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Vendée Globe Day 38 morning update: Little victories and big disappointments

by Vendée Globe 15 Dec 2020 00:33 PST 15 December 2020
Vendée Globe © Yannick Bestaven / Maitre Coq

After race leader for more than three weeks Charlie Dalin reported damage to his port foil system on APIVIA yesterday evening and has been slowed to less than 6 kts dealing with the issue as best he can it is Thomas Ruyant who the Vendée Globe standings this morning.

But while all three leaders, Ruyant (LinkedOut) Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq), and Dalin (APIVIA) were within ten miles of each other this morning on the early rankings it was Ruyant who has been going fastest and looking set to capitalise when he resumed the lead he last held on 21st November.

Dalin called his team around 1800hrs UTC last night to report that he had heard a loud noise whilst he was reaching south eastwards at around 17-19kts of boatspeed. He immediately slowed APIVIA and saw damage to his port foil system, the extent of which has not been communicated by his team. As he deals with the situation he has lost all of the 65 nautical miles lead he had over the Maître Coq IV skipper Bestaven.

Ruyant suffered damage to his port foil too but has remained in the top three since he hit an object in the South Atlantic and had to cut a large part of it off on 26th November and, though compromised he has managed to stay with the leaders.

Ruyant's gains overnight are not just because Dalin has been slowed to less than six knots, but Bestaven also revealed this morning that he has just spent 90 minutes at the top of his mast repairing his J2, 'all terrain' headsail which has been damaged and out of action for more than a week. Sounding breathless but exuberant at his successful repair which was made at just the right time before heading into the south Pacific tomorrow or Thursday.

"I just came down from the mast! I'm sweaty but so happy. I didn't say anything to anyone, but it had been on my mind for days. I couldn't use my J2 which is the all-terrain sail which is more adaptable than the gennaker. I had to use my little gennaker, the boat has been on the edge for a long time, it was not at all comfortable and almost dangerous" confided Bestaven on his return from the top of the mast after cutting, patching, gluing his sail.

Although slowed noticeably this morning the top trio have been able to virtually double their lead over the chasing peloton, fourth placed Benjamin Dutreux now 330 miles behind Ruyant.

Dutreux, the young 30 year old Vendée Globe first timer, is keeping veteran Jean Le Cam at bay for the meantime in fourth, Le Cam just nine miles behind and in turn still almost alongside Damien Seguin.

Boris Herrmann has closed right up to Louis Burton and is challenging for seventh this morning. The German skipper said last night:

"I did not really have time to celebrate at Cape Leeuwin but it was certainly a good moment, but I am thinking I will save the celebrations for the second half of the race. This little high pressure has stopped us a bit at the corner of the exclusion zone and after my routings yesterday it showed it stopping all of us, including Damien and Jean in front of me and maybe there will be some regroupment but the models are never so accurate down here. So I stay open minded and there is nothing much to do about it, we can't go left or right and we have to wait till it passes. But we see a clear separation with Yannick - who was my compagnon de route - who I lost quite a bit to. I am regretting how many miles I lost to him but I am very happy for him he is doing such excellent and showing what he can do and I truly admire him. So at 300 miles or so the separation is more defined for a longer time and they will get away and so right now we will have to see in the second half of the Pacific if there are opportunities to come back but my routing shows us keeping this separation for as long as I can see on the weather file."

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