Vendée Globe: Louis Burton’s attack on power.

Bureau Vallée of Louis Burton, former Banque Populaire victorious at the 2016 Vendée, she is the undisputed star of the last few hours.

Two more damaged foils, this time the misfortune of (verified) collision with UFOs befell Samantha Davies and Sebastien Simon, by the way both of them hit the unidentified objects in more or less the same area. The two skippers, with Initiatives Coeur and Arkea Paprec, respectively, headed north away from the windiest part of the depression to assess the damage. It is unclear whether they will be able to continue or not.

The starboard foil of Arkea Paprec seriously damaged by collision with a UFO in recent hours. Notice the creep at the front that leaves no doubt about the origin of the failure.

But the chronicle must forcibly return to the regatta, because something very significant is happening in the Roaring 4o’s for ranking purposes. Leader Charlie Dalin on Apivia is scared, and he has no trouble admitting it: “I have to brake my boat…I find myself reaching for the brake pedal. The sea state in the Indian Ocean, that’s really what limits my speed. Sometimes the boat accelerates in the surf and we go 28-30 knots of speed and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It’s a really strange way of thinking, and I’ve never had to do it before in my racing career.”

Charlie Dalin

On the other hand, the one who seems to have less and has been going on the attack for days is Louis Burton on Bureau Vallée, second and 175 miles behind the leader after recovering over 300. The Frenchman is in full competitive fury from Roaring 40, and we almost imagine him with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell blaring loudly in the cockpit of his Imoca.

Louis Burton

He has been the southernmost boat in the fleet for days now, if the others occasionally climb north to avoid the stronger wind he continues almost undaunted to the east, always with the best VMG. A not inconsiderable test of strength and courage for the young man who is only 35 years old, already has two Vendées behind him, one of which he did not finish and the last one he finished in seventh place. Burton by the way is not sailing on just any boat, but on the former Banque Populaire VIII that was Armel Le Cleac’h’s, the boat that won the 2016-2017 edition tour. Burton is not making a blind attack, if his course is very “aggressive,” it is noticeable how speeds drop when Bureau Vallée crosses areas of significant wind and sea, a sign that the skipper is dosing the boat’s forces while still being decidedly offensive from a tactical point of view.

Louis Burton’s position and averages in the last few hours. It is noticeable that his track has been the southernmost one for days now, and it is bringing him great recovery.

Giancarlo Pedote and Prysmian Group rested a little to the north, with the view instead of definitely avoiding the ugliest part of the depression and positioning themselves at the edge of the front. Giancarlo consistently continues his regatta, made up of a clear strategy: go very fast when there is little sea, brake decisively when the wave rises so as not to risk problems with his Imoca. A strategy that placed him in 10th place, 538 miles behind Charlie Dalin.

Who will be right in the Southern Ocean? Louis Burton’s “brazenness” or the legitimate fears of Charlie Dalin and Giancarlo Pedote? The answer lies in the Roaring 40 and we will soon find out.

Mauro Giuffrè



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