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Vendée Globe to Cape Horn

Vendée Globe to Cape Horn

Damien Seguin ‘I am following my own route’

Damien Seguin “The NW’ly wind is steadily dropping: it’s starting to drop below twenty knots. I’m a bit surprised to see Apivia heading north because she was on the same level as me before… Personally, I’m going my own route and I get the impression that Jean (Le Cam) is doing something similar to me. There are good reasons to be satisfied with what I am doing. Anyway, I keep track of the competitors and the routes they are taking, in order to know their average speeds and bearings, and that allows me to cross-check this data against my own analysis.

The last 36 hours have been quite difficult to navigate, with very rough seas and a lot of wind. But I managed to get out of my predicament: I sailed cleanly and was able to launch a series of gybes in thirty knots of wind. I am delighted to be third! I must pass Cape Horn on Sunday morning! At the moment it seems quite complicated with the low pressure system coming from the north, but there are still around 1,500 miles to go and various conditions to face before getting there. But I am hoping to get past Cape Horn for the first time without much of a fight …

In theory, Yannick (Bestaven) should be more exposed to high winds than we are when passing Cape Horn. But we have to be prepared for this bottleneck of wind and current that is expected. I can’t let it turn into a bad experience. I had been told that the Pacific was mostly filled with very strong surf, but so far I haven’t had any of that! Today looks pretty good: in fact, for us, night is approaching. And we’re heading straight for Cape Horn, with no wind in sight today. And I have a small gap ahead of my competitors, Jean (Le Cam) and Benjamin (Dutreux).

I still have some things to do on the boat because we have been in the water for a long time! Nights are short here and it’s mostly dark, but it’s hard to get into a rhythm as we’re still heading east. But right now, the weather is still pretty nice. ”

A varied menu for the Drake Passage

Every Vendée Globe is different. And in the case of this edition compared to 2016-17, history does not repeat itself. In 2016, Armel Le Cléac’h passed Cape Horn after 47 days at sea and this time the current leader, Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV), turned left out of the Pacific after 55 days. And four years ago, second-place finisher Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) was almost 600 miles from Le Cléac’h and third-place Jérémie Beyou was almost 1,500 miles behind.
Right now there are eleven lone sailors in less than 500 miles, and the platoon of nine was 130 miles yesterday.

And in 2016 Le Cléac’h came back with a cool and moderate SW’ly, this time the leader is expected to have a strong NW’ly at Drake Passage as he circles Cape Horn.

It appears that the passage of the depression will give the leaders a strong NW’ly of around 35kts for the first three, or maybe five, before the wind turns to a chilly and moderate SW’ly for the second part of the hunting party.

Meanwhile, leader Yannick Bestaven runs east about 50 miles north of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone and just jibe northeast with a 150 nautical mile lead over Charlie Dalin (Apivia), who has Damien Seguin ( Groupe Apicil) about 40 miles away in third. But in the peloton the routes will be different, some will approach from the north such as the projection of Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) now in fourth or Maxime Sorel (V and B-Mayenne) to arrive with the track of the depression, others seem to choose. for zigzags through the ZEA such as Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) or Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) and behind them Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) or Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2). There seem to be many different routes to the Horn today.

And on the approach to the Horn, the “end of the tunnel” is not going to be easy. The center of the depression will be a windless bubble that may well affect the unfortunate ones of the chasing group. But sure the first day of 2021 seems quite difficult. And with 80 to 95% cloud cover and sometimes intermittent torrential rain, sleet and hail, it won’t be pleasant. The great swell of the Pacific will mix with waves that sometimes break more than six meters, so the release of the largest ocean on Earth will be well deserved. And the bad does not go away once Cape Horn is circled, there is usually no rest until the Falklands.

And 850 miles behind the Crémer-Tripon-Attanasio trio they benefit from fairly favorable conditions, but it’s cold for them with the SW’ly Antarctic pushing the triumvirate high
speed towards Cape Horn. Behind them, a new southern depression should enter Drakes Passage by the middle of next week. They should be able to keep returning to the platoon before the rise of the Atlantic.

And for almost all other solo sailors still in the race, the AEZ is the eternal limit, most gliding through this no-go zone in small groups, the Roura-Boissières-Hare trio on the brink of high pressure heading south Eastern New Zealand, the Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa-Shiraishi quartet under Campbell Island with good flow from the northwest, while Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) will cross the longitude of Tasmania in a few hours and Ari Huusela (STARK) it has finally been able to overcome the end of the AMSA plateau of the Australian maritime security services with a very moderate west wind.

Miranda Merron (Campagne de France), “I have beautiful blue skies and perfect downwind sailing conditions with only an occasional storm that ruins things. There is a storm that has passed and it has used up all the wind, so right now we only have ten knots when we should be 18-22. If all goes well, this should be my last day in the Indian Ocean, it is quite a lot. a good way out of an ocean that has been full of very rough conditions. It is incredible to think that I will be in the Pacific and have passed the halfway point, I am very proud and proud of my sponsors and my team and everyone who supports our project. Every race is different. I have two and a half Pacific crossings before and I don’t remember it being particularly peaceful. The last time there was a cyclone with 55 knots upwind and that’s why we returned to New Zealand and on our way back we had the mythical long swell that everyone talks about, we had it going west. That was in the Global Ocean race. The problem with the Global Ocean Race was that with the ice limit we couldn’t move south from the cyclone. ”

Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil): I follow the others, the rankings are good to see the speeds of others, the state of the front and so on, but with the cold and the climate of now it is a satisfaction to be where I am. . The last 36 hours have been tough with a great sea, a lot of wind, I managed to fix some things and do my gybes in the right place at the right time, I am very satisfied to be in third place, it’s great. I calculate in four days to Cape Horn, it seems complicated with the looming depression, I will sail correctly for the conditions we have.

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