Jostling for lead in ‘postage stamp’ as Hare considers repair (Vendée Globe update 13Jan21)

Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV ) has retaken the lead from Charlie Dalin (Apivia).

Not only are there just 26 miles separating Thomas Ruyant in fourth from the leader, but Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) has squeezed into third, to complete his quest for the podium after stopping to make repairs to his mast track at Macquarie Island and restarting with an 830 miles deficit on the lead.

Bestaven has picked up wind to the west of his rivals, closer to the Brazilian coast. The chasing trio are compacted into a ‘postage stamp’ of about 20 miles by 20 miles.

“We are getting into a trade wind now but it is variable in force and direction, you have to be on it here to trim and adjust for the changes,” says Ruyant. “But the wind is building slowly and lifting us so we should get some higher speed foiling in due course.”

Ruyant has a drastically shortened port foil while Dalin is sporting a foil bearing repair on his port side too. Clearly the benefits to Louis Burton of fixing at Macquarie cannot be overstated as he has been quickest among the leaders.

Until now the non-foiling daggerboard boats have largely held their own. Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) in fifth, seventh is Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA – Water Family) and ninth Jean le Cam (Yes We Cam!) are all in the east looking to benefit from being on the inside of the curve of the high pressure and so be able to sail higher, more direct angles as the breeze lifts them more than their rivals to their west, also sailing less miles. But this period, into the trades, will be their acid test.

Hear from skippers around the fleet

Pip Hare is celebrating blue sky and sun

It’s the first time Hare’s seen them in ten days, and she says it’s a magnificent day, it’s tonic for her soul.

But she is still carrying some issues with her temp rudder repair. She needs a port tack to be able to laminate – the tack will therefore define her strategy in the next few days. It’s all based on what’s good for the boat.

“I can’t push hard with a temporary repair,” she says.

(19.16 12Jan21)

Miranda Merron is expecting a quieter day

Merron is taking advantage of a slower day to check the boat, its rigging, its sails. Her team says she’s failing to dry anything in the moist and frozen latitudes.

“[I’m] just allowing myself to start thinking of Cape Horn as something that might exist in my reality, instead of a mythical rock. I know it exists because I saw it with my own eyes 19 years ago during the Volvo Ocean Race. But this time it’s just a distant point on a computer screen that never gets close. It’s still far away.” (09.28 13Jan21)

Watch yesterday’s round-up from race organisers

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