Vendée Globe: The chase continues

Published on January 15th, 2021

(January 15, 2021; Day 69) – Racing some 35 miles off the NE corner of Brasil, at Recife this afternoon, speeds remain very even between the top trio of Vendée Globe boats, with German skipper Boris Herrmann having moved into third place overnight.

The skipper of Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco has modulated his attack with the same patience and diligence that has ensured that he is playing with a full deck of cards, racing an uncompromised IMOCA 60 at very close to 100 per cent of its potential after he carefully protected it during a very tough month in the Southern Oceans.

The German ocean racer rounded Cape Horn in tenth with a deficit of 805 nautical miles on the leader Yannick Bestaven.

Herrmann, the 37 year old skipper from Hamburg, has become a household name in Germany, his race being featured on main national news channels each evening in his home country that has no history at all of solo ocean racing. He has made steady inroads into the margins which French duo Louis Burton in second and Charlie Dalin, the leader have built in recent days.

Herrmann has been slightly quicker thanks in no small part to the power of his big, 2020 generation foil set which he fitted to the Seaexplorer Yacht Clu de Monaco in March last year, and his choice to stay slightly east – offshore – where the moderate E’ly trade wind has been more even and consistent.

British Figaro solo racer Will Harris, Herrmann’s co-skipper on the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 and a member of his race team, believes he can keep making small gains.

“I think he is going well, mostly as fast as Charlie at least and Louis,” observed Harris. “I think Thomas Ruyant (in fourth) is struggling a bit more now for pace and Boris is well positioned.”

Herrman has made 60 miles back on leader Dalin since yesterday morning and while the gains have stabilized meantime, Harris believes these small incremental gains should continue.

But Harris, who was a meteo expert on the last Ocean Race, agrees that the race will not be decided in the coming days.

“I think the race will be decided in the North Atlantic weather systems and especially whoever gets to a cold front we are seeing at The Azores around the 23rd January,” Harris notes. “They will probably see a fair bit of wind there and so it will be quite fast to the finish but it will be mostly downwind and so quite exciting. But until then it is very much a speed race after The Doldrums in the NE’ly trade winds, a week in the trade winds it will be small gains and losses in terms of boat speed.

“Boris does look to be in quite good shape, he has been consistently gaining miles and we do see him pushing harder now, he is in a good place. If he can keep gaining the same amount of miles then over a few days that can mount up nicely.

“Boris definitely handled the South well. He always had a bit less sail area than the others and there were plenty of us saying ‘come on Boris, push it harder’ but the benefit is now, he sailed smart and safely and is in good shape. It is not so much a Figaro race now in the sense that the Figaro really is about all or nothing for relatively short periods of time.

“The Vendée Globe is very much about planning and knowing how you want to be at 40 days at 60 days and then being able to step the game up and that has been Boris strategy all along. And so I think he is in good shape and when we watch on the dashboard (https://tinyurl.com/y5ujy4lk) we can see he is pressing harder progressively.”

Previous leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) is now sixth at 125 nm behind leader Dalin. In fifth Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) is very much in the match at 82 nm from Dalin and just behind Herrmann’s windward hip, but with his older – daggerboard design – is not able to match the foilers’ speeds, making around 1.5 to 2 knots slower.

Ranking – 21:00 (GMT)*
1. Charlie DALIN, APIVIA – 3645.54 nm DTF
2. Louis BURTON, BUREAU VALLEE 2 – 24.78 nm DTL
3. Boris HERRMANN, SEAEXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO – 38.95 nm DTL
4. Thomas RUYANT, LinkedOut – 74.64 nm DTL**
5. Damien SEGUIN, GROUPE APICIL – 81.71 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead

* Time awards given to Yannick Bestaven, Jean Le Cam, and Boris Herrmann for their participation in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier will be applied when the skippers finish. – Details
** Damaged port foil on Nov. 24 at 02:00.

Race detailsBoat typesTrackerRankingYouTube

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, and held every four years, 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.

2020-21 Attrition
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)
Dec. 11, 2020 – Fabrice AMEDEO, NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES – computer failure
Jan. 9, 2021 – Isabelle JOSCHKE, MACSF – keel ram failure

Participation history:
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

2020-21 Entries
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

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