At 1820UTC this evening Charlie Dalin, the leader on the water, rolled into his final gybe, just over 20 miles from the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne.
He has a 55 mile advantage over Louis Burton’s Bureau Vallée 2, and almost 100 miles over Boris Herrmann’s Sea – Explorer Yacht Club de Monaco. However, Herrmann who has a six-hour time bonus in recognition of this part in the successful search for Kevin Escoffier’s liferaft back at the end of November, is travelling at more than 20 knots.
The German skipper is therefore still in contention to be the first non-French winner of the Vendée Globe since the race’s inception in 1989.
After the line Dalin will disembark onto a semi-rigid to arrive back at the Vendée Globe victory pontoon, leaving his IMOCA out at sea with his technical team, the idea being to wait for the other four skippers still in the race. The Le Havre skipper will then answer questions from journalists in the “mixed zone” before his press conference, broadcast live on the race website.
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), expected between 10:30 p.m. and and midight will do the same.
A procession of 5 IMOCAs from 4.30 am Thursday 28 January
just as there has never been a finish with next to no public to welcome the skippers back into the Channel, there will be an unprecedented wait for four other skippers to finish before the actual podium is decided.
Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco) is scheduled between midnight and 0100hrs UTC on the finish line, Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Only after Bestaven finishes will the sums be done to compute who will be crowned the winner of the Vendée Globe according to the bonuses established by the International Jury of the Vendée Globe following the rescue of Kevin Escoffier, 10hrs 15mins, for Yannick Bestaven and six hours for Boris Herrmann.
Then five IMOCAs will all enter the legnedary channel before 5:30 am under a grandiose fireworks display!
The reception of 300 volunteers and Les Sablais locals on their balconies along the channel and the music for the finishers will resonate in the heart of the Vendée town.