While the front of the Vendée Globe fleet is advancing at full speed towards the Doldrums and the Brazilian coast is now moving away, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) are practically side by side.
Dalin, in the lead, and his runner-up, the one of the fleet having covered the greatest distance in the last 24 hours, are no longer separated at the midday check-in than by just over 3 nautical miles (about 5 km). Less than 3,500 miles from the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, the leading riders, taking advantage of a trade wind and relatively mild weather, are heading towards the Equator at an average of nearly 20 knots.
– Vendée Globe (@VendeeGlobe) January 16, 2021
A (small) hole on the pursuers
Compared to the previous score, they nibbled a few miles on their four pursuers. “I tried to force my course a bit to realign myself behind the leaders while waiting for them to slow down so I could come back on them,” said late in the morning, on the official non-stop solo race website, Yannick Bestaven (FRA / Maître Coq IV), the last of these pursuers, in sixth position.
“It’s a day of speed. We have to go fast with the sails we have and now that we all have more or less the same wind, it’s time to adjust to catch up, ”continues the sailor, again pumped up after losing all its advance in the permanent front of Cabo Frio.
Soon the Doldrums
The same optimism is blowing aboard Bureau Vallée 2, Louis Burton’s sailboat. “The trade winds are there: finally a night with a more stable wind and where things are going well, without grain, with less difficulty”, said the dolphin on Saturday morning. But looming the Doldrums, a very unstable intertropical convergence zone, into which the leading yachts should enter tonight by approaching it from its western flank.
“I spend a lot of time on the weather to find out where to cross the Doldrums at best. Given the small gaps that there are between the boats, it can allow you to exit in front or behind depending on how it will go! Burton analyzes.
Destremau says stop
The race was also marked by another retirement, the eighth since the start on November 8: that of Sébastien Destremau (Thank you). The one who occupied the last place and had just passed New Zealand has not yet specified the reason the reason, according to the organization of the test.
Finland’s Ari Huusela (Stark), who sits near Point Nemo, the furthest point on all earth, is the new red lantern, while he is one of the last three in the fleet with Clément Giraud, who approaching it, and Alexia Barrier, not yet having crossed Cape Horn in southern America.