After Saturday’s start of the Vendée – Arctique from Les Sables d’Olonne, Sébastien Simon made his retirement official this Sunday morning.
Sébastien Simon (ARKEA – PAPREC), was victim of a broken starboard foil on Saturday evening. He will now have to agree on a replacement course with Race Management for the Vendée Globe, which must be completed by 15 September 2020.
Latest Update: – At 6pm Sunday evening, Damien Seguin, skipper of the 60’ Groupe APICIL monohull warned his shore team that he was heading back to Brittany.
Each mile devoured since Saturday’s start has brought the fleet closer to the teeth of the first low-pressure systems set to roll over the solo sailors, who now number 19 in total.
Powering up towards Fastnet in single file, the head of the race has been setting a hellish pace upwind in quite heavy seas, with the wind set to build over the course of the night.
The lesson? The new foilers have made serious progress on this point of sail, despite it seeming rather unnatural for the curves of their foils.
Leading for the most part, with the exception of a counter-tack to hug the limits of a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), Thomas Ruyant is posting a masterful performance on LinkedOut.
Six miles astern, Kevin Escoffier is proving that you can still sail a creditable race on one of the older generation boats.
In fact, his PRB was launched in 2009 according to a VPLP – Verdier design, but Vincent Riou constantly optimised her before handing over the helm to the skipper from Saint Malo.
Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia), are hot on the heels of the top duo, accompanied by Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) a 2007 VPLP – Verdier design.
Ahead of all the contenders, a looming depression will require a decision to be made on the route forward.
Would it be better to carry straight on in the Celtic Sea and target the centre of the low-pressure system, which is forecast to involve 25 to 30 knots of breeze and a 3.5-metre sea, or to put in a speedy tack once the front shifts round and hunt down milder conditions to the west?
With four months to go until the Vendée Globe, limiting any risks would seem advisable.
Samantha Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) comment . . .
“It was quick at the start! I soon found the right trim and it was time for lift-off. It’s very, very bumpy. It wasn’t easy to do the ‘housework’ and stow everything away after the start (sealing of the propeller shaft, stowing the race flags, putting the camera away, etc).”
“I made the most of that time to make a maaaaassive dinner – which I ate in stages (800 calories is hard to swallow in one go!). I also managed to get in some 30-minute siestas, stretched out in my bunk.”
“All’s well aboard. I’m making the most of this short period of sunshine before the front rolls in, picking up the wind and the sea in the process this evening.”