Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race update: A turn of the screw

by Julia Huvé 7 Jul 2020 14:32 PDT 7 July 2020
Jérémie Beyou on Charal leads the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race © Jérémie Beyou / Charal

Beyou (Charal) has snatched control of the fleet this Tuesday after skirting around the western edge of a low pressure system, which shook up the bulk of the fleet throughout the night.

Committed to the same course, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is 2nd, whilst previous race leader Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), doesn't appear to have reaped the rewards of his gamble on an option due north. Further down the leaderboard now after being forced to make further repairs, Kévin Escoffier has lost some ground.

The second low pressure system, which the Vendée - Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne fleet tackled yesterday, proved to be a tough nut to crack for some. Indeed, still the leader of the fleet on Monday, Thomas Ruyant believed the way out lay to the north in a passage coloured by breeze, speed and the likely negotiation of one tricky passage... A tempting option then. With a stormy night on the cards, Thomas Ruyant really thought his daring gamble would pay off. Alas, at the end of this breezy spell of 30-knot winds, gusting to 35, a ridge of high pressure sprawled across his route, dishing out heavy penalties.

Meantime, Jérémie Beyou and Charlie Dalin played the comfort card in a very high-speed dash around the low pressure system and came out on top. This morning, the skipper of Charal had moved up to the front of the pack, the solo sailor on Apivia not far behind as her skipper explains: "We had to deal with some strong wind again last night. There's a lumpy sea and the succession of wind shifts are giving us cross seas. My rivals had closed on me, but we're beginning to take different options. We'll see which of them pays off in a few days' time. I'm not getting on too badly for my first time in solo format. Let's hope it lasts! Apivia is slamming the whole time. There isn't really a comfortable point of sail where we can calm things down a bit, especially when the seas are heavy, but that's part and parcel of our job. With the speed comes discomfort, and I'm ready to pay the price if it means I can go faster". Kévin Escoffier loses ground.

Hanging onto the coat-tails of the top trio of brand-new IMOCAs, Kévin Escoffier, 4th yesterday, had lost some ground this Tuesday morning. In the very light airs of the ridge of high pressure, the skipper of PRB slowed, braked, stopped and even 'moonwalked' backwards for a while (at 9 knots)! However, it proved to be beneficial since the skipper not only managed to consolidate the temporary repair on his mainsail, which he'd managed to puncture the day before, but he also completed a partial repair of his mainsheet track bulkhead, after noting that it had separated. He intends to complete the latter repair during the next calm spell.

Really raising his game with every passing hour, Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco) has hoisted himself up into fourth place, ahead of Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), who was being given a rough ride in the storm yesterday but remains solid in fifth place ahead of Samantha Davies (Initiatives Cœur), who is also posting a strong performance. In 7th place, Kévin Escoffier (PRB) has managed to squeeze himself in between the British skipper and Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X), now 8th. Evidently, the female trio are certainly going to be worth watching in the upcoming Vendée Globe!On the softly, softly up to Unesco

With the leaders exiting the low pressure system and then negotiating the ridge of high pressure and its calm winds, the top trio has managed to break away from the rest of the fleet now. Boris Herrmann laments a deficit of 35.9 miles in relation to Jérémie Beyou, but how long will this split last? The forecasts indicate that the light airs will soon make their presence felt, likely forcing the first three boats onto a long arched course out to the west at low speed to make the IOC-Unesco mark at 62 degreesN 25W, to the south-west of Iceland. The winds will also be light for the chasing pack, but their trajectory may be more direct, potentially reshuffling the cards. Nothing is certain in the world of offshore racing of course and the weather may well play out differently for the various runners and riders in this IMOCA fleet. Watch this space...

Quotes from the boats:

Isabelle Joschke (MACSF), 5th
"I clearly didn't expect this. It's fabulous, but equally it's not simple. I'm as surprised as anyone about my provisional 5th place. Conditions were very trying last night. It was impressive. I even decided to ease off the pace because it was unbearable. Out on the water, it was quite indescribable. The boat was going too fast for me, I couldn't bear to be aboard anymore. That didn't last long, it calmed down, which was fortunate because I was wondering how I was going to stand it for such a long time. Something clicked during my sail training back in January and February, in the depths of the winter. I set sail all on my own and racked up a massive amount of experience, without which I clearly wouldn't have been able to keep up this pace".

Maxime Sorel (V and B - Mayenne), 10th "The first 24 hours, I played it safe so as not to damage the boat. They were boat-breaking seas. I've managed to keep up the rhythm, albeit a little outpaced by my playmates up front. For the last two days, I've been rehoisting the sail area and incorporating some tactics in the Irish Sea, which have been rewarded in part. The seas are less boat-breaking now and it's safer. In the sea, the boat barely has time to land before she's taking off again. I'm beginning to stoke her back up now. There are a lot of foilers making fast headway and I'm not unhappy to be in the thick of things".Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence), retirement (cracks in the bow stringers).

"We're in good spirits and on the up again. The disappointment has been digested so it's onwards and upwards now. Seeing the boat injured, retiring her, having to turn back and retrace my steps across the battlefield are all part and parcel of an ambitious project when you're setting sail on a new boat. We still have time to do some great things, it's not so bad. It wasn't the noise that alerted me to the damage as it's noisy the whole time. I've been constantly doing the rounds of the area that was damaged last month (the bow), which is when I noticed the cracking. In the early hours, I saw the two stringers with fairly clear-cut cracks. We'd planned to put the boat in for a substantial refit so as to reinforce the boat as a whole - all the new boats are reinforcing their hull bottoms -, and these initial passages are showing that, with flight added to the mix, we are discovering forces we didn't know about before. We are trail-blazers. Everyone is advancing step by step. I'm returning to La Trinité-sur-mer, where the team is waiting for me with the same energy and the same desire (as in late June for the express repair). We're counting on a refit of four weeks at least, so we can set off again in late August in a bid to qualify for the Vendée Globe".

Retirements: Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence), Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL), Sébastien Simon (ARKÉA PAPREC)

Find out more at www.imoca.org/en/races/imoca-globe-series/vendee-arctique-les-sables-d-olonne

Related Articles

The Ocean Race Europe Leg 3 Day 2
Breakaway moves deliver mixed results The 12 international teams competing in The Ocean Race Europe have been dealing with light and incalcitrant breezes on their first night at sea after setting off yesterday on the inaugural event's third and final leg from Alicante, Spain to Genova, Italy. Posted on 14 Jun
PlanetSail: The Ocean Race Europe Leg 2
40 knots on the nose! It was a belter of a leg. With a forecast for 30kts on the nose and wind against tide, the Gibraltar Strait provided a sharp focus for the leg from Cascais to Alicante. Posted on 13 Jun
The Ocean Race Europe Leg 3: Place your bets!
The third and final offshore leg of the race sees the fleet bound for Genoa This afternoon, the twelve teams competing in The Ocean Race Europe (VO65 and IMOCA) took the start from Alicante of the third and final offshore leg of the race bound for Genoa. Posted on 13 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team battles light winds in Leg 3
Currently tied for first place with nine points 11th Hour Racing Team set off on the final leg of the inaugural Ocean Race Europe, from Alicante, Spain, to Genoa, Italy. Currently tied for first place with nine points, the result on Leg 3 will be decisive for the Team's chances for overall success. Posted on 13 Jun
The Ocean Race Europe - All for one - One for all
The IMOCA60 fleet is the epitome of a development class As the IMOCA60 fleet swings to the breeze that sweeps across the harbour in Alicante it is impossible to miss just how different all five boats are. The very nature of these radical looking 60 footers makes them the epitome of a development class. Posted on 13 Jun
The Ocean Race Europe - Tied at the top
Ahead of Sunday start of all-important final leg to Genova The 12 international crews competing in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe will leave Alicante, Spain on Sunday June 13 bound for Genova, Italy, on the final stage of the new three-leg offshore event. Posted on 12 Jun
LinkedOut in first
With one offshore race and one coastal race till to be sailed in The Ocean Race Europe When LinkedOut crossed the Stage 2 finish line into Alicante, Spain Thomas Ruyant and his crew delivered their first victory for the skipper from the north of France. Posted on 12 Jun
Vendée Globe heroes join Rolex Fastnet Race
The race is a qualifier for November's Transat Jacques Vabre Almost six months after they competed in the world's most brutal race, the singlehanded non-stop lap of the planet that is the Vendée Globe, many of the IMOCA fleet will be returning to the race course for the first time in August's Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 10 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team clinches 3rd place in Leg 2
A tense finish to Leg 2 of The Ocean Race Europe It was a tense finish to Leg 2 of The Ocean Race Europe with 11th Hour Racing Team clinching the final podium spot after an epic battle from Cascais, Portugal to Alicante, Spain. Posted on 9 Jun
Ruyant dominates The Ocean Race Europe Leg 2
French skipper hunted down a long-awaited first victory on his blue and white IMOCA After two of the three offshore legs in the inaugural staging of The Ocean Europe, three IMOCA teams are tied on points at the top of leaderboard, with just one more offshore leg to Genoa to come, and then what looks like being a decisive coastal race. Posted on 9 Jun
Selden 2020 - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif BottomSea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTER