After more than ten years split between ports in each corner of the world, Morgane Ursault-Poupon has now spent more than 6 six months on land and in the same place! The skipper of the Class40 UP Sail (#30) has temporarily settled down and is taking advantage of this quiet time to complete the budget required (€ 50k) for her 2021 season, the highlight of which being the Transat Jacques Vabre! “It feels good” she admits. I’ve taken advantage of this quiet time to understand the long-term goals and to prepare for the future! “Tanguy de Lamotte’s former Class40 has a new coach roof, new rudders and is scheduled to launch in mid-April!
Morgane is also taking advantage of her time on dry land to follow her friends, Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) and Isabelle Joshke (MACSF) as they compete in the Vendée Globe. Manu remains on course and is sailing a fantastic race but immense sadness is felt for Isabelle, forced to retire due to a damaged keel and now seeks a safe harbour. Morgane’s revelation? “Pip Hare! Without a doubt..!”
Disappointment for Yannick Bestaven
“We were all very happy to see Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ) leading the way as the front of the fleet rounded Cape Horn. The succession of high pressure found off the coast of Brazil has destroyed his entire lead… However, there is only 100 miles between the first [Charlie Dalin | Apivia] and 6th, everything is still possible as they return north bound for Les Sables d’Olonne. We must also remember the Doldrums and the Bay of Biscay remain. We know that the conditions can be quite difficult. The boats have suffered, the sailors are starting to accumulate fatigue, all scenarios are still possible.
The beautiful outsiders
This Vendée has been fascinating because new figures have emerged. Besides Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) who we know and who is amazing, there is also Damien Seguin who is racing an extraordinary race, Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA - Water Family) who, if he has already done his lessons in the Figaro fleet, has shown that he is a great competitor with an exciting future. They are in contact with the head of the fleet with older, more traditionally designed IMOCA60s ... It is possible that if Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) were still racing, the configuration would have perhaps been quite different at the head of the fleet with less room for the outsiders, but what they’ve managed to do is absolutely beautiful.
For me the revelation of this Vendée Globe has been and continues to be Pip Hare (Medallia). Very few knew her before the start and she has made a very clean Vendée Globe while keeping a smile all the time. The work she did to repair her rudder was remarkable. She had practiced changing her rudder before the start and it might have changed everything for her. We can clearly see here that preparation is crucial in a race as demanding as the Vendée. Hats off for all she does and on a budget. A great sailor has revealed herself.
Manuel Cousin, with whom I am close, is racing a good race and is in his place in 21st position. He is racing. He's coming to the end of the Pacific and hasn't had a major technical problem. It must be hard for them all the same, those who are far behind the leading peloton already off Brazil, when they have not yet left the Pacific. But he is very strong mentally. I spoke to his wife recently to find out if it was not too hard for her, but she is very busy making the link with the Sables d'Olonne schoolchildren, who follow the path of Manuel, one of the premises of the race.
The sad exit of Isabelle Joshke
I’ve ran into Isabelle quite a bit on the pontoons over the last few years. Seeing her pass Cape Horn with the lead pack was great especially after the great comeback she made. She sailed very cleanly, true to her character, lucid and courageous. It was all the sadder to see her have to give up her race because of a technical problem, a serious one at that. She is now far from the coast and it is a new challenge for her to find shelter.
The road remains long!
Unsurprisingly we saw all the skippers very relieved to pass Cape Horn. It’s clear that after the Indian and the Pacific it’s a strong marker for them with this feeling of basically saying to themselves "the hardest part is behind me”. However, you have to be very strong for this trip up the South Atlantic, which is very complicated on weak and tired boats and bodies. We have seen for Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire) what this reaction provokes. You have to be super strong psychologically not to let go and regain motivation. The road remains long!