Vendée Globe: Hurdling the Indian Ocean
Published on December 9th, 2020
(December 9, 2020; Day 32) – For the meantime the worst of the Indian Ocean is behind them and Vendée Globe leaders Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant can contemplate a relatively smooth ride to Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, now 1250 nautical miles, or about three days, ahead of Dalin
Dalin, some 250 miles in front and, last night, more than 120 miles to the south of his nearest rival Ruyant took the worst of the Indian Ocean storm. Racing under triple reefed main and for much of the time no headsail at all, or a tiny storm jib, the solo skipper of Apivia saw gusts to 55kts and huge seas through the small hours of last night.
Winds have eased down to a more manageable 30kts and the two pacemakers will be into much more favourable SW’ly 20-25 kts breezes to take them to the second of the Vendée Globe’s Great Capes, Leeuwin.
Ruyant passed seven miles north of tiny, remote Amsterdam island early this morning, following a routing which kept him out of the worst of the strong depression. “I didn’t really have a choice, Charlie (Dalin) had enough of a lead to stay ahead of this front for longer but for me that would have been too hard.”
The skipper of LinkedOut, who was winner of the Route du Rhum in Class40 in 2010, saw a couple of hours with gusts to 60 knots then had a to make a difficult but controlled gybe in 40kts.
“I’m glad I passed this last big hurdle in the Indian Ocean,” Ruyant said. “Of course anything can always happen and we are not immune to anything, but that should be the last big weather phenomenon before we get to the Pacific.”
Racing to the North of the Kerguelen Islands, on the western side of this gigantic low pressure system which is racing at 25 knots east across the Pacific, the wind is still strong for the sailors chasing the leading duo.
At 45° South, Louis Burton, the most southerly of all, continues to trade the 3rd place position with Yannick Bestaven, while Damien Seguin has slipped to seventh while taking time to solve electrical problems that cause blackouts and most distressingly the disconnection of his autopilot and battery charging problems.
“it is the size of the waves and their direction that dictate what you do,” admits Seguin. “You have to work so hard just to take care of yourself, otherwise, it becomes unlivable. You reduce sails just to be able to eat and drink.”
For race favorite Jérémie Beyou, who returned to the start harbor for repairs, there is now the chance to finally start making inroads into the fleet with his fast foiling latest generation Charal. After re-starting nine days after the fleet left Les Sables d’Olonne, Beyou is 130 miles behind 27th placed Sébastien Destremau (Merci) and should pass in the next 24-36 hours.
Ranking – 21:00 (GMT)*
1. Charlie DALIN, APIVIA – 14624.0 nm DTF
2. Thomas RUYANT, LinkedOut – 207.45 nm DTL**
3. Yannick BESTAVEN, Maître CoQ IV – 289.52 nm DTL
4. Louis BURTON, BUREAU VALLEE 2 – 309.02 nm DTL
5. Benjamin DUTREUX, OMIA-WATER FAMILY – 385.26 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTF – Distance to Lead
* Four skippers assisted in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier which began on Nov. 30. Their ranking order that day as of 14:00 was Escoffier (3rd), Jean Le Cam (4th), Yannick Bestaven (6th), Sébastien Simon (7th), and Boris Herrmann (8th). The Race Jury will now determine the credit for each skipper to reestablish their ranking in the race.
** Ruyant damaged port foil on Nov. 24 at 02:00.
The Vendée Globe is the only sailing race round the world that’s solo, non-stop, and without assistance, and it was all systems go for the 9th edition on November 8. Beginning in 1989 with 13 entries, the start line in 2020 had 33 skippers taking off from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
The development of the IMOCA Class toward foiling will see these boats hurl themselves around the world, teetering on carbon skates through inhospitable regions, chasing the record set in 2016-17 by Armel le Cléac’h of 74:03:35:46.
Nov. 16, 2020 – Nicolas TROUSSEL, CORUM L’EPARGNE – dismasted
Nov. 28, 2020 – Alex THOMSON, HUGO BOSS – rudder damage
Nov. 30, 2020 – Kevin ESCOFFIER, PRB – hull damage (sunk)
Dec. 4, 2020 – Sébastien SIMON, ARKEA PAPREC – foil damage
Dec. 5, 2020 – Sam DAVIES, Initiatives-Cœur – keel damage (collision)
1989-90: 13 boats at the start
1992-93: 15 boats
1996-97: 15 boats
2000-01: 24 boats
2004-05: 20 boats
2008-2009: 30 boats
2012-2013: 20 boats
2016-2017: 29 boats
2020-2021: 33 boats
Fabrice AMEDEO: NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES
Romain ATTANASIO: PURE – BEST WESTERN
Alexia BARRIER: TSE – 4MYPLANET
Yannick BESTAVEN: MAÎTRE COQ IV
Jérémie BEYOU: CHARAL
Arnaud BOISSIÈRES: LA MIE CÂLINE – ARTISANS ARTIPÔLE
Louis BURTON: BUREAU VALLÉE 2
Didac COSTA: ONE PLANET ONE OCEAN
Manuel COUSIN: GROUPE SÉTIN
Clarisse CREMER: BANQUE POPULAIRE X
Charlie DALIN: APIVIA
Samantha DAVIES: INITIATIVES-CŒUR
Sébastien DESTREMAU: MERCI
Benjamin DUTREUX: OMIA – WATER FAMILY
Kevin ESCOFFIER: PRB
Clément GIRAUD: COMPAGNIE DU LIT / JILITI
Pip HARE: MEDALLIA
Boris HERRMANN: SEA EXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO
Ari HUUSELA: STARK
Isabelle JOSCHKE: MACSF
Jean LE CAM: YES WE CAM !
Stéphane LE DIRAISON: TIME FOR OCEANS
Miranda MERRON: CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE
Giancarlo PEDOTE: PRYSMIAN GROUP
Alan ROURA: LA FABRIQUE
Thomas RUYANT: LINKEDOUT
Damien SEGUIN: GROUPE APICIL
Kojiro SHIRAISHI: DMG MORI
Sébastien SIMON: ARKEA – PAPREC
Maxime SOREL: V AND B – MAYENNE
Alex THOMSON: HUGO BOSS
Armel TRIPON: L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE
Nicolas TROUSSEL: CORUM L’ÉPARGNE
Source: Vendée Globe