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24 hours before the finish of the Vendée Globe, it is impossible to know who will be the winner among the group of five boats leading the race towards Les Sables-d’Olonne, in a sprint of unprecedented suspense, accentuated by the compensations enjoyed by those who have diverted themselves to save a competitor.
While the first Vendée Globe skippers should arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne on Wednesday January 27, the final result is still uncertain. The sailors at the head of the race are indeed very close to each other and the first to arrive may not be the winner, given the time compensation granted to the skippers who were diverted for the rescue of Kevin Escoffier at the end of November.
“I’ve been at sea for so long that I forgot that life on land really existed, my standard is to be on Apivia, it is to be on my boat and I can’t get enough everything, but then not at all to tell me that the arrival is imminent, “explained Tuesday, Charlie Dalin, who is in the lead after 79 days and should arrive early Wednesday evening.
Behind him, Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco) should arrive on Wednesday evening, while Thomas Rettant (LinkedOut) is expected at the start of the night, followed by Yannick Bestaven in the middle of night / early morning.
Compensation that will make the difference
The first one to cross the finish line might not be the winner, because two sailors in the leading group benefit from hourly compensation for helping with the search during the sinking of Kevin Escoffier: this is the German Boris Herrmann, currently in second position 82 nautical miles (152 km) behind Charlie Dalin with a compensation of 6 hours, and Yannick Bestaven (266 miles / 493 km behind the leader) with a compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes.
“I know it’s going to be played out within a few hours or a few minutes, so to have nothing to regret after crossing the finish line, I’m going to give my all to the end,” explained Yannick Bestaven.
To find such suspense, we have to go back to the 2012-2013 edition when Armel Le Cléac’h arrived only three hours and 17 minutes after the winner François Gabart, but during this edition, the following boats had joined the wear respectively two days, eight days and nine days after the leading duo.
“It’s completely new, how can we imagine being on such a tight field of competitors after a round the world nonstop and without assistance. It’s incredible. It’s the first time we’ve seen this. So much the better, it proves that sport is in its place. There is competition and that is what must be remembered, we are unable to give the podium. So that means that the level is excellent, “said the director. race Jacques Caraës.
A simple guard of honor
Due to the compensations, the skipper Jean Le Cam could climb on the third step of the podium even if he is currently eighth because he obtained sixteen hours and fifteen minutes for the rescue of Kévin Escoffier.
“In the hearts of fans of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, it is obviously Jean Le Cam who is already the winner,” said the mayor of Sables-d’Olonne, Yannick Moreau, delighted to have obtained the authorization on Tuesday. from the prefecture so that Vendée Globe volunteers form a guard of honor for the skippers who will arrive between Wednesday and Friday evening.
Live from # VG2020 in the presence of Yann Elies who asked Jean what his objective is: “My first objective is to cross the finish line. Damien and Giancarlo? We’ll see ! The south train tickles my buttocks, a little more and it could be quite good … “😉 #YesWeCAM pic.twitter.com/PwrqEduY1o
– Jean Le Cam (@JeanLecam) January 26, 2021
“This guard of honor will be made up of 300 volunteers, who will each be masked, placed four meters from each other, along the channel so as to be able to bring a little humanity, warmth, and fervor to the arrival of the Vendée Globe skippers and prevent them from entering a deserted port in winter, in the sanitary silence of today’s France, “said Yannick Moreau.
As at the start, spectators will not be allowed to admire their heroes on the Sables-d’Olonne channel due to the health crisis.
Of the 33 boats that took the start, eight retired and 25 are still racing, the last competitors having just passed Cape Horn.
With AFP and Reuters