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Vendée Globe: Bestaven Has One Eye in the Rearview Mirror

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Maitre Coq at the Vendée Globe
Maitre Coq at the Vendée Globe

The spotlight is on Yannick Bestaven as he tries to escape from the high pressure first. This morning the skipper from the pretty harbour town of La Rochelle on the west coast of France has extended on second placed Charlie Dalin but it is Thomas Ruyant routing more north who is going fast that Bestaven sees as more of a threat.....the Christmas thriller is unfolding

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"I'm watching Thomas out the corner of my left eye as he is further north. Thomas is moving well and hasn't stopped and Charlie is a bit slower. You have to just cross your fingers now. I don't touch anything, the sheets are cleated, the spinnaker is full and we are going straight!” the leader of the  Vendée Globe said this morning, the 45th day of racing.

Meantime Thomas Ruyant ahead and he too crosses his fingers “I hope the rubber band doesn't stretch out in front. I'm in ambush mode, I'm hanging in here "confided the skipper from Dunkirk on the morning call.

This festive week looks set to be one of the key phases of this edition of the solo round the world race. A high pressure system with light winds is firmly installed on the path to Cape Horn and it  does not do any favours at all to those who lead the fleet. But for those of us watching on land it will be an engaging thriller to watch unfold.

The weather situation is quite uncertain. Charlie Dalin said yesterday that as much as anything he deciphers what is happening to the weather – in terms of tracking the centre of the high and its evolution – by carefully monitoring the angles and speeds sailed by his competitors. It is the proverbial Christmas chess championship.

Above all though it is about keeping speed up and getting out of the glucky, sticky mess of light winds as the system tracks towards the southeast. Giancarlo Pedote in 9th seemed happy with his position as a hunter behind the light wind anticyclone.

The Italian was making over 19 knots on flat seas while the head of the fleet is slowed

“I am going fast allowing me to catch up on with those in front. For me right now it is not about strategy, the priority is speed and doing your best with what you have.” Explained the Italian skipper in the 0400hrs TU call.

In the meantime, Yannick Bestaven is super focused without thinking about what could happen: "May the best one win, the dice is rolling! I prefer not to think too much, the files are very random in the high pressures, but, sure, if I pass it it might be the jackpot! I don’t really know how much But for sure if I can consolidate my leadership position it will be a nice Christmas and birthday present!” Smiles the skipper of Maître CoQ who will be celebrating his 48th birthday at sea on December 28th.

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