9th Vendée Globe
Wednesday 11th November 2020 – The third day of racing for the Vendée Globe fleet saw its first big test with a weather change on the approach to Cap Finisterre. Light conditions at the start gave way to a depression off the Iberian Peninsula forcing competitors to choose an option. Like part of the fleet, the foiler Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, first IMOCA 60 to officially represent the Principality in this race and helmed by Boris Herrmann, headed west and spent a rather rough night.
First hours in contact
After a superb start on 8th November, Boris Herrmann was in the top three. Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco ate up the miles in contact with Sam Davies (Initiative Cœur), Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Kevin Escoffier (PRB) and Thomas Ruyant (Linkedout). Those first nights for sailors were spent on the alert, one eye on the course and numerous cargo ships and another juggling with an unstable wind. The German sailor took the opportunity to mentally prepare himself for the upcoming cold front.
Rendezvous with a front
It was all change as they approached Cap Finisterre, forcing skippers to reveal their strategy, and either take the route west to face a big weather system, or err on the side of caution by going south to take advantage of lighter winds. It was not an easy night for Boris who opted early on to go west and exploit the wind. A brave choice that meant a cross-choppy sea and brutal gusts up to 45 knots. “I didn’t sleep a wink, thinking about what to do, whether to slow the pace or do the opposite and accelerate,” he explained on a video recording. On Wednesday morning, the skipper changed tack and headed directly south along with a dozen other contestants.
There was an upset in the standings after this challenging passage that left in its wake tired sailors and damaged boats like the rudder on Charal helmed by Jérémie Beyou. A race favourite, the man from Finistère was forced to turn back to Les Sables-d’Olonne after hitting an unidentified object. It was also a trying night for Kevin Escoffier (PRB) who discovered an ingress of water from a damaged valve on his IMOCA, while Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) from Nantes had a problem with a halyard hook but was able to recover and continue.
For the last update on 11th November at 18.00, Maxime Sorel (V et B Mayenne) was leading the fleet with Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) lying 18th in a calm zone: “It’s difficult to explain but sometimes a little wind is worse than too much,” groaned the skipper. Contestants continue their Atlantic descent with two depressions ahead of them in the forecast for the end of the week, including tropical storm Theta, synonymous with thunderstorms and gusts of 120km/h – to be avoided at all costs.
To follow the race: www.ycm.org ou https://team-malizia.com/
From virtual to reality
As it does every Wednesday, the Yacht Club de Monaco held its Vendée Globe update, a chance to discuss contestants progress in the Virtual Regatta of this 9th Vendée Globe which has attracted nearly 620,000 “digital” sailors. Present was Olivier Ogéron, who tops the Virtual Regatta Offshore Hall of Fame leaderboard and came specially to the YCM to reveal his techniques for success on this game which is attracting more and more people.
Youth competition sailors in the Sports Section and YCM members responded to the invite to mull over the very real decisions that have to be made in the Vendée Globe: strategies, weather phenomena of the last days, forecasts, etc., topics made all the more interesting by Gilles Chiorri, sailor and former Route du Rhum Race Director. Next week it’s the turn of router and weather expert, Christian Dumard, to participate in the discussions.
Note also that the Yacht Club de Monaco has a game in play for everyone on the theme “Who will win the Vendée Globe?”. Send your predictions in before 20th November 2020 using the form (www.ycm.org).
© Andreas Lindlhar