9e Vendée Globe
Thursday 31st December. On this New Year’s Eve, no-one could have predicted just how tense this 9th Vendée Globe would be, in which Boris Herrmann is representing the Principality on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco. Of the 33 boats which lined up on the start, only 27 remain in competition.
As those at the back of the peloton prepare to pass Cape Leeuwin (South Australia), the trio in the lead are putting on an extraordinary show in the south Pacific. Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV), first to pass Point Nemo, the place in the ocean that is furthest away from any land, continues to lead the fleet in complicated conditions where rain and cold are a reminder that he is sailing in the Fifties.
Racing in the South
In Yannick Bestaven’s wake, there’s no let up to the ups and downs of this edition. Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is now 2nd while Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) vie for 3rd. Seguin, the first disabled sailor to compete in the Vendée Globe, is having an astonishing race, but anything could happen to the podium line-up and there’s still a long way to go.
It is clear from the tracker that the battle in the middle in the Southern Ocean is nerve-rackingly close. After nigh-on 20,000km of racing, Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam) duelled it out neck and neck for several days, even occupying 3rd and 4th respectively on Christmas day. “It was like match racing,” said Boris. “We could see what the other was doing!”.
On this 53rd day, bets are still open as the fleet remains compact, with 535 nautical miles separating the leader from Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) in 8th – a bird’s flight in a 24,296 mile (44,996.2 km) race.
Suspense builds before the Horn
While the weather was favourable for two weeks, all that changed after the weekend with freezing temperatures and hulls striking breaking waves as the southern ocean lives up to its reputation. Vigilance will be key over the coming hours as skippers negotiate another big weather system which may well accompany them to the Chilean coast.
“I had a big decision to make regards weather conditions and took the South option,” says Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco). “The North option would have taken me into the centre of a big depression. I will soon know if this was the right choice”.
Passing Cape Horn beckons as the new year dawns for the German skipper currently in 5th. “I can’t wait to round it. It’s legendary for sailors and all my energy and focus is on achieving this objective. I will of course be calling or sending messages to my family and friends for new year, but have not planned any celebration as such. I will be going into the last third of the race and there is still so much to do to finish on top” – and a long way to go: 8,400 nautical miles before the finish in Les Sables-d’Olonne.
Until then, so much could change in the rankings as gaps between boats are likely to close as the fleet approaches the Horn with the first expected to round it on Saturday 2nd January around midday.
Weekly updates resume at the Yacht Club de Monaco
Philippe Guigné, the man behind Virtual Regatta which has nearly a million playing the game for this event, is guest of honour at the next Vendée Globe update meeting, organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco, Wednesday 6th January, alongside Boris Herrmann who will be checking in from the south. It will be a chance to get an update on the race, discuss the weather conditions recently encountered by skippers and get on board this legendary event!