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Vendée Globe, Day 61: Different lives, different oceans

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Vendée Globe: Different lives, different oceans
Vendée Globe: Different lives, different oceans

Skippers of the 14 IMOCAs in the South Atlantic now reap the benefits of clearer, bluer skies, sun warming their skin in the sun and their bodies recover during short restoring naps. The next group to reach Cape Horn and the release into the Atlantic have less than 700 nautical miles to go, among them Switzerland’s Alan Roura and Briton Pip Hare. But for them in the South Pacific, conditions are freezing and uncomfortable. Now stretching of the latitude of Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil where Yannick Bestaven leads by 320 miles to near Tasmania where Sébastien Destremau the back marker is, the fleet spans 7,126 miles ...

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For Yannick Bestaven, the leader, the only thing missing in his life right now is a decent, consistent breeze. The sea is deep blue, the sky is clear, the sun is shining on the deck of Maître Coq IV. In his  video sent yesterday he is shirtless and in sunglasses, is sailing 360 miles off the coast of Brazil under spinnaker in the warmth of  life at 30 ° South.  Way back, but in the same race, approaching the Horn for his fourth time on consecutive Vendée Globes, at 57 ° South, skippers endure their problems calmly and patiently and think twice before going on deck. “My hands are rock hard, but I'm glad I was able to sleep for the first time without my boots in my sleeping bag. I'm preparing my heaters ” reported the the skipper of Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle this morning.

For the Boissières-Roura-Hare-Beyou group, Cape Horn is still 700 miles away and a depression is arriving for them. And so that is a double edged sword. The advantage is good speeds bringing the final Cape closer, faster. The disadvantage, more hours if high stress, living on the edge in big seas and the freezing cold.

Alan Roura leadsthe group which will be next to Cape Horn. The Swiss skipper, the youngest in the race, is now just 14 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières while Pip Hare on Medallia is now just 20 miles astern of ‘Cali’.  Roura on La Fabrique now has under 700 miles to go to make his second Vendée Globe Cape Horn rounding.  All things being equal the three musketeers should go round within a few hours of each other.

Boissières is Les Sablais by adoption but comes from Arcachon and grew up with race leader Yannick Bestaven. He paid a rich complement to Pip Hare this morning,

“I admire what Pip Hare has done, the way she sails and the fact that she has changed her rudder. I don't know how she did it because it was rough, the conditions were rough. I think she's a hell of a girl. She's pragmatic, humble, she's great."

Merron-Giraud out of the storm, Cousin has repaired his mainsail

They had prepared for the system well and now they are out  of the worst. Clément Giraud and Miranda Merron sailed in a big low which arrived from the north yesterday and last night generating gusts to over 45 knots. 600 miles west of Point Nemo, the two navigators had prep’d well and early and are now in better conditions behind the front making good speed even if the seas are still rough. Manu Cousin has managed to repair the tear in his mainsail.

Yannick Bestaven has a brain teaser in his path.  High pressure bubbles are everywhere, preventing him from getting north fast and so the gap decreases to Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant who are making  over 18 knots this morning and are now 327 miles behind the leader.

That is another 100 miles lost in 24 hours for Bestaven.

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