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Vendée Globe Day 65 morning update: The Wall

by Vendée Globe 10 Jan 23:21 PST 11 January 2021
Vendée Globe © Stéphane Maillard / Bureau Vallée

Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and the chasing pack have continued to reduce their deficit behind leader Yannick Bestaven as the Maître Coq IV skipper finds himself upwind, closer to the Brazilian coast trying to be first to breach the wall of light winds that is the Cabo Frio cold front.

Dalin leads the advancing pack which is looking to find enough wind to sail through the phenomenon, 400 miles off the coast while Bestaven is trying to knit his way upwind some 120 miles closer to the shore. The skipper of Apivia has seen his gains continue to the point that he was 98 miles behind Maître Coq this morning and still making 16 knots compared with 6.5 for the leader.

The wall runs from about 400 miles offshore and stretches east for about 1800 miles and at the moment it is about 350 miles wide. Closer to the coast the breeze is NNW closer to the coast which is Bestaven is sailing upwind on port tack in, and in the high pressure system itself the wind is SSW'ly.

Dalin and the chasers will cross this in lighter, more variable SSW'ly wind. Thomas Ruyant is very much on Dalin's line while further offshore - about 80 miles - Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) have continued to gain.

"I love to wait and watch the leaderboard. I'm totally addicted to it, I wait for updates like a child waits for Santa Claus. I look at the trajectory of those in front, I try to see how I could pick up some more, and it is exceptional: I did not enjoy anything like this pleasure four years ago! " chuckled Louis Burton this morning. Four years ago he was very much on his own climbing the Atlantic.

"I'm in good shape: I changed my watermaker. The previous one was giving me 'disgusting' water, and I was starting to have physical problems. it is now much better. When you come back up these Atlantic waters, after having sailed past Antarctica, you have the impression of sailing on the Bay of Morbihan... which is weird since you don't have that impression at all during the descent. There are still a lot of uncertainties about what we will face tomorrow night, this permanent cold front. It can go well or it can go wrong. My foils are in good condition, and I have the ambition to continue to climb slowly and get to the entrance to the doldrums, being satisfied with the work done ".

If Charlie Dalin made the biggest gain over Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) last night, the rest of the top 10 won between 45 and 60 miles on the leader. This trend is expected to continue throughout the day.

Approximately 300 miles behind Maxime Sorel (496.6 miles from the leader), Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence) and Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) negotiate a high pressure cell which blocks their way and they are upwind.

Approaching Cape Horn this morning Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle), Alan Roura (La Fabrique), Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Pip Hare (Medallia) still have pretty tough weather as Jérémie Beyou, who will cross Cape Horn for the third time in four years, explain, "It took me a long time to get to my first one, it was during the last Vendée Globe, then I did it again in the Volvo Ocean Race. And both times I saw the rock. This will probably not be the case this time: a secondary depression is emerging in our North, we will move away from it. But I won't be sorry to leave this Pacific, which has been a real pain". The return to apparently more paved roads should take place in the afternoon.

Meantime Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) who abandoned with her keel problem has another 12 hours to endure in the low pressure zone before reaching lighter winds which will allow her and her team to further assess the situation and prepare a plan to sail to the most suitable port.

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