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Vendée Globe Day 58: Fifth placed Dutreux leads second charge to Cape Horn

by Vendée Globe 4 Jan 09:55 PST 4 January 2021
Benjamin Dutreux passes Cape Horn in the Vendée Globe © Benjamin Dutreux #VG2020

With Benjamin Dutreux, the young Les Sables d'Olonne skipper passing Cape Horn this afternoon at 1452hrs UTC there are now five Vendée Globe skippers back in the Atlantic Ocean on the 7000 miles climb back to Les Sables d'Olonne where the winner could finish in the last week of January.

The 30 year old Dutreux passed the Cape in breezy conditions on his OMIA-Water Family this afternoon. Formerly Alex Thomson's Farr designed HUGO BOSS which finished third on the 2012-13 race, Dutreux's boat is the second non-foiler in sucession to round the infamous rock after Damien Seguin on Groupe APICIL passed at 0240hrs this morning.

But as a clear reminder of how close the race up the Atlantic will be in the coming days and weeks, and indeed how busy the finishes are likely to be, no fewer than five more solo skippers should round Cape Horn in the coming hours, all within 150 nautical miles of each other this Monday afternoon.

Deliverance from the 'big south' came for Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut very early this morning as he made third place at the Cape at 0040hrs UTC followed exactly two hours later by 42 year old twice Paralympic gold medallist Seguin. Both skippers were overjoyed on their release from the Southern Oceans, not least Ruyant who had to retire in 2016-17 when his boat nearly broke in half after hitting something south of New Zealand.

"My first Cape Horn, in fourth position too, it is crazy I cried many tears. I have arrived! " said the skipper of Groupe APICIL, moved and happy after 56 days and 13 hours of racing. Dutreux came next and will be followed by Louis Burton - the only skipper so far who has passed before, then Jean Le Cam on his seventh rounding, Herrmann on his fourth, Maxime Sorel, Giancarlo Pedote and Isabelle Joschke.

This evening and tonight the winds will build again to 40kts lashing the lonely South American rock: a powerful northwesterly flow will strengthen, generating gusts of over 40 knots and heavy seas. The lighthouse keeper on Hornos Island will be kept busy.

The lighthouse looks over the deadly stretch of water where 10,000 sailors are believed to have died in the 16th to 18th centuries when more than 800 different ships were wrecked or lost on the Drake Passage. The lighthouse keeper lives there with his family and they are the only inhabitants of the island, the position offered and managed by the Chilean Navy. Cape Horn was discovered in 1616 by Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire after whom the passage between Staten Island and the mainland is named.

Changed ambitions for Isabelle Joschke

Sunday afternoon the Franco-German sailor Isabelle Joschke suffered the failure of the hydraulic ram which cants the the keel of her IMOCA MACSF. She was lying in eighth place when the ram failed and has now dropped to 11th. She will have to sail the remainder of the race with her keel fixed in the central position therefore lacking the righting moment and power that the canting system gives. "I am moving into another dimension. I am disappointed, I am so sorry to lose the competitive ambition of my race", she confided to her technical team. Joschke had already recently lost her wind wand and torn her gennaker, but is looking forwards to her first passage of Cape Horn this evening or tomorrow morning.

Slowed and strategic

The passage north is a tricky conundrum for the leaders as they look to break through or round a high pressure system which blocks the route north of the Falklands. Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) leads by 195 miles from Charlie Dalin (Apivia) while Thomas Ruyant is trying a more direct, westerly route.

Quotes:

Louis Burton, BUREAU VALLÉE 2:

"There was a lot of work to do on the boat before I gybed. The wind will no doubt get stronger towards Cape Horn. I was on the attack, everything was fine, when the fuse holding the downwind rudder broke. I had just rolled my headsail and repaired the rudder before you called. There really is something every day, it's incredible... I'm very happy, I have felt very supported since Macquarie, it has really helped me a lot to work hard, to continue in the fight with the others, even if after Macquarie I was very far behind! I am still very motivated. The South Atlantic won't be easy, we'll have to keep trucking along in light winds, and no doubt change our mentality, that is to say no longer be in a mode where preserving the boat is the priority."

Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA - Water Family:

"It's moving fast. I have 27/35 knots of wind at the moment. It's quite strong but the sea is smoothing out a little. The boat is surfing a lot, it's not totally unpleasant but it is a bit stressful. There are huge squalls, I'm trying to anticipate them so as to avoid the boat pounding and potentially breaking anything. I have two reefs in my mainsail and as I don't have a J2, I have put the reacher on: it's a small downwind sail useful in heavy weather. I can't wait to pass Cape Horn, it will be my first time. It's been pretty full on these last few days, and I've done a lot of gybes. Every manoeuvre is quite stressful. After that, I can't afford to rest on my laurels because the road ahead is long, but Cape Horn is a great stage of the race. All things being well I should pass it tonight. The wind is accelerating at a great lick along the coast, so I'm trying to pass a little further offshore. I'm going to make a little more of a curve."

Isabelle Joschke, MACSF:

"I've had a lot of bad surprises over the last three days. I lost my last airfoil, my little gennaker tore last night and now my keel ram has just broken, which means that I will have to continue the race with the keel stuck in the axis of the boat. It's a big loss of potential, a big loss of speed for the boat. And of course the keel, while giving stability, is also a safety tool. In a little over 24 hours, I'm going to pass Cape Horn, with very mixed feelings. The joy and satisfaction of having achieved this goal, of getting out of the Southern Ocean, together with the huge disappointment of having to start another race in a sense, which I didn't think I'd have to do at all, but I will continue to give my best all the same."

Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL:

"There is bound to be a bit of a comedown. This passage marks the end of the great Southern Ocean, the beginning of the ascent. It's normal that it does something to you, especially when it's your first time. I'm imagining myself again as a kid reading stories, living vicariously through the Vendée Globe.. And now I have done it! It was quite intense. If someone had told me in Les Sables d'Olonne that I was going to pass Cape Horn in 4th position, I would have signed up straight away. I realise that I'm having a great race, but the next stage isn't going to be easy. I'm going to have to try and do as well as I've done so far. When I passed Cape Leeuwin, I was already in 4th position. I am particularly happy with this consistency. I gybed to move slightly more towards the East. It's not easy to pick your route too much because the weather models don't really match. I didn't want to pass too close to the coast in the strait because the winds are too erratic. I'm not going to see the result of my most recent choices right away. We'll see. The most important thing is that I am comfortable with what I am doing and I am well on my way!"

Rankings at 17H00 UTC:

PosSail NoSkipper / Boat NameDTF (nm)DTL (nm)
1 FRA 17Yannick Bestaven / Maître Coq IV64380
2 FRA 79Charlie Dalin / APIVIA6642204
3 FRA 59Thomas Ruyant / LinkedOut6770.4332.4
4 FRA 1000Damien Seguin / Groupe APICIL6851.8413.8
5 FRA 09Benjamin Dutreux / OMIA ‑ Water Family7046.8608.8
6 FRA 18Louis Burton / Bureau Vallée 27070.8632.8
7 FRA 01Jean Le Cam / Yes we Cam !7140.3702.2
8 MON 10Boris Herrmann / Seaexplorer ‑ Yacht Club De Monaco7143.5705.5
9 FRA 53Maxime Sorel / V And B Mayenne7157.9719.9
10 ITA 34Giancarlo Pedote / Prysmian Group7186.7748.7
11 FRA 27Isabelle Joschke / MACSF7241.9803.9
12 FRA 30Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X7454.41016.4
13 FRA 02Armel Tripon / L'Occitane en Provence75651127
14 FRA 49Romain Attanasio / Pure ‑ Best Western Hotels and Resorts7737.31299.3
15 GBR 777Pip Hare / Medallia8879.82441.8
16 SUI 7Alan Roura / La Fabrique8944.72506.7
17 FRA 14Arnaud Boissieres / La Mie Câline ‑ Artisans Artipôle8972.72534.7
18 FRA 8Jérémie Beyou / Charal91802742
19 FRA 92Stéphane Le Diraison / Time For Oceans93862948
20 ESP 33Didac Costa / One Planet One Ocean9458.13020.1
21 JPN 11Kojiro Shiraishi / DMG MORI Global One9657.23219.2
22 FRA 71Manuel Cousin / Groupe Sétin10059.83621.8
23 FRA 50Miranda Merron / Campagne de France10603.94165.9
24 FRA 83Clément Giraud / Compagnie du lit ‑ Jiliti10679.54241.5
25 FRA 72Alexia Barrier / TSE ‑ 4myplanet11610.45172.4
26 FIN 222Ari Huusela / Stark11808.35370.3
27 FRA 69Sébastien Destremau / Merci13260.46822.4
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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