Racing 170 miles offshore of Porto Seguro, Brasil any gains are small and hard won among the leading pack of the Vendée Globe as they climb northwards in a modest 12-15kts trade wind.
Charlie Dalin (Apivia) has managed to be consistently slightly faster than second placed Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and his now 20 miles ahead of the skipper from Saint Malo who is racing the boat which won the last Vendée Globe in January 2017.
Burton is to leeward and just astern of the yellow hulled Guillaume Verdier design which Dalin is racing while third placed Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) is inshore. The leading trio are progressing all the time into slightly stronger wind which is allowing them to stretch slowly but steadily ahead of the rest of the group. In fourth Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) is not matching the leaders’ pace with his truncated foil and is six miles behind Bestaven in terms of DTF.
On the call to Race HQ Bestaven reports this morning,
“The trade winds are weak in general there are 12 13 knots but they are peppered with squalls and you accelerate then slow and so there is a lot of trimming and adjustments to go well and maintain your averages you have to be on it. You have to be ready to ease the mainsail as it gets up to 18 knots, it varies from 10 to 18kts and at TWA 50 ° in direction, you had better be ready to deal with it.”
He continues, “I sleep and try to recover to be in good shape for the future for when I will need to be on it to really push. I go back to the bunk, as soon as it is stable, the alarms ring as soon as things change the wakes me up. Maître Coq is in great shape, all of it, it is not very complicated.”
Speaking of his losing 435 miles lead in the approaches to and in the South Atlantic convergence zone he said, “In terms of morale it is hard, that's for sure and so you have to look ahead, it's true that I had the impression of not being lucky at all I was first to be stopped and for the longest, obviously and I could not be in the east to control everyone in the east, I was stuck. They have the little offset with the sustained wind and now they are to the east. We did not have the same weather in the cold front.”
“Right now it is about getting to Recife and after that the Doldrums will pass quickly. I see about 13-14 days sailing to Les Sables d’Olonne.”
In sixth Germany’s Boris Herrmann is working hard on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco to reduce the deficit to Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL) who is 35 miles further offshore. All the time the wind is just on the margin for full, consistent fast foiling, the pressure being up and down with little gusty squalls.
185 miles NE of the Falklands Islands Pip Hare is making good speeds in moderate winds now just on 100 miles behind Alan Roura whilst Jéremie Beyou has passed Arnaud Boissières to now hold 14th place but Beyou’s next ‘target’ would be 13th placed Romain Attanasio who is the best part of 1000 miles further north up the Atlantic.
Japanese competitor Kojiro Shiraishi was the third skipper to round Cape Horn during yesterday rounding at 1703hrs UTC after Stéphane Le Diraison at 1303hrs and Didac Costa at 1602hrs
Shiraishi said, “The Cape Horn is very far so we can't see it from here.It's a miracle! I cannot believe it! When my main sail ripped apart I thought it was the end. Thank to the team and thanks to everyone's supporting me I was able to come this far! Thank you very much.It's a miracle!”
Cover photo © Jean-Marie Liot / AleA / Maître CoQ
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