a race you have to finish it.”

                            Joschke responded, “Sometimes it goes fast and then it stops for a bit because you have to repair something or because the sea state is really hard to sail in and then it takes off all over again. It has been like that for a week. Quite frankly I do not know what is going to happen tomorrow and just try to manage things on a day-to-day basis. If it possible to go fast I do, but I also know that it is very wearing on myself and on my boat. I need to preserve my boat. I would say that preservation is the one word to keep in mind on this round the world race. Initially I was scared, really scared of the cold, of having problems in the cold and not having the resources to fix them. I have also found a sea that is much more uncomfortable than I had expected. I thought I would have more moments of enjoyment. I have had moments, but it has been very difficult and challenging, particularly mentally. The seas have been truly chaotic and irregular. It is quite incredible. But I have discovered some stunning landscapes and a real sense of solitude. The fact that it is hard, it makes the solitude even more pronounced and the feeling of being all alone at the end of the earth. That is something that is not easy to live with but at the same time it is just so beautiful.”




                            Peyron was quizzed about life in the first edition of the race on which he finished second,
                            “ Are we scared of what we do not know or are we more scared of what we know? That is the question, and I was truly scared when I was sailing right up against the icebergs. I would count them, and it was a bit mad that we raced so far down, in the 60s, particularly Jean Van de Heede who faced a wall of white and had to head north for 24 hours to get out of it. We did sail slower. But I mean if you sailed into an iceberg at 10 / 12 knots it would still be like crashing into a cliff. It was truly scary but also one of the most incredible things ever, to have seen so many icebergs. Thankfully there are limitations now and they get changed and everything has moved continuously.”

                            Peyron spoke warmly of Le Cam and Seguin, racing side by side in fourth and fifth places,

                            “ Damien Seguin and Jean Le Cam know how to perfectly compensate for any deficits they might have in terms of physically or of age. They exploit, not by going fast all the time, but by using an economy of approach and looking after their material. That’s was is so beautiful about this Vendée Globe is that there are so many different ways of expressing themselves so differently, with different boats and different sailing styles.”

                            The decisions of the five strong International Jury regarding time compensations for Jean Le Cam, Yannick Bestaven and Boris Herrmann who were all involved in the rescue mission for Kevin Escoffier will be published on Wednesday.
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                            • #59
                              High Seas Sail Repair


                              TRACKER


                              Maxime Sorel has reported damage to two key sails on V and B Mayenne. He has made a difficult repair to his J3 but still has work to do on his J2.
                              On Saturday in challenging weather conditions he got to work….. “My sewing needles were flying, the boat was still surfing but I got the job done on this sail. Now I hope it's good. "

                              His team report that he then decided to tackle the J2 which was still set on its furler “The sea was not calming down. I still had my hydro generator concerns with a leak on the port one. I switched the two systems but during this the boat went out of control. Then I unrolled the J2 and climbed the mast. I unhooked the halyard and managed to lower the sail as best I could. My arms were completely paralyzed. I had completely underestimated the job. There were 18 knots of wind. And a sail of 100m2 is hard work on the deck in that wind.

                              Sorel is now waiting for further ideas of repairs from his team and the sailmakers after sending several photos.

                              “I'm totally burnt out. I need to rest. I don't have a lot of repair material. left. I'm just waiting to see if it's worth further work on the J2. I still need to keep some material in case my J3 has problems again. I am in doubt because it will not be easy to go well without this sail if it indeed it is irreparable. "

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





                              The three Vendée Globe leaders have the foot hard down on the accelerator, racing behind this low pressure system and so making good speeds and opening up the gap back to the chasing peloton which is now more than 200 miles behind. Charlie Dalin is doing his best to contain the highly motivated Thomas Ruyant who works constantly to find best speeds from his compromised IMOCA which lacks most of its port foil and Yannick Bestaven remains super quick. And now seven IMOCA’s have crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, young Ben Dutreux – the rookie from the Vendée region – is very happy to have crossed fourth.



                              "It’s amazing, I’m super happy to have passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin and to be where I am. I have to say that I am on it all the time, trimming, pushing all the time, working at the chart table. I had been struggling to rest fully lately, I couldn't let go, I got a little stressed when the boat was slower. " revealed the skipper of OMIA - Water Family on the 0400hrs call this morning. The young alumni of the La Solitaire du Figaro and the Tour Voile who is succeeding on a modest budget on his 2007 Farr design. Up with the main posse he racing alongside Jean Le Cam and Damien Seguin. All three are within 20 miles of each other after 36 days of racing.

                              “The first three will extend tonight we will be overtaken by the high pressure. You have to be fast all the time in this company and not hang around too much, ”added the Vendée skipper.

                              Monday in the Indian Ocean down under Australia looks industrious but profitable. Thomas Ruyant is satisfied to just keep up the pace and stay with leader Dalin who is 55 miles ahead.

                              “I have found solutions to deal with the lack of my port foil I play with the ballast a lot, I trim and push hard I add sail area when I can. I've had my share of struggles and now I am loving being in the south Seas ".




                              Pressing hard, one hand close to the pedestal winch ready for the next squall and one eye on the repeaters, the LinkedOut skipper spoke for a long time, his voice clear and cheerful. Ruyant is a happy man who is dreaming of the Pacific Ocean, big surfs and the gybe that will come to allow him to finally sail on his best side, the one with a foil.

                              Further back Miranda Merron is, like Ruyant, finding something to smile about this Monday morning despite the fog surrounding her. The British sailor has had hydro generator issues but seems confident in her repairs. This morning she sees her Campagne de France slipping along nicely ahead of a depression. She was settling down with a hot Earl Grey tea and a good hot porridge. Jérémie Beyou, meanwhile, has passed another boat and can raise a smile too, Charal working its way through the fleet.

                              Finally Fabrice Amedeo made landfall last night in Cape Town. He sent a message as soon as he arrived: "The place is incredible but impossible to enjoy: with this stop at the dock, it's where my Vendée Globe really comes to a halt and that hit me hard, when I was at sea, I was in the protective cocoon of this parallel world on the open sea. Here I am back on dry land. For now I am concentrating on the list of what I have to do to get the boat back in battle order. "

                              Miranda Merron said this morning, “ I am fine. I have recovered my sense of humour and good mood after a few days when they had left me, just as conditions are deteriorating, it is foggy and temperatures have dropped significantly so I have been sailing upwind in the Southern Ocean, can you imagine that? Anyway now I am a bit more reaching. Everything is fine. We had a good fight going on but I have been a bit slowed as I have had a bit less wind, being a bit further north compared to them, so less wind and not such a good angle. But I am happier to be further north than the rest of the fleet, that is my personal choice, but it is nice to be quite a few of us around, grouped together because other than us I don’t think there is a great deal of other human life. I am having porridge this morning with golden syrup and a spoonful of chocolate powder in it and a cup of Earl Grey tea which will warm me up.”
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                              • #60
                                Breaking: APIVA Port Rudder Damaged




                                Leader of the Vendée Globe since 23rd November Charlie Dalin has this evening reported damage to his port foil system. While sailing in the southern Indian Ocean some 900 miles south west of Tasmania at around 1800hrs UTC and leading the fleet by some 65 miles, Dalin heard a loud noise and immediately slowed the boat to assess the situation, discovering damage to his port foil system. Dalin called his technical team immediately. On first inspection, the APIVIA skipper noticed that the port foil system was damaged. He did not report any water ingress. He and his team are reviewing the level of damage and repair options.

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