Stuck in an anticyclone which is tracking east with the fleet
Thursday, December 24, 2020 8:53 AM
At the head of the Vendée Globe fleet every mile is won hard and not all are in the right direction, eastwards towards Point Nemo – 1000 miles away - and Cape Horn beyond. Stuck in a giant mess of an anticyclone which is tracking east with the fleet, it looks like it might be after the weekend before the train gets moving and the leaders can start moving east.
Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq IV) and Charlie Dalin (APIVIA), furthest to the east of the centre of the high have had the better breeze in first and second and have gained some miles on Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who is now over 200 miles behind, while Dalin’s decision seems to be to stick to the shortest route – running all the time along the AEZ – and sailing in what breeze he gets coming to him rather than to go on hunting.
Behind the centre of the high it is a bit like a Christmas Truce, from Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA Water Family) in fourth to Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) there are only 50 miles and nobody is going anywhere fast. Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) is quickly getting back into contact with the group after his stop at Macquarie Island. He was upwind in 30kts of wind along the AEZ last night.
Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) and Romain Attanasio (PURE-Best Western Hotels & Resorts) can finally resume their "normal" course behind a big New Zealand depression which the duo did well to stay behind it. But they will be able to lengthen their pace now in a more manageable Westerly flow. As for Armel Tripon (L’Occitane in Provence) who has been slowed down by a high pressure outgrowth be will emerge into a SW’ly wind.
At the edge of the AMSA zone
Behind the AMSA plateau, the straight line on the exclusion zone as defined by the Australian maritime services, there are only five west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin. The weather will be calm until midday on Saturday before a nasty Australian low before Tasmania: better to be in front of it or behind it than in the middle. The group led by Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) followed by Didac Costa, Jérémie Beyou, Manu Cousin and Kojiro Shiraishi seem to be most impacted.
Meantime in fifth place Damien Seguin has had his Christmas present early, a visit from two whales
“ I was a bit impatient to speak with you to tell you that a few minutes ago I got my Christmas present and it was one of the best Christmas presents, it was incredible because within the space of five minutes I had two whales at 10 or 20 metres of my boat following me. It was an absolutely magnificent spectacle. I heard nothing at all, I woke up from my sleep and went outside and there in the calm – it is calm we are in the middle of the Anticyclone there is not much wind and not much sea there were two whales coming out of the sea, breaking the surface at just ten or 20 metres from my boat, it is incredible, just incredible they are so big and us so little. It was incredible, they were 20 metres long, two side by side. It was my Christmas present. These moments are fantastic, completely outside of the course. The Vendée Globe lets you experience moments like that. When you see that it makes us feel small on this planet.
Since yesterday I arrived in the anticyclone, everything is calm, we have blue skies with no clouds, it is nice for sailing, and good for fixing things, and a day full of emotions as in the last three hours I have succeeded in fixing one of the two things at the top of the mast which is a great present and then this tops it off. It feels like them congratulating me for getting the jobs done. And so I think that each Vendée Globe has its character, its particularities. “