According to the management of the Vendée Arctique regatta, the meteorological phenomena that hit the south of Iceland have turned out to be more threatening than expected. For this reason, the organization has decided that the gateway to Iceland, located to the east of the island, will be the goal of this Vendée Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne.
Adventure sometimes collides with reason. While three skippers (Charlie Dalin, Jérémie Beyou, Thomas Ruyant) made it through the Iceland gate, which was set up before the regatta to avoid any potentially unpleasant situations, the organization opted to make this gate the finish of the Vendée Arctique. A close examination of all weather patterns in the area, where 20 skippers are still sailing, has revealed a clear need to enable solo sailors to quickly find shelter, or plan a route out of harm's way.
Francis Le Goff, the race director, explains the decisions made by the directors of this race: "The low is there, and some will find it difficult to reach the door of Iceland. However, as the situation is not better once have passed this gate, we have preferred it to be the finish line so that solo sailors can be assured immediately Strong and unstable winds are approaching the area, the effects of the place that will shake the fjord where two boats have already taken refuge do not facilitate welcoming more IMOCA boats Closing the regatta at the door will allow sailors to find the best solution for each of them, with the permanent support of the regatta management and the experience of its technical team. is that on Saturday afternoon, when the worst of the low pressure system has passed, the skippers can return to Les Sables d'Olonne, which will not be so easy: they will not be protected from new strong winds. ertes, but they will be able to manage as good navigators. We knew that the weather changes quickly and brutally in the region, but we have had the worst of what we could fear. Truth be told, what everyone has experienced along the 1,500-mile climb to Iceland - the difficulty of navigating, the struggle to steer the boat, the resistance to the harsh elements - is impressive preparation for a Vendée Globe”.
Alain Leboeuf, President of the SAEM Vendée and the Department of Vendée, stressed that: "Reason tells us to follow the path of prudence. It would not be reasonable to expose sailors to more danger without giving them the opportunity to take refuge. It is the responsibility of the organizer of the regatta not to put these solo sailors at unnecessary risk. I fully trust the good seafaring decisions made by the regatta directors. Oceanic competitions continue to be an adventure, you have to know how to choose your priorities".
Charlie Dalin (APIVIA), who arrived at the gate of Iceland at 2:23:20 on Friday June 17, after 4 days, 9 hours, 23 minutes and 20 seconds, was the first to cross the finish line. He was followed by Jérémie Beyou (Charal) who arrived at the gate of Iceland at 6:04 am, after 4 days, 13 hours and 4 minutes, 3 hours 43 minutes and 34 seconds behind the leader; Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who arrived at the gate of Iceland at 9:33 a.m., after 4 days, 16 hours and 33 minutes, 7 hours and 10 minutes behind the leader, was the third to have crossed what is now called the finish line.
After more than 24 extremely tense hours fighting in the middle of the low pressure zone and trying to move his IMOCA «La Mie Câline» towards the south of Iceland, despite maximum winds of more than 60 knots, Arnaud Boissières informed management of the Vendée Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne regatta their decision to withdraw this Saturday, June 18. A forced and prudent choice, about forty miles from the door in the southeast of Iceland, which has become the finish line.
Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline) struggled for more than 24 hours in the midst of a particularly violent low pressure system, which led the race directors to neutralize him at the southeast gate of Iceland, before reaching the finish line of the 2nd Vendee Arctique - Les Sables d'Olonne.
Established 50 knot winds, gusting to over 60 knots, put the skipper and his boat to the test. Despite all his efforts, the skipper of the Mie Câline had to withdraw: several damage incidents in the last few hours (damaged windsails, furling problem on J2) forced him to opt for safety, notifying his withdrawal.
24 hours in the hell of the north. The skipper of «La Mie Câline» has turned around to start the return, at reduced speed, towards Les Sables d'Olonne. "We have had particularly violent weather events for more than 24 hours, which have followed one another. Sometimes, with more than 60 knots, the situation was very tense. I did everything I could to preserve the boat, but this morning I decided to abandon so as not to damage my team further. It was a difficult decision to make, just a few miles from the new finish line decided last night by the Race Direction. But it is the choice of a prudent sailor above all else. Now I will return to Les Sables d'Olonne aboard La Mie Câline with care and safety and I will learn from these last days at sea to come back stronger, still ambitious and with so much passion”.
This second edition of the Vendée Arctique will throw up a lot of reading for organizers and solo sailors alike given that Iceland is at a more northerly latitude than any other southernmost point on the route in the southern oceans of the round the world sailing event. solo Vendee Globe.
The approach to the poles always entails risks, and in the latitudes of the North Atlantic there is "the storm factory" between the continents of America and Europe; the claws of the "polar bear" can be very dangerous.