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The New York Vendée is close to the finish

The last qualifying race for the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe, the New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne is fulfilling all its promises! It is a very important race as it represents the last race for logging miles and securing a coveted place on the start line of the famous Everest of the seas on 10 November.

New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne
New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne
© Noémie Trusty/Alea

Against an iconic backdrop, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, the New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne promised to be very unique race. And as it actually started 90 miles offshore with the aim of reducing the risks to marine biodiversity closer inland (a first in ocean racing!) was also an important step forwards. But no one could have predicted how the race itself would unfold. 

From the outset the 28 boat fleet encountered unstable and challenging weather conditions: ‘You just can’t drop your guard. The wind jumps from 5 to 25 knots constantly and without transitions between these two extremes... it's impossible to forecast the direction of the wind coming next. There are boats pointed in every direction and at every speed,’ said Kiwi Conrad Colman (MS Amlin) shortly after the start.

The Dalin-Herrmann breakaway

Faced with an eastwards moving low-pressure trough that was particularly difficult to get past from the beginning of the race, the fleet really had a gruelling first few days. Only two sailors managed to get through it and away: Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) and Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer), who escaped eastwards for the former and northwards for the latter. 

In the lead since Monday, Charlie Dalin - who crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe 2020 first but was awarded second place following the time bonus awarded to Yannick Bestaven for having diverted to save the skipper of PRB - should manage to pull off a magnificent victory this weekend, with his finish scheduled for Saturday night. 

German skipper Boris Herrmann, who also played a big part in that Vendée Globe 2020 with a fine 5th place, should be making his way up the channel second in Les Sables d'Olonne less than 24 hours later.

Who will take 3rd place?

The third step of the podium is still uncertain. About ten sailors, including several pre-race favourites, chose to round the Azores via the South, and have been battling it out for the places of honour. The rest of the fleet make up a ‘middle’ group, not far from the direct rhumb line route have to deal with a big high pressure in order to make further headway. All in all, the suspense has been from beginning to end for this last transatlantic race before the pinnacle event of the year, the Vendée Globe, which starts on Sunday 10 November!

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