Yannick Bestaven is leading the fleet through a transition zone of lighter winds this morning just to the south of Macquarie island as the Pacific lives up to its name. The skipper of Maître Coq has been slowed through the night and this morning is making just 10kts but his margin over second placed Charlie Dalin is a relatively comfortable – for the moment – 100 nautical miles.
Dalin has been second since last night when Thomas Ruyant erred further to the north and has gas had much less wind but is playing a riskier game, one which – according to Dalin – may yet pay off.
The skipper of APIVIA, who led this Vendée Globe for 23 days before damage to his foil bearing case explained the route of his rival Ruyant this morning
“There was a very good option to take. I think Thomas had planned to do this before he had his problem with his sail locker filling up with water. It was a really good option to play but the timing was tight and his problem knocked him off his timing I think. You just couldn’t hang around because the door was closing quickly. I fully understand why he is there. It was an option that required a big investment at the outset but which meant losing ground sailing in light winds, to gain big afterwards. It’s not totally dead for him. But you had to sail in light wind to make some gain afterwards. We cant say yet that it won’t work but think there is a chance now that his timing is screwed up because of his little problem. For me it was do-able, but the percentages of the polar that I had to sail to to make it was very high and I had told myself this was not my option. It is a huge gain if it works and big loss. It’s a daring option, if I had been in his place I think I would have done the same. This option is paying off in the long run. We will have to wait a little bit to see the result. ”
Dalin continued, “ I have 15 knots and I am going about 15knots and the seas are quite OK, if the Pacific stayed like this it would be perfect. I don’t know if there really is a natural frontier between the Indian and the Pacific but a few hours after the Pacific it was still bad then after that it just became easier. The sky is blue and the good news from the weather files this morning is I should make some little gains, the winds will be light just 12-13kts but when I get through the transition I should have some good winds. “
Sébastien Destremau has a basic self steering system again
Sébastien Destremeau was reached this morning at daily 5 am radio calls to the skippers. He explains in detail the autopilot and steering system
“Since 5 pm yesterday, I have been sailing with the autopilot, with a steering system; it is not yet reliable, but it’s sailing, and it works. I managed to replace the steering and pilot system. I am sailing slowly for the moment, but I’m happy to have been able to get the boat back on course and to no longer be just drifting and losing ground.
I don’t have a welding tool to repair the metal part, I couldn’t drill the steel. The Vendée Globe is a race where when you don’t know, you invent. I took everything off, cleaned everything, removed the tiller, and concentrated on connecting the two rudders together, but above all I had to put the rudder angle sensor on. Otherwise, you can’t have a drive. We had to find a strange assembly. The sensor was originally on the part that broke. That was the priority of priorities.
Then I put the spare pilot back on. The other two pilots had had it. I had a third one that I installed but I made a mistake with the connection. I connected a wire badly that then, burnt out an electronic card. I had to change the engine drive. But this motor is 24 volts, and on the boat, I only have 12 volts. I had to reconfigure the electronics. It was a real battle!
I was helped by my brothers but especially by Julien Berthelot of BJ Nautique in Les Sables d’Olonne. Without him, I would never have made it. It was quite a drama, but we made it! I went to bed afterwards… I don’t know the system will hold, it still needs to be tested, because it is held together with bits of string… The plan is to head slowly on the course to Australia.
You imagine crossing the desert in a car far from everything and at some point, it gets really bumpy and your steering system breaks. So, you have to make do with what you have. You reinvent. That’s the image I have. So, succeeding is a victory… “