Not too blessed these last few days, Yannick Bestaven isn’t where he would have liked to be, but he’s still in the running. You have to put your heart into it: the squall passages take up a lot of energy from the sailors.
“The trade winds are weak, and they are strewn with squalls which accelerate or break our speed. There are around 12 or 13 knots more or less. That means we have to make a lot of adjustments in order to move forward and maintain an average speed. You have to be on top of it, ease the mainsail when it gets up to 18 knots, manage the variations from 10 to 18 knots in strength, and 50 degrees in direction. You can’t afford to be too far from the deck to manage all that. So I sleep for short periods at a time, trying to recover enough to be really on it for when I can go fast. I haven’t set up the cockpit so it’s comfortable to sleep there, so I sleep in the bunk and as soon as an alarm rings I wake up. Maître CoQ IV is in great shape, everything is fine.
I look at the routing, which will take me to Les Sables d’Olonne in 13-14 days. There you have it for my long-term thinking. The strategy is to see how to negotiate Recife, with its complex zones to manage: we won’t have to stay stuck to the coast, with the counter-currents, wind zones and squall passages. We could lose a lot of speed there.
Morally, it’s hard, I have the impression I haven’t been lucky: I was stopped first, and inevitably for the longest too. Then I couldn’t gain enough in the East to keep a lead on my pursuers, and then it was much easier for them to move off in strong winds. I found myself downwind of them, without being able to get into the same wind as them, and that pissed me off.
We didn’t have the same weather conditions nor the same timing in the cold front. It was better to come from behind! There’s going to be another crossing later. The Doldrums will have passed fairly quickly, but there is another small barrier waiting for us in the North Atlantic.
It’s all go now to get back to Les Sables d’Olonne, we’ll see what happens for this last part! The final chapter of the race is going to be interesting: there are several of us who could win, and it’s something we’ve never seen before in the Vendée Globe”.