Bestaven wins thanks to a bonus – Corriere.it

To the photo finish: after over 25,000 miles of solo sailing around the world and 80 tiring days, spent overcoming cyclones, dribbling depressions and braving the monstrous waves of the southern oceans, lapping the fearsome 40 roaring and 50 screaming, the ninth Vende Globe decided, incredibly, a few miles from the arrival in Les Sables d’Olonne, with three skippers who crossed the finish line within hours of each other, after having dueled with jibes in the Bay of Biscay, as if it were an America’s Cup match race.

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The goal

The first to cross the line at Les Sables d’Olonne (at 8.35pm local time on January 27th) was rookie Charlie Dalin, the excellent skipper from Le Havre and protégé of Desjoyeaux and Gabart (previous winners of the tour and sacred legends of the oceanic sailing), which dominated almost the entire regatta aboard a Imoca (Apivia) of the latest generation, registering the third best time in the history of the Vende. But the victory has a bitter taste and lasts a short time, 7 hours and 43 minutes, to be exact, the time between his arrival and that of the third at the finish line, Yannick Bestaven on Matre Coq IV (the second Louis Burton). At that moment therethe Jury stops the clocks and awards Bestaven the 10 hour and 15 minute bonus earned for contributing (with Boris Herrmann and Jean Le Cam), to the recovery and rescue of Kevin Escoffier, who was shipwrecked in the Indian on 30 November.

The rebate

The numbers can be ruthless, but they are not wrong, so by redoing the calculations, they are skipper of Matre Coq IV is in front of both Dalin (2 hours and 30) and Burton (almost 7 hours), taking a seat worthily and deservedly on the top step of the podium. Dalin gets the silver medal and Burton the bronze one. Sure, the 10-hour bonus made a difference, but the La Rochelle skipper, who boasts two Transat victories Jacques Vabre, a Mini-Transat (on a boat he built himself) and two very good entries in the Route du Rhum , the holy grail of ocean sailing got sweaty: on his second lap (the first in 2008 had gone very badly, having dismasted a few hours after the start), he conducted an aggressive and powerful regatta, squeezing his past generation Imoca as a lemon and cutting all the sails to shreds: with the foot well pressed on the accelerator he rounded Cape Horn in the lead and gritted his teeth to maintain his position in the South Atlantic ascent.

The Azores

At the height of the Azores, to break away from Dalin who preceded him by a few miles, has bet on the route to the North in the hope of catching up a depression, with one eye on the route and one on the clock … Fortune has turned in his direction and accompanied him to the finish line, crowning the dream of a lifetime. I feel like I’m living in another dimension, he said upon arrival, while a pouring rain soaked his oilskin, it doesn’t seem true to me that I won. This regatta digs you deep and forces you to look inside yourself, I am happy as a child. That this edition would go down in history was understood well before departure, when the organization – in full health emergency – took the responsibility to move forward and carry out the program as established. It was not an easy choice, nor painless and to ensure the safety of the skippers, the staff and the local population, severe and even unpopular decisions were made, such as to deny the public access to the pier and the beach on the day of departure. , close the Regatta Village or impose strict isolation on the skippers 7 days before the start, subjecting them to continuous tests. But when the green light finally turned on on 8 November 2020, the one swinging on the quay in Les Sables d’Olonne was a record-breaking fleet: thirty-three sailors (including six women) from nine different countries, eight IMOCA 60 (monohulls) of 18 m) brand new foiling and several veterans of the tour, including “le Roi” Jean Le Cam who, at the age of 61, embarked on his fifth Vende Globe.

And favorites

Of the four superfavorites (all on latest generation boats), only two finished the regatta (and also brilliantly), Charlie Dalin (2) and Thomas Loud (4); the third, Alex Thomson, retired due to a series of failures after Good Hope, while Jrmie Beyou He was forced to return to port shortly after the start to make repairs, closing his 4th lap in mid-table (after a memorable recovery). Altogether eight skippers dropped out of the ninth Vende Globe and one of them – Kevin Escoffier – was recovered (by Jean Le Cam) on a life raft in the middle of the ocean, after his Imoca broke in two. It is not surprising that the first in real time was a last generation Imoca foiling, they are the boats of the future, the ones that will mark the destiny of the Vende Globe in the years to come. Lamazing thing that on the top step of the podium there is one of 2016 and that among the top 10 boats that crossed the finish line, four are without foil, and two are particularly old (that of Damien Seguin from 2008 and that of Jean Le Cam even from 2007!).

The running-in

How is it possible? The answers are basically two, lack of time and unfavorable weather: due to the pandemic, in fact, the most recent and extreme projects (including those of Thomson and Beyou) went into the water late and it was impossible to break them in properly. considering also that land main preparatory regattas for the Vende they have been erased; moreover, the particularly hard conditions of the sea in this edition did not allow the foils to do their job at 100%, that is to lift the hull and make it fly over the water. Only after Cape Horn, who had it triggered the turbo, but at that point of the regatta, with the however damaged foils, Dalin and Ruyant could no longer hope for epochal detachments: on the other hand, the group of pursuers – led by Bestaven – found in the Atlantic ascent the conditions (and the courage) to dare, pushing their foot on the accelerator … The icing on the cake of this memorable Vend Globe, the excellent performance of Giancarlo Pedote, the only Italian in the race, expected today in sixth or seventh position.

January 28, 2021 (change January 28, 2021 | 10:34)

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