The race of Yannick Bestaven

He led the fleet for long stretches of the race


Topping the leaderboard 157 times and proving virtually unbeatable in the south. It’s a marked contrast to his first attempt at the Vendee Globe, which ended with dismasting only hours after the start. After that experience he didn’t return to the race for more than a decade.

Bestaven, with his 2015 boat and its more modest sized foils, proved especially able to push his boat hard in the confused seas and big winds of the Indian Ocean and pulled away from the peloton, closing on leaders Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant, before then breaking away into the lead south west of Tasmania on December 16. He then emerged out of a high pressure system which effected a remarkable restart in the Pacifc just after Christmas to celebrate his 48th birthday with a growing lead, which he had extended to nearly 15 hours over Charlie Dalin at Cape Horn. .

But from there he was impressive in the South Atlantic, putting a 434 mile lead on Dalin and Ruyant. But this didn’t last. His progress was cruelly blocked by the semi permanent cold front that sits off Brazil’s Cabo Frio, by Rio. Over three frustrating days his lead evaporated. And the evening of Day 65 saw an unprecedented restart after almost 20,000 miles of racing. With the top five boats now less than 30 miles apart, and four more within a further 80 miles, the race was wide open again.

After losing his lead it was back in the North Atlantic that Bestaven revealed he had in fact suffered damage as he was rounding Cape Horn in the most difficult conditions of his race, 50kts winds and big seas. His pulpit was ripped off, he lost a furler and some of his sails could no longer be used.

Maitre Coq lV was the westernmost boat among the leaders at this stage and the advantage passed to those further offshore immediately to the east – Apivia, Bureau Vallée 2 and LinkedOut. This trio, accompanied by Boris Herrmann’s Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, were later the first to break out of the doldrums, thus extending their advantage over Bestaven.
Nevertheless, Bestaven continued to press hard and made the big call to route north of the major islands in the Azores archipelago. This traded extra distance for potential for more speed in the stronger winds associated with a massive low pressure system forecast to replace a weak high pressure ridge in the Bay of Biscay in the final few hours of the race.

This strategy not only returned him to overall contention at the heart of thrilling finale that left the overall result hanging in the balance, even after the first three boats had crossed the finish line of Les Sables d’Olonne.

Yannick Bestaven/Maître CoQ lV statistics:

Equator (outward bound)
9th on 19/11/2020 at 0821hrs UTC after 10d 19hrs 01mins,
19hrs 02mins after the leader, HUGO BOSS                 

Cape of Good Hope
8th on 02/12/2020 at 0844hrs UTC after 23d 19hrs 24mins,
1d 09hrs 33mins after the leader, Apivia

Cape Leeuwin
3rd on 13/12/2020 at 1446hrs UTC after 35d 01hrs 26mins,
03hrs 20mins after the leader, Apivia

Cape Horn
1st on 02/01/2021 at 1342hrs UTC after 55d 00hrs 22mins     

Equator (return leg)
5th on 17/01/2021 at 0236hrs UTC after 69d 13hrs 16mins,
7hrs 24mins after the leader, Bureau Vallée

16th December 0800hrs UTC to 25th December 0800hrs UTC

26th December 0400hrs UTC to 11th January 2100hrs UTC

13th January 0400hrs UTC to 13th January 1100hrs UTC        

Best 24-hour run
31st December, 482.32 miles averaging 20.1 knots

source press release Vendée Globe

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