Up with the Vendée Globe leaders where they are racing in front of the low pressure front, finally in better, smoother seas, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) has been averaging 18-21kts with his lead around 200 miles over Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) while Louis Burton in third (Bureau Vallée 2) has been slowed again early this morning.
“Things are pretty sporty this morning, you have to be able to live at these speeds.” Said Thomas Ruyant this morning.
But while they are making hay right now in the favourable conditions as the depression they are riding evolves, they will head on a more northerly angle to be moving away from the centre of the depression where the biggest seas are and strongest winds, over 40kts.
Ruyant explains, “It has been several days since the low has been building along this front, strengthening with a shift in the wind for us. I try to find the safest route possible, to adapt my speed to where I want to go. I will try to avoid the big waves and strong winds near the centre. It’s not easy to find the best route but conditions will improve by tomorrow. We all have a bit of the same idea: to go north in relation to the centre of the system. The sea will be fairly rough, we will try to go to the best possible place to preserve the boat and myself.”
Behind the leading group of 11 skippers, Romain Attanasio (PURE-Best Westernâ Hotels & Resort) - Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) have been finally had more favourable conditions since yesterday with 15 to 20 knots of wind (this which allowed them to cover almost 390 miles during the last 24 hours).
For the four musketeers who crossed the Cape of Good Hope yesterday: Alan Roura (La Fabrique), Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence), Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline - Artisans Artipôle ) there is not enough wind and they have often struggled to make more than ten knots. "Having so many problems with a high pressure is unbelievable," sighed Stéphane Le Diraison on the radio session. Le Diraison has taken the opportunity to make some repairs (in particular to solve his mainsail halyard lock (hook) problem), recharge his batteries and monitor a depression coming south from Port-Elizabeth . "I don't like it at all: the forecasts are for more than 50 knots this gusts with waves of more than 6 meters".
They will have to make their choice, to each their own, especially as the room for maneuver along the "AEZ" is limited. On his second Vendée Globe with his boat Le Diraison draws up three scenarios: "either we slow down to let the low pass, or we go north, or we go into it if the wind appears manageable". The skipper of Time for Oceans has already positioned himself a little further north than Alan Roura and Armel Tripon. "These are really very delicate decisions. The competitor in you tells you not to let go, but the seaman in you says do whatever makes sense not to break the boat ... It's a hell of a duel in my head!" Said Tripon.
Meanwhile, over 900 miles away in the South Atlantic, the third group is hanging in there. The speeds are disparate, like Fabrice Amedeo this morning (17 knots, Newrest - Art & Fenêtres), Alexia Barrier (8 knots, TSE - 4myplanet) or even Jérémie Beyou (15 knots).
For the skipper of Charal, it is also a question of choice. He has just made one hard choice to go further south despite it being an even longer route. And he is living out every moment of his choice he made, to restart from Les Sables-d´Olonne nine days later, accepting that he would be far, far from the leading battle and now, still being stuck in the South Atlantic.
"I'm not hiding it, it wasn't easy to start with. At first I couldn't eat, it was hard, but day after day I try not to worry too much, to concentrate on the speed and performance of the boat. When I left, the weather window which seemed favourable suddenly changed, blocking things in front of me, the route became complicated. Here it's better, I get closer to those in front which it is good for morale."