Yannick Bestaven, the Vendée Globe leader since Christmas Day, has been slowed in a high pressure zone and although still climbing north he has been closely monitoring the faster speeds of his two nearest rivals – Charlie Dalin on Apivia in second and Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut in third.
The catch up of Dalin and Ruyant will continue through the day, believes the skipper from La Rochelle. But early this morning Maître Coq IV is still over 420 miles up on Dalin who is racing just 13 or 14 miles ahead of rival Ruyant with their wind angle closing as they go eas.
And while Bestaven might be literally and figuratively sweating – as the temperatures on board rise into the 20s – over the comeback of his rivals, in the South Pacific it remains very tough. There is no news so far from Pip Hare beyond knowing she stopped in the evening and is moving again now and her team had predicted a short weather window during which she was expected to execute the plan to replace her port rudder. And Medallia is sailing back slowly and steadily east this morning, so fingers crossed she has been successful
In that same group of boats Jérémie Beyou, joined this morning on the 0400hrs call admitted to having had his fill of the brutal sailing conditions boat breaking stuff since the Tasman Sea. Cape Horn is the relief all thee solo racers are waiting for. From Medallia to Compagnie du Lit-Jiliti, the IMOCAs are going through difficult times on what feels like a long endless tunnel. “We live in our world of only water, far from everything, sometimes scared, the slightest ray of sunshine brings immense happiness. It’s a strange way to live ”confided Manu Cousin
But they largely sail without complaint. There hard days and nights are all part and parcel of the Vendée Globe dream. And the skippers share the dream, the breaking waves, the battering against carbon hulls, the exhaustion, sometimes the plummeting morale.
“Me I am a bit tired of the of taking slap after slap” said the skipper of Charal who was concerned about Pip Hare: “I don’t know how she is going to make repairs in these sea and wind conditions”.
Bestaven ‘I am watching them closely’
Yannick Bestaven, race leader, is snared in a zone of light winds and can do nothing more than try to keep crawling north whilst always monitoring the progress of his rivals. On the morning call with Race HQ in Les Sables d’Olonne he explained…….
“There is no wind, I am trimming all I can to make the boat go forward. There is a little bit of residual seaway but it is not unpleasant compared to what we have experienced not so long ago.
The wind I have is erratic I have 5 knots which is swirling around quite a bit, I continue to crawl slowly due north until the wind changes to the west-southwest so I should go downwind. This light stuff was forecast on the files but hopefully it won’t last too long.
I don’t know how long this will last. Normally not too long! Meantime it must be 25 degrees in the boat, the water temperature is also 25 degrees. It’s hot, it’s good for swimming! We are in warm water currents that are coming down and the temperature climbs quickly, it’s impressive. The atmosphere is humid, it is cloudy, because there is the low pressure above us. It’s hot and sweaty.
I have not seen anyone or any boats for a while. We are quite far from the coast, it will be more complicated in the climb along Brazil, because there are a lot of fishing boats. I hope the radar works well. The wind filed will be quite close to the land afterwards. It looks like we’ll be shaving the coast after Cabo Frio, and there are wind farms, and many oil platforms. I risk being in among all that, I will need to be very alert.
I’m watching what happens behind me, they will come back at me, my lead will decrease as the day goes on. I hope I will still I have some left over! That’s what’s at stake today and over this weekend. I am a happy man but I must continue to go forwards.. I’m going to eat chocolate because it keeps me awake, it and coffee stimulate me. And it is is very dark chocolate, very high in cocoa!”