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J Composites 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Vendée Globe Day 36 morning update: Bestaven Best In the Indian

by Vendée Globe 13 Dec 2020 01:16 PST 13 December 2020
Yannick Bestaven- Photo - Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 © Maitre CoQ

Charlie Dalin is less than 50 miles to Cape Leeuwin and has been making more than 20kts on starboard gybe as he tries to open the gap on the two skippers who are chasing him, Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven who are racing almost alongside each other with a lateral separation now of only 20 miles.

Compromised on this gybe by his broken foil Ruyant on LinkedOut continues to make two or three knots slower than Bestaven's Maître Coq IV and so there seems every chance that Bestaven will be second by Cape Leeuwin when the leaders pass this morning.

At the Cape of Good Hope nearly two weeks ago Dalin's lead was 240 miles over Ruyant and Maître CoQ was 340 miles behind the yellow hulled Apivia and so Bestaven has been outstanding in the Indian Ocean on a boat he knows very well and has prepared well. He has had no significant breakdowns and has sailed a fast, smooth course not putting himself or his boat in undue danger in the Indian Ocean. And the Indian Ocean has been troublesome, more often than not with big crossed seas which have made regulating speed to fit the seas the most difficult aspect.

Bear in mind that Bestaven diverted to help with the search for Kevin Escoffier and so will be granted some time in compensation and he might well be considered a 'virtual' leader.

The leaders should be touching a low pressure system which will give them more wind and might give Dalin the chance to open miles back again on his rivals.

In eighth Boris Herrmann was slowed on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco during our night perhaps making the repairs to his J2 headsail that he has been waiting for the right time to do so, but he seems to be back up to speed and is back ten miles ahead of Isabelle Joschke this morning. For sure Herrmann should be able to gain back any lost miles of he can repair his workhorse J2 which he struggled without.

High pressure means unstable winds in different areas of the fleet, for Stéphane Le Diraison in 17th finding the right sail combination has been a problem which is not exclusive only to him. "It is a real headache" admitted Stéphane Le Diraison early this morning. "I just went upwind for a very short time and yesterday the wind was up and down from 10 to 30 knots I ended up nearly on my side several times. In front of him, Arnaud Boissières also spoke of very changeable wind conditions and thick fog he says you could cut with a knife.

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