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New York Vendée-Les Sables d'Olonne, Day 10 - Celebration, frustration, motivation

by Vendee Globe 8 Jun 17:14 BST 8 June 2024
Charlie Dalin, MACIF Santé Prévoyance - New York Vendée-Les Sables d'Olonne, Day 10 © Martin Viezzer / Disobey / NYV2024

In Les Sables d'Olonne the champagne is on ice for Charlie Dalin. The skipper of MACIF Santé Prévoyance is expected to finish first on the New York Vendée Les Sables d'Olonne solo Transatlantic race during Saturday night between 2300hrs and 0200hrs local time.

  • Celebrations on standby for Dalin
  • Rapid German Herrmann arriving fast for second
  • Frustrations are short, medium and long term

He will then have to wait until there is enough water in the famous Channel of Les Sables d'Olonne before enjoying the perfect Sunday morning arrival: around 0900hrs local time, no doubt accompanied the first warmth of summer sunshine, the smell of fresh bread and croissants wafting from the La Chaume boulangeries and cafes. Conditions should be ideal for a triumphant return to the Vendée Globe pontoon in Port Olonna.

Herrmann secure in second...

Approaching fast from the north west - maybe slightly reminiscent of the winning attack by Yannick Bestaven's on his charge to Vendée Globe victory from the north in January 2021 - is Boris Herrmann. The German skipper has been averaging around 17-18 knots and is forecast to take second on Sunday in the middle of the afternoon.

But third place on the New York Vendée podium is still very much open. Jérémie Beyou may cede the title he won in 2016 to his longstanding rival Dalin tonight but the course record he set at 9 days 16 hours 57 minutes 52 seconds in June eight years ago remains intact.

Some 250 nautical miles west of Cape Finisterre this afternoon, the skipper of Charal is doing all he can to keep a loose cover on Thomas Ruyant (Vulnerable) 23 miles behind and local Vendée favourite Sébastien Simon who races Groupe Dubreuil, the highly optimised The Ocean Race winner 11th Hour.

When winning is your comfort zone

Recent winner of the Transat CIC Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa) finds himself in unfamiliar territory. After now winning four back-to-back solo Transats in a row, Richomme is now well behind the top duo but also one hundred or so miles now adrift of the trio who are chasing the final step on the podium. His main task is keeping the trio of female skippers behind him, Justine Mettraux Teamwork-Team SNEF), Sam Davies (Initiatives-Coeur) and Pip Hare (Medallia) are between 15 and 50 miles behind him.

"There is much pleasant about all of this." Richomme grizzled, "But we are moving forward and only getting closer to the finish. The split by Jérémie (Beyou), Thomas (Ruyant) and Seb (Simon)? Well it was brought on by the weather. When we were closer to the center of the depression, they managed to get a lot more east than us. We never managed to get what they had and now we are suffering a little behind, they keep taking miles on us. And I can't relax I want to keep the girls behind me and that is not easy because the wind shifts a lot and tacking is still complicated with these boats. It's quite unpleasant."

And in ninth, in turn neither is Hare finding it pleasant.. She feels underpowered compared to the girls ahead and worries she is vulnerable to Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) some 30 miles behind.

Tortured

Hare called in this morning, " I am being tortured by the weather today, it is nerve racking this morning, the high pressure is expanding I think. It is moving around a bit and has come over towards me and I have had really fickle light airs and I have had tack to the east to try and get back into some more stable breeze. And I am going much slower than my routing was suggesting. It has been a tough morning. The sea state is awful and the breeze is between eight knots and 16 knots. It is really tough as I can't do all the other things I need to do, like sleep. And then there is the this constant threat from the guys in the middle who, yes, still need to get across the high, but I am feeling a lot of pressure from them. I am feeling pressure from Louis, I really would like the finish line to be a lot closer than it is. It would be great to hang on to this position. But I feel like I am struggling with my boatspeed, partly because I have a really small J2, which in these lower ranges it is hard to keep the boat going. But that is what have got, that is what I need to make the most of. It is going to be a couple of days of mental pain."

Real long lasting frustration

The frustration is a bit more acute and prolonged for Briton Sam Goodchild who is drifting slowly towards the Azores under jury rig. A tow is on the way to retrieve the boat. It should be in place by Tuesday. Adrien Hardy's team with their rescue trimaran has set off towards Sam to tow the IMOCA back to Lorient. "We will be at the start of the Vendée Globe with Sam" reassured Thomas Gavériaux the CEO of TR Racing, the team which manages Goodchild's project.

It is close in the third group, mainly daggerboard boats, where their frustration is at the evolution and modelling of the high pressure system to their north. But the motivation is very high, even if life is tedious and tiring.

In 17th Kiwi Conrad Colman (Imagine - MS Amlin) has three boats on AIS and is in Figaro mode, constantly trimming and benchmarking himself against these and other boats.

"Needless to say I am sitting next to the winch, I have my headphones on and podcasts and tunes on and I am winching away, trimming for hours and hours on end, trying to maximise performance." Colman reveals, " And this is not the most exciting kind of sailing, it requires a lot of concentration, a lot of dedication but sailing upwind for three or four days under grey skies is kind of like eating porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner - it is a bit 'same shit different day' kind of thing."

Holding on to hope and enjoying the moment

And his nearest rival and 'neighbour' today Brit James Harayada is trying to suppress any latent frustration as time may be running out on his chances of qualifying for the Vendée Globe. "I need to keep reminding myself of what I have already achieved, it is easy to get caught up in the competitive side of it and I forget how actually cool it is to be out here racing 60 foot carbon boats across the oceans, sailing against 30 of the best solo sailors in the world." He reflected, " It is unbelievable and to be in a good position again is a big achievement. I am pleased for myself. And it is fun right now being alongside Conrad we get along well and exchange messages with one another. I am really enjoying the racing. I am nervous about this while Vendée Globe qualification thing. There is nothing I can do. I obviously have to just get across the finish line and that is all I can do. In the long term, let's say I didn't qualify I can look back and say I did some good racing, I got some good results, it was good fun and it was all good, but the Vendée Globe is the reason I am here, so it is very hard to look at it any other way."

www.newyorkvendee.org

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