Found in the middle of the JPS boatyard Axel Tréhin, skipper/boat builder is in his element. The construction of his Class40 “Project Rescue Ocean” is progressing well! The timing is perfect and the team expect to have finalised the finishing points of this Raison design within the next three weeks. A December finish should provide the perfect opportunity to fine tune, train and prepare for the year ahead. With a keen eye always on the Vendée Globe fleet Axel checked in to provide his thoughts as the fleet descends the south Atlantic!
Damage and questions:
The retirement of Corum really affected me. After 15 days, this was the first abandonment. It certainly hit home, I know his team well and I know just how hard they worked to provide Nicolas a great boat and to get it ready just in the nick of time. The news must have been brutal but it must also be said that after 16 days it's a testament to IMOCA that this is the only team forced to retire.
Alex Thomson is of course under close scrutiny by everyone, we’re all watching, he’s one of the more down to earth favourites. His damage is pretty significant although he was of course a little luckier than Jérémie Beyou [Charal] who had to return to Les Sables d’Olonne. Plenty of questions remain unanswered on Hugo Boss. Did he hit something? Was the structure a little weak? These boats are on the cutting edge of structural design and although they’ve sailed in some pretty sporty conditions, you’re learning new limits as each day passes.
Not first by chance
By sailing intelligently, Apivia (Charlie Dalin) and LinkedOUT (Thomas Roût) are ahead with a good lead compared to their closest competitors. Their foils are somewhat more versatile, as skippers they are both very sharp and they have sailed enough to know the boat without having to learn the basics whilst on the racecourse. They’re hungry and my god it shows, particularly in Thomas’s videos. It’s nice to see.
The last time we spoke (Post on favorites), we mentioned Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) as the favourite of those in more traditional IMOCA60s equipped with daggerboards. I wondered whether I might have spoken a little hastily, but it would appear not… It just goes to show that with a good, well-prepared and optimised boat that you know like the back of your hand you can sail the race of your life. His boat could not be more different that the modern foilers. The faster sailing angles are different, the polars, at polar opposites! These differences allow you to back yourself in other ways, take the routes others perhaps cannot, it’s fascinating. King Jean’s knowledge of the boat adds to reliability thus allowing him to push where he knows he can and throttle back when things get interesting. Proof being his passage of tropical storm Theta. He knows he can push closer; he can sustain the increased winds and increasingly unstable sea state. He’s been there, seen it and done it all before. In this instance knowledge is most certainly power and knowing the odds are in your favour makes the risk a little less risky.
Kevin and the others
I thought Kevin Escoffier [PRB] could hold the leaders more. From what we had seen before the Vendée Globe, it is no surprise that he is leading this chasing pack. Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer - YCM) and Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ) are racing good races too. Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) with a boat that has not been overhauled too much is also having a good race. In the current weather situation in the South Atlantic, things remain very open.
Photo 1: Copyright - Axel Tréhin, Project Ocean Rescue
Photo 2: Copyright - Jean Le Cam, YES WE CAM!