Yannick Bbestaven on the foiler Maitre Coq is the first skipper to round Cape Horn; he will be followed in a few hours by Charlie Dalin on Apivia and, barring a twist, tomorrow by Thomas Ruyant on Linkedout. Three foilers in the top three positions, 7 in the top 11, net of the complexity and fragility of these new oceanic monsters Cape Horn is passing its first judgment that may not please the no-foil tribe very much, but the figure is objective. Bestaven’s time of 55 days and 22 minutes is 8 days higher than Armel Le Cleac’h’s passage on Banque Populaire in 2016. Le Cleacìh’s boat, a first-generation foiler now led by Louis Burton, is in ninth position 700 miles behind the leader.
The reasons for the delay from the 2016 baseline are also meteorological: the upwind against the depressions in the North Atlantic, the week lost in the St. Helena Anticyclone between Brazil and Cape Town, the faster-than-usual depressions in the Indian Pacific and always at full stern and not at slack as had been the case in 2016, presented their steep bill in terms of days, hours and minutes. All of this has resulted in a running time that will most likely prevent Les Sables’ finish from setting a new regatta record. Conclusions then about the new Imocas and predictions about their future development, with an analysis that in any case cannot disregard the criticality that has emerged under certain conditions, will be drawn at the end with rankings and postings in hand. And speaking of weather, this passage of Cape Horn has an epic flavor: Bestaven passed in the middle of a storm with gusts over 50 knots, the same thing is about to be done by Dalin, after the two in the last four days have covered over 1,600 miles, confirming that Vendée Globe sailors have certainly not unlearned how to take their boats to the limit when it is useful to do so. And in this case it was so that they would not be sucked back in time by the trough, which in fact caught up with them only near the Cape, having instead overtaken the rest of the chasing group.
Giancarlo Pedote and Prysmian Group are in 11th position at 740 miles from Bestaven; the Italian’s passage from Cape Horn is expected to take place on the morning, in Italy, of January 4, 2021. Good last 48 hours of Pedote, who with better positioning than the group of boats further south managed to get closer in the group of the various Le Cam and Hermann, a position absolutely to be held to begin the ascent of the Atlantic in contact with a real possibility of improving his position in the rankings. In fact, Prysmian has shown in the Atlantic descent that it can go very strong in the Trade Wind, and if Pedote wants to take a few more risks the time to do so may now be near. Pedote who also left a brief message of comment about the conditions he is facing behind the same depression that affected the first two skippers. “The progression is “painful.” The wind is blowing between 25 and 30 knots on an extremely messy sea. The boat bangs continuously. I think it is the most complicated moment since the beginning of the regatta. I can’t wait for this depression to pass!”