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Vendée Globe Day 51: Back to reality

by Vendée Globe 28 Dec 2020 09:37 PST 28 December 2020

On the Vendée Globe front line the Christmas truce is over. Days of light winds and mild temperatures have been summarily replaced by 30-35 knot winds. Deep reefed sails are the order of the day. It is cold, miserable and wet with freezing South Pacific water sluicing the decks.

As the leading duo Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) and Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) pass Point Nemo today, the loneliest point on the Southern Ocean - the Furious Fifties offer a rude reminder why they are so called.

From Point Nemo it is nearly 2,000 miles to Cape Horn where deliverance waits. This stage, to the Horn, is about remaining prudent, preparing perfectly for the Cape and knowing the timing of the weather transitions as accurately as possible.

"There is so much contrast with yesterday I almost cannot remember how it was, I cannot remember yesterday it seems." Said seventh placed Boris Herrmann wistfully today. "Now we are back to a normal Southern Ocean ambience sailing at 17 knots in 30kts of breeze. We are dealing with a low pressure system and the contrast is just amazing."

On his 50th day at sea the German skipper, who stands a fighting chance of being the first 'Cape Horner' (he has been round three times) among a group of first timers at the Cape next weekend mused, "It takes a strong mind to take it all, you are always being thrown into new situations. Better not to think about it too much. Sometimes I think I think too much about the boat. If could let go a bit more I could sail a bit faster.... but looking up I am anxious all the time. In the bunk I am sleeping only 15 minutes. Maybe I should just let it go, and go faster."

He continues, "But I want to reach Cape Horn in one piece. I have a boat at 100% and very few of the others can say that. So let us get through the week without losing too many miles, but certainly without breaking anything."

Mike Golding, four times Vendée Globe racer, says this is one of the toughest parts of the course mentally, "But it is essential to keep doing what they have been doing, getting through each day, one day at a time, without pushing too hard, just staying in the rhythm and looking after the boat. The sense of anticipation grows and grows for those who have not been round the Horn before but there is so much can be gained and lost just after, it is important to be there in the best shape mentally and physically."

Golding adds, "In fact if there is a little more compression, as we might expect, then anyone in this main group can be on the podium in Les Sables d'Olonne. It is that open. Right now I am impressed by Boris and his approach and especially by Isabelle Joschke who has really come into her own. Like Boris she has a largely unbroken boat, she's in the play. And don't discount Jean Le Cam. He is 'steady Eddie', you never hear of his problems because whatever he deals with, he just gets on with.."

Joschke in fifth is still struggling with the cold, which she does not like at all, and like Herrmann is taking time to re-adjust to the rude return to fast, wet and hard sailing, "Last night it was really slamming and crashing, I even got seasick again because I was not used to the movement again." Heavily fatigued Joschke was trying to grab some rest before adding more sail area to her charge.

Rest was high on the agenda too for Benjamin Dutreux. The tenth placed 30 year old Vendée skipper of OMIA-Water Family has climbed the mast of his IMOCA to release his J2 headsail which had split near the top. The climb was extremely tough, after he reported that he was' thrown around like a rag doll being smashed between the sail and the mast'.

"And now I have to repair the sail and a few other things, so it is not good for my morale, really." Dutreux told the French Vendée Globe live show today, his face wracked with fatigue and stress.

Leader Yannick Bestaven was not short of wind - were he in need of any more puff to blow out his 48 candles on his birthday. He had 40 knots of wind at times in front of the depression though with crossed seas which made progress less than comfortable. But the Vendée Globe leader for 12 days has opened more than 50 miles on second placed Charlie Dalin over the last 24 hours. Maître CoQ IV's lead is now 133 miles over APIVIA which has been closer to the centre of the depression. Thomas Ruyant is third on LinkedOut, now 150 miles behind Dalin and 31 miles behind Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) who has consistently been the quickest of the top 10 today.

Rankings at 17H00 UTC:

PosSail NoSkipper / Boat NameDTF (nm)DTL (nm)
1 FRA 17Yannick Bestaven / Maître Coq IV8924.80
2 FRA 79Charlie Dalin / APIVIA9078.3153.4
3 FRA 59Thomas Ruyant / LinkedOut9203278.2
4 FRA 1000Damien Seguin / Groupe APICIL9234.8310
5 FRA 27Isabelle Joschke / MACSF9278.8354
6 FRA 01Jean Le Cam / Yes we Cam !9282.4357.6
7 FRA 53Maxime Sorel / V And B Mayenne9283.5358.6
8 MON 10Boris Herrmann / Seaexplorer ‑ Yacht Club De Monaco9289364.2
9 ITA 34Giancarlo Pedote / Prysmian Group9304379.2
10 FRA 09Benjamin Dutreux / OMIA ‑ Water Family9306.8382
11 FRA 18Louis Burton / Bureau Vallée 29448.1523.2
12 FRA 30Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X9738.1813.3
13 FRA 02Armel Tripon / L'Occitane en Provence9896971.1
14 FRA 49Romain Attanasio / Pure ‑ Best Western Hotels and Resorts9972.21047.4
15 SUI 7Alan Roura / La Fabrique10866.31941.5
16 FRA 14Arnaud Boissieres / La Mie Câline ‑ Artisans Artipôle10937.52012.7
17 GBR 777Pip Hare / Medallia10982.82058
18 FRA 8Jérémie Beyou / Charal11592.92668.1
19 FRA 92Stéphane Le Diraison / Time For Oceans11654.32729.5
20 ESP 33Didac Costa / One Planet One Ocean11715.82791
21 JPN 11Kojiro Shiraishi / DMG MORI Global One11896.22971.3
22 FRA 71Manuel Cousin / Groupe Sétin12120.23195.4
23 FRA 50Miranda Merron / Campagne de France12587.23662.3
24 FRA 83Clément Giraud / Compagnie du lit ‑ Jiliti12781.83856.9
25 FRA 72Alexia Barrier / TSE ‑ 4myplanet13163.44238.5
26 FIN 222Ari Huusela / Stark13393.54468.7
27 FRA 69Sébastien Destremau / Merci14030.25105.4
RET FRA 56Fabrice Amedeo / Newrest ‑ Art et Fenetres  
RET FRA 109Samantha Davies / Initiatives ‑ Coeur  
RET FRA 4Sébastien Simon / ARKEA PAPREC  
RET GBR 99Alex Thomson / HUGO BOSS  
RET FRA 85Kevin Escoffier / PRB  
RET FRA 6Nicolas Troussel / CORUM L'Épargne  

Find out more...

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