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":A 2h18 heure française, le team PRB a été informé du sauvetage de Kevin Escoffier par Jean Le Cam. " Kevin has been rescued.  

Give it a rest chaps. HB was another attempt at evolution, and they should be applauded for spending a fuck ton of money to do so. If you want to try and be innovative you run the risk of breakages al

VG sailors at sea in the rough A translation: JLC: Damien can you receive me ? DS: Yes Jean I can (garbled)... I don't think you're receiving me that well but I receive you very well. JL

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1 hour ago, Corryvreckan said:

His article this morning, he said he doesn't envision fixing it until he gets some calmer weather on Friday or so(!).  He seems to be happy enough with how things are going for now.

https://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/news/20884/boris-herrmann-reasons-to-be-cheerful-milestones-to-look-forward-to

Thanks--Had assumed all the nav programs automatically handle dateline issues that plague trackers.  "After that I will close my navigation program and restart it in anti meridian view."

Might explain that the tracking error crossing the equator originated in his onboard software, not the dashboard.

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JLC seem to be loosing some way to the boats below him. I guess that - as he said in an interview posted here - he is easing a bit until he can make a proper check at the boat.

More difficult conditions for YesWeCam then those souther

And very though condition for Ruyan!!! 

Schermata 2020-12-08 alle 19.57.17.png

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1 hour ago, stief said:

Still looking if those migration routes might be in a Windy plugin. Could explain some seemingly odd choices the fleet makes.

The race organizers plan and know about the routes. Dee discussed those routes (and the migration routes of other jetsam and flotsam), a few days ago with Conrad Humphreys, so the routes are somewhat known.

Haven't noticed the sailors themselves talking how much they factor this into their routes. Obviously, more than I expected.

Hmm note sure there are routes as such. But if you think of where the animals hang out in the winter and keep in mind that they head for Antarctica for the summer you could make some reasonably assumption on longitudes where you might expect them to be more abundant. For example Blue whales heading South from Tahiti area, Souther rights heading south from Cape of Good Hope etc...  I'll ask my other half if she can did something up as it broadly falls into her field :) 

 

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1 hour ago, troll99 said:

7/12 am 8.00 and 8/12 pm 6. 
Other boats: "okay, Im giving up" :lol:
300 nm already in 30 hours to the previous boat (Roura).

..Not to mention he was 1,100 miles behind them at the equator. Fascinated by L’Occitane’s progress. I hope he manages to thread the needle with the weather along the top of the ice gate

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18 minutes ago, littlechay said:

Hmm note sure there are routes as such. But if you think of where the animals hang out in the winter and keep in mind that they head for Antarctica for the summer you could make some reasonably assumption on longitudes where you might expect them to be more abundant. For example Blue whales heading South from Tahiti area, Souther rights heading south from Cape of Good Hope etc...  I'll ask my other half if she can did something up as it broadly falls into her field :)

Thanks Chay. Bouquets to the missus anyway.

Dee sounded like the issue was more than exaggerated bar talk, so wondered what you, zonker and the others who sail these areas thought. Just 'deal' (or shrug off)? I recall we just "accepted" the whales in the St Lawrence we'd see when racing to Prince Edward Island (one of the other PEIs) many years ago. Nothing we could do at night. No way were we going to hove to until daytime. :lol:

Do you run much differently when in such places? Extra watches? Bit more cautious?

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22 minutes ago, OPAL said:

Seems to be a bit of a highway down there?

Link? Most of the maps I found so far are species specific. Dee mentions the stuff coming down the Agulhas current, the trees flowing out of river mouths, and the various migratory paths of the mammals.  The maps for Australia look pretty dense too. Damian Foxall mentioned the whales are tagged and tracked by satellites, but data is too delayed to be much use for the fast foilers. This looked interesting https://sharkresearch.rsmas.miami.edu/education/virtual-learning/tracking-sharks/

So, back down the rabbit hole. Something like Marine Traffic's shipping density maps that combined all of the above would be buried treasure. Right now finding lots of grains of sand.

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4 minutes ago, PIL66 - XL2 said:

Does anyone know why 15th 16th 17th and 18th are heading north... Did I miss something....?

I had the same thought but roll the weather forward 24h and it makes more sense why they are getting separation from the ice zone and the centre of that L

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1 hour ago, stief said:

Do you run much differently when in such places? Extra watches? Bit more cautious?

No not really.. But the boats I sail in those areas would not be hurt by a whale, rather the other way around. I suspect that until you are doing over 10 knots the whales will generally get out of the way, unless they are asleep when it is possible to run right over the top of them. 

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7 minutes ago, Snowden said:

I had the same thought but roll the weather forward 24h and it makes more sense why they are getting separation from the ice zone and the centre of that L

Edit: I read VMG as boatspeed, looks like they are doing 6kts in 10kts of forecast breeze which is somewhat reasonable. If you looked at the low VMG numbers you would think they were parked. No search patterns so that is a much-needed positive!

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3 minutes ago, samc99us said:

At 3-4kts of boat speed? Doesn't make too much sense if they are the 10kts of forecast breeze. Plus 18th place is headed right for them.

19th is 160NM away and in completely different pressure and routing phase. 

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Least attrition this VG since 2004.

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30 days elapsed since the departure of #VG2020 , the abandonment rate is 15% of the number of departing boats. This is quite reasonable, we have to go back to 2004 to find a lower rate of 10%.

details here; cred to Micih D for the find.

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25 minutes ago, PIL66 - XL2 said:

Does anyone know why 15th 16th 17th and 18th are heading north... Did I miss something....?

If they go north now they will have a TWA of ~80degrees when it starts to get windy.  If they continued east then they would have a TWA of 50 or worse and being crunched against the ice limit when the wind comes.

 

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1 minute ago, Coconuts.is said:

If they go north now they will have a TWA of ~80degrees when it starts to get windy.  If they continued east then they would have a TWA of 50 or worse and being crunched against the ice limit when the wind comes.

 

much better explanation than mine^_^

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I was listening to the podcasts of tip and shaft and i was really impressed by how many french offshore sailors had something to do with the french sailing school Les Glénans at some point of their sailing carreer, Franck Cammas, Vincent Riou, Armel Tripon, Charles Caudrelier, Michel Desjoyeaux obviously.

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Heerema bought a decent boat. If I recall correctly he set off without really testing the newly installed AP. He was super frustrated with the company, I recall, and came close to giving up. I didn't like his attitude which seemed that of a wealthy guy who thinks he deserves better customer service in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Much of it was his own mistake.

But he finished and actually seemed to change his tune a bit. Hopefully he will also tell his company to not fuck up the ocean (he made his money in the offshore oil and gas industry).

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3 hours ago, stief said:

Thanks Chay. Bouquets to the missus anyway.

Dee sounded like the issue was more than exaggerated bar talk, so wondered what you, zonker and the others who sail these areas thought. Just 'deal' (or shrug off)? I recall we just "accepted" the whales in the St Lawrence we'd see when racing to Prince Edward Island (one of the other PEIs) many years ago. Nothing we could do at night. No way were we going to hove to until daytime. :lol:

Do you run much differently when in such places? Extra watches? Bit more cautious?

There is an occasional striking of a whale (usually a humpback, which migrates north from mostly Mexico in the summer) by the very large Alaska ferries and cruise ships, which has or would be but for Covid, leading to a restriction on the number of such ships that can pass through certain areas of the ocean, most notably around Glacier Bay off South-central Alaska, as well as the Gulf of Alaska. NOAA, Marine Fisheries, USFWS, all investigate. Certainly other industries have started to build/locate/design their facilities to try to avoid or minimize what heretofore has been deemed under some laws as an "illegal take" eg the Migratory Bird Act. Owners/operators of eg wind farms are locating their turbines away from known migratory bird flight patterns, and also modifying the shape and speed of the rotating blades to minimize bird death. Transmission line and substation construction similarly takes such migratory patterns into account. Facilities are now often designed or modified to prevent raptors from perching and electrocuting themselves.  

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17 minutes ago, despacio avenue said:

... Facilities are now often designed or modified to prevent raptors from perching and electrocuting themselves.  

Around here, the concern is more about birds taking down the grid than birds electrocuting themselves. This past weekend, a nearby town of over 8000 people lost power for 12 hours because of a "bird", according to one of the power companies. No one seemed very concerned about the bird.

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2 hours ago, stief said:

Link? Most of the maps I found so far are species specific. Dee mentions the stuff coming down the Agulhas current, the trees flowing out of river mouths, and the various migratory paths of the mammals.  The maps for Australia look pretty dense too. Damian Foxall mentioned the whales are tagged and tracked by satellites, but data is too delayed to be much use for the fast foilers. This looked interesting https://sharkresearch.rsmas.miami.edu/education/virtual-learning/tracking-sharks/

So, back down the rabbit hole. Something like Marine Traffic's shipping density maps that combined all of the above would be buried treasure. Right now finding lots of grains of sand.

When we were in South Africa we did a cage dive with Great Whites. Most of them were about 4m. The guides said the big ones were further east at that time of year (although a 4m GW at a distance of a foot looks pretty big). Turns out that we had been seeing the many dozens of the big Great Whites on the surface almost all the way from Richards Bay much to the east. No idea if they stay in the warm waters of the Agulhas Current or find their way south to where the VG boats. I suspect there would be more food in the cooler water to the south. Hitting a 7 or 8 m shark would damage a foil or rudder.

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35 minutes ago, AnotherSailor said:

Heerema bought a decent boat. If I recall correctly he set off without really testing the newly installed AP. He was super frustrated with the company, I recall, and came close to giving up. I didn't like his attitude which seemed that of a wealthy guy who thinks he deserves better customer service in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Much of it was his own mistake.

But he finished and actually seemed to change his tune a bit. Hopefully he will also tell his company to not fuck up the ocean (he made his money in the offshore oil and gas industry).

Let’s see what he says in Sea Wolves interview tomm.   I also thought he went on a bit much last time but, when it’s your ass on the line - well.....

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Some birds can outsmart  electrical engineers. 

Here's an OT story from the treasure hunting book "Ship of Gold" (Gary Kinder, 1998) They wired the rails of their barge with 220v DC to get rid of the birds, but that only worked for a bit.

Quote

Tommy hit the juice again and the current shot along the rail, and they thought that one seagull would fly away, but she didn’t. She lifted one leg. They disconnected the battery, and she put her leg down. They zapped her again, and she lifted the other leg. Without both of her legs down to complete the circuit, the electricity just ran on through. Another bird landed, then another bird, and another bird, and Tommy touched that positive terminal with the wire again, and half a dozen seagulls lifted one leg. As soon as the electricity stopped, they set the leg down.
After two days, every one of the seagulls had returned, and it seemed as if many had brought friends and relatives, for the entire bow was lined with seagulls and the deck was white again. Now when Tommy threw the switch, hundreds of seagulls would lift one leg in unison, and by touching the wire to the terminal back and forth in a rhythmic way, he could make the birds dance. It reminded Clyne of A Chorus Line.

Edit: Smart turtle track. Guess the turtles are political activists

Quote

UPDATE 2 (12/31/18): After exploring Rancho Palos Verdes, Trump Golf Course and LA Harbor, Triscuit headed south not stopping until she arrived in La Jolla on December 28th . This is not a surprise as scientists and biologists had hypothesized that Triscuit would head back down to La Jolla.  Since that day, she has returned to La Jolla Shores in the early morning hours after what appears to be foraging (hunting) runs out to the open ocean.

https://www.pacificmmc.org/satellite-tracking

Back on topic. Still wondering if the skippers on board do more than just "deal' with the chances of hitting something (AIS and COLREGS aside) 

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1 hour ago, Varan said:

Around here, the concern is more about birds taking down the grid than birds electrocuting themselves. This past weekend, a nearby town of over 8000 people lost power for 12 hours because of a "bird", according to one of the power companies. No one seemed very concerned about the bird.

Burd stbird strikes causing outages have definitely been an issue. Several years ago, a raven contacted some electrical equipment  in a m major substation in town during the first quarter of the Super Bowl. Hundreds of people were at various bars and similar venues around town watching it, plus the usual at home folks. The electric utility company's switchboard lit up, supervisors called at home by their irate friends, etc. It took awhile to get power restored to certain parts of the city given start up, etc.  Even though the deceased raven was shown to the TV reporter during an interview no one believed it; claimed the company kept a frozen dead raven in the company fridge and hauled it out whenever there was an outage to deflect claims that it was faulty equipment. And no one  believes, although it is true, that eagle shit on a power line  can cause outages. . 

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The overall pace this year is starting to look like it may not improve on 2016.  Dalin is currently around 5 days / 2000 miles behind the 2016 track from Le Cléac'h, and looked like he was around 3 days behind at Cape of Good Hope.  Unless something changes, it could be a rare Vendée race that does not to improve on the winning time of the previous edition.  Le Cam may be on to something when he says foils are not for this IMOCA race?  Or maybe chalk it up to the damage to the favored big budget boats?

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5 minutes ago, tama_manu said:

The overall pace this year is starting to look like it may not improve on 2016.  Dalin is currently around 5 days / 2000 miles behind the 2016 track from Le Cléac'h, and looked like he was around 3 days behind at Cape of Good Hope.  Unless something changes, it could be a rare Vendée race that does not to improve on the winning time of the previous edition.  Le Cam may be on to something when he says foils are not for this IMOCA race?  Or maybe chalk it up to the damage to the favored big budget boats?

The weather to get into the Indian has not cooperated with the strategy book. Another loss for the  #2020 pundits.. 

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57 minutes ago, tama_manu said:

 Le Cam may be on to something when he says foils are not for this IMOCA race?  Or maybe chalk it up to the damage to the favored big budget boats?

It would be interesting to see what one of the top design offices would come up with if asked to draw a non-foiling boat to win the Vendee.  It is almost a decade since anyone tried.

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1 hour ago, tama_manu said:

The overall pace this year is starting to look like it may not improve on 2016.  Dalin is currently around 5 days / 2000 miles behind the 2016 track from Le Cléac'h, and looked like he was around 3 days behind at Cape of Good Hope.  Unless something changes, it could be a rare Vendée race that does not to improve on the winning time of the previous edition.  Le Cam may be on to something when he says foils are not for this IMOCA race?  Or maybe chalk it up to the damage to the favored big budget boats?

Sail-World repeated a discussion regarding this.

"Although the one month elapsed represents a little less than half of the record times predicted before the start, only 38% of the course has been completed. Right now the leaders are in the middle of the Indian Ocean while four years ago, Armel Le Cléac'h had already passed Cape Leeuwin"

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1 hour ago, socalrider said:

The biggest issue here in CA with power line shorts is mylar party balloons if you can believe it.  

Hope it is not from crazy Californians tying ballons to their aluminum framed lawn chairs.

Given all the power line induced fires there, I would have expected wind (or falling trees) to be the biggest issue.

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52 minutes ago, SCARECROW said:
1 hour ago, tama_manu said:

 Le Cam may be on to something when he says foils are not for this IMOCA race?  Or maybe chalk it up to the damage to the favored big budget boats?

It would be interesting to see what one of the top design offices would come up with if asked to draw a non-foiling boat to win the Vendee.  It is almost a decade since anyone tried.

And just as interesting if given a open cheque book, which design route would JLC actually choose for 'real'???

His age....mmm .. FOILING HB MkII 'capsule' complete with sprung floor and accoustic dampening????

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2 hours ago, stief said:

Sam on the Live confirms Alex's keel troubles last year "helped save my boat." Figured the teams took the lessons seriously and shared the info.

I think she sells herself short there.

The delamination lesson in 2018 RDR set in train the idea she would keep the cheque book open for as long as possible and make every improvement to lower the probability of crashing out using the experience of others. AT's keel issues was one. 

Bloody shame it came down to a fluke strike so low on the keel fin, that with the leverage imposed, there is no contingency you can build in for that, and still have a competitive weight.

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1 hour ago, SCARECROW said:

It would be interesting to see what one of the top design offices would come up with if asked to draw a non-foiling boat to win the Vendee.  It is almost a decade since anyone tried.

yup, I'd personally find that significantly more interesting than a new foiler. I get this is top level ocean racing (with all the corresponding go for broke design philosophies), but imo, give me a fast, simple, easy to push design with an emphasis on high average speeds and better than average durability. this event isn't really a sprint.

guess that's why Burton's boat is my favorite foiler, because the foils are on the small side, and I'll bet Le Cam is more than totally fine with his polished dagger board boat (regardless of his age).

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What Benjamin Dutreux is doing is amazing.

  • It is his first participation.
  • He is on a 2007 boat, with straight boards.
  • He is racing on a shoestring budget.

 

And in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the guy is fifth.  F.I.F.T.H !!!

 

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1 hour ago, Varan said:

Hope it is not from crazy Californians tying ballons to their aluminum framed lawn chairs.

Given all the power line induced fires there, I would have expected wind (or falling trees) to be the biggest issue.

I think you are thinking about Danny Deckchair, who was an Aussie.

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58 minutes ago, Laurent said:

What Benjamin Dutreux is doing is amazing.

  • It is his first participation.
  • He is on a 2007 boat, with straight boards.
  • He is racing on a shoestring budget.

 

And in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the guy is fifth.  F.I.F.T.H !!!

I love seeing the old low budget guys even with the big budgets - makes it really fun.  

Charlie and Thomas must be getting the crap beaten out of them right about now if the tracker is correct; 5-6m seas, probably confused, 30kts for Thomas, and 40 for Charlie - right on the beam!  Nice to see Louis back up to speed.  

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1 hour ago, AnotherSailor said:

I think you are thinking about Danny Deckchair, who was an Aussie.

No, that was a movie made by and Aussie.  The real deal was Lawnchair Larry, who used weather balloons to go up and a pellet gun to go down, back in 1982.  He was prevented from fulfilling his dream of being an Air Force pilot by his bad eyesight.  He stopped traffic at LAX, ascended to 15,000ft, and on his descent got entangled in some power lines before making it down safely.  

Like many things, it was invented here in CA and copied all over the place, often with worse results.  

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1 hour ago, socalrider said:

The real deal was Lawnchair Larry, who used weather balloons to go up and a pellet gun to go down, back in 1982..... got entangled in some power lines before making it down safely.  

And because he didn't die he doesn't make it into the Darwin Awards. 

Which by the way the rules are more complex than the RRS.

For instance 'foolishness' must be a 'unique' and 'sensational' to exclude things like 'suicide' from the 'cause'.

Judges were scratching their heads when presented with a man who 'attempted' only and didn't even 'succeed' at suicide. That head scratching was because he swallowed nitroglycerine pills and then tried to detonate them by running into a wall. :lol:

He did end up after much deliberation getting a honourable mention, rather than being excluded. 

'Cause' also being of one's 'own demise' disqualifies killing someone else or group stupidity. Hence this lot are just dumb cunts not worthy of even a mention.

images - 2020-12-09T161726.465.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Laurent said:

What Benjamin Dutreux is doing is amazing.

  • It is his first participation.
  • He is on a 2007 boat, with straight boards.
  • He is racing on a shoestring budget.

And in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the guy is fifth.  F.I.F.T.H !!!

That is quite remarkable with only boat older I think Pip Hare's???

You get to the stage of having to come up with categories of "shoestring"

Like "new boats" pretty good budgets there is still the 'poor'. Such as Tripon (a 1st timer) and Ruyant as Miff points out who struggled financially and were touch and to get to start line at some point.

12 hours ago, Miffy said:

Amongst the new boats, I don't think anyone has had such a tough financial time as Tripon and Thomas Ruyant re getting the boat to the start line. 

 

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6 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

You get to the stage of having to come up with categories of "shoestring"

Remember the proposed R2AK rule (not sure if it was ever implemented) where they'd offer some amount of $$ (maybe US$10k?) to each boat as it crossed the line in exchange for the title?  

That would add a nice dimension to the Vendee, though maybe too crass for the French.  Make it something more meaningful that'd be a multiple of what a shoestring Vendee veteran is worth, but a fraction of a new build.  Maybe $1M?  No idea what the right number is, but I bet Pip would swap her boat for that amount!  

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Weather update

Pics 1, 2, 3 and 4 give the big perspective for ECMWF wind/pressure, EUMETSAT IR clouds, ECMWF WAM (seas state) and Clouds. ECMWF and GFS agree on a smaller scale, as usual.

Ruyant has less pressure after going north of Ile Amsterdam, compared to Dalin. The LP developing into a storm can clearly be seen south of Dalin.

Seastate is still not nice, and is moving east behind the cold front. 5+ meters waves for Dalin. 

Saturday a LP zone is projected to come down south from Cape Leeuwin. That could generate big winds and impact the boats between Australia and the AEZ. Hence the red routings there. If this LP moves quicker than projected now, it could force Dalin to detour towards Australia. At this moment it is projected that he can just sneak through. And other following boats have more headwinds. Something to watch in the coming days. See pic 4 with routing Daling for Saturday.

Around Thursday the boats get lighter winds and a lighter ride up to Sunday, before bumping into the LP coming down from Cape Leeuwin. Some time to fix things onboard and do a proper wash/shave.

Routing table for top-8 boats in pic 6. Additional routings for JLC, Ruyant and Burton in pics 7 to 9.

 

ECMWF 091220.jpg

EUMETSAT IR 091220.jpg

ECWMF WAM 091220.jpg

Clouds 091220.jpg

Dalin projection Saturday.png

routing table 091220.png

Le Cam 091220.png

Burton 091220.png

Ruyant 091220.png

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Dalin send a message, all fine, nothing to report.
He knew he had a shot on podium place in his first VG, but to be in the lead so early and for so long. Keep focused Dalin.
Successful in Mini, Figaro and now Imoca.. when he started out as shore crew for mini's when he was young. Wet sanding rudders on the dock was the first time I did see him.

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^^^^
So 14 Imoca's who did the VG 2008 now in the 2020 race... and in 2008 a 10 of them abandoned that race, remarkable.
And some sailing in 20 year old racing boats.
Nice presentation that is, thanks.

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What Benjamin Dutreux is doing is amazing.

  • It is his first participation.
  • He is on a 2007 boat, with straight boards.
  •  He is racing on a shoestring budget.

 And in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the guy is fifth.  F.I.F.T.H !!!

4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

That is quite remarkable with only boat older I think Pip Hare's???

[...]

Omia Was launched in 2007. Same as Hubert/Yes We Cam (JLC), Pure Best Western (Romain), V&B Mayenne (Maxime), Stark (Ari) and Groupe Setin (Manuel)

Older than Omia are Companie du lit (2006), Campagne de France (2006), Merci (2005), One Planet One ocean (2000), Medallia (1999) and  TSE-4myPlanet (1998)

There are more competitors in this race than you think :) Still, a very good race by Benjamin for sure.

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Charal for the first time in weeks looking to overtake a competitor, Huusela is the first target ... must be a good feeling for Beyou
Beyou in full racing made passing Ari reading a book :) Just different goals in the VG.

Will Be You come close at Yes We Cam before the finish ? Butchering English language here...

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Did see the video of the big ice floe/berg near South Georgia (with lot's of growlers) and followed the internet links to this, do not know if it was posted before;
https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-1
https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-1/Copernicus_satellites_keep_eyes_on_icebergs_for_Vendee_Globe


 

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34 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Fabulous find....I can still think history and don't have to worry about dementia anymore.

There is another list here : https://www.histoiredeshalfs.com/Histoire des 60'/Historique 60'.xls

This one is not as nicely presented, but includes all IMOCAS ever built.

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Another interesting fact :

Back in 2016, at that time in the race, Jean Le Cam was pretty much in the same position.

2016 distance to finish : 14900 nautical milles

2020 distance to finish : 15200 nautical milles

The reddress will also close that gap even more.

Source: https://twitter.com/objectifocean/status/1336665917560909825?s=20

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I am a bit disappointed, Jérémie Beyou seems to sail quite cautiously, that s what he said, was expecting to see him release all the horses, pushing his boat to the limit.

That's my armchair's sailor comment

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https://www.vendeeglobe.org/fr/actualites/20908/jeremie-beyou-je-me-concentre-sur-la-glisse-du-bateau

"The descent of the Atlantic and the bypass of St. Helena were long and painful. I am on the edge of a los pressure downwind, so I have to tack, so it goes fast, but I am not progressing very fast towards the goal. I'm trying to get the boat moving as best I can even if the sea is short and the wind is irregular. It's hard to have stable speeds there.

 

I'd like to be in the front group to tackle the Indian Ocean, in terms of safety it's better. The problem is that the few miles they have ahead of them means they stay ahead of the front longer than me. Once the front catches up with me, I start to fall behind again. I have to get past them before it gets to me. I left ten days after everyone else, but I'm not here to take any ill-considered risks: from now on my challenge is to bring the boat and the skipper back to the end of the race in good condition. I try not to do anything foolish.

 

Charal is a great boat that just wants to go fast, but we're only at the start of the race so I think the worst thing to do would be to push and break everything. I would be very sorry. I try to go smoothly, even a notch below. I'm not going to find myself in 15th or 10th place just by forcing myself on the boat, it would take a combination of circumstances and weather conditions for me to gain places. I'm really trying to spare the boat even if it has some underfoot. If I see that there are opportunities to come back to the front group, I'll try to take advantage of them and put a little pressure on it. I'm really into management here, it's a different Vendée Globe for me and I have to deal with it. I have to be able to sail around the world by managing the boat well and hoping that the weather opens up a little bit in front of me so that I can gain places.

 

I'm really concentrating on making the boat glide, making it glide without forcing it too much. Of course I look at the weather forecast but I don't linger. After the Cape of Good Hope, it's not clear and it doesn't look good for me. I live from day to day and concentrate more on life on board, on making the boat move forward quietly, I talk to my family and friends about other things than the race, it's such a different event for me that I need to not project myself too much so that it goes well morally. "

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Tue 8/12/2020 12:24 AM
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After 28 days at sea, Armel entered the Indian Ocean by crossing the longitude of the Cap des Aiguilles that night, a few hours after doubling the Cape of Good Hope. Weak yesterday, the northerly wind came back and Armel, now 14the in the Vendée Globe, passed Alan Roura at high speed: 20 knots. Going fast is important to get past a depression that "descends" from Port Elizabeth.
 
Many symbols on the menu of Armel who crossed the cape of Good Hope at 5:48 pm yesterday Sunday, December 6 and then - a few hours later, at 2 a.m. today Monday - the Cap des Aiguilles.  Good Hope is the first of the three great mythical capes of the Vendée Globe (before Cape Leeuwin in Australia and Cape Horn at the tip of South America), it is this Cape of Needles, by 20 degrees of East longitude, that officially marks the end of the South Atlantic and the entry into the Indian Ocean, this liquid and icy desert where Armel sails for the first time.
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The atmosphere changes radically: mist, cold, wind

Armel did not lose his humour in yesterday's quiet day, when the small group of four boats that form L'Occitane in Provence with the IMOCA of Alan Roura, Stéphane Le Diraison and Arnaud Boissières was copiously slowed down in a windless zone.  Armel jokes: "I was a little upset; Let us say that I had taken my Sunday; In the month we left, I didn't have a single weekend and wanted to enjoy my sea view rental!   Fortunately, the northerly wind returned in the course of last night and L'Occitane in Provence is going this morning at an average of 20 knots! Armel managed to take 14th place by passing Stéphane Le Diraison, then Alan Roura. L'Occitane in Provence thus achieved one of the best intermediate times of the fleet between the equator and Good Hope, which also explains this rise in the rankings.
 

Images of the edge

yesterday, just before passing the Cape of Good Hope
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"I'm in Sioux mode, attacking in the Indian"
The atmosphere is changing dramatically in this southern maritime desert. "Yesterday we passed a cloud mass in a fog to cut with a knife. I felt like I was in Newfoundland, smelling the icebergs nearby. So much so that I felt like I was distinguishing it in the mist, even if there were none. It was pretty unreal, Titanic vibe. We know that the icebergs are not far away, that is also why the ZEA (ice zone) was raised by the Race Directorate. 
Yesterday Armel was also able to see Alan Roura's boat, about 5 miles from L'Occitane in Provence: "We had a little conversation at the VHF with Alan, as I had done with Stéphane (Le Diraison) 24 hours before. It was nice: we shared our little galleys, our joys and our sorrows, we exchanged our impressions. All against a background of freezing temperatures and very, very short nights. "The day gets up at 3 a.m. after going to bed at 10 p.m., it's really weird, it's a different world! I see a lot of birds, albatross coming back with the wind because they need them to hover. There, we sail quickly again for a few hours: I'm at 20 knots average, with a ris in the mainsail and it's running well. I'm in Sioux mode, attacking in the Indian! »
 

Video of the edge

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December 7, 2020
Passing the Cape of Good Hope... A small glass of Château Trianon for Neptune and the skipper!!!
(to be consumed in moderation.... )
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Goal: to get past depression

Armel's goal is to sail straight as fast as possible to slip past a fairly hollow depression coming down from Port Elizabeth ,South Africa). "I'm not changing my path for her because I think I'm fast enough to get through this depression. At worst, if I had to be a little slowed down because there is little margin, I will eventually have to endure a few hours in 25 knots of wind up close but no more. And the situation looks pretty stable... so for me it's largely manageable: I'm on the road. 
We've been at sea for a month, we're sailing 45 degrees south, we're going back in the long time of the Vendée Globe. Until then I knew the atmosphere, but not here. There are incredible colors and lights, a small cross sea that hits a little but still allows to go fast ... It's nice but I'm mostly focused on my race: I apply myself to go fast, pass this depression and try to enjoy a beautiful situation, with this flow of north wind that accompanies me. »
 

The Current of needles

to find out more....
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The whirlwinds of the Oceanic Current of the Needles. Mercator Source
Where do these whirlpools and rough seas encountered by the skippers of the Vendée Globe off the Cape of Good Hope come from?

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The Current of Needles takes its name from the South African cape of the Needles.

It flows along the south-west coast of the south-west east coast and then undergoes a retroflexion to the east off the city of Cape Town to form the return current of the Needles, recirculating in the Indian Ocean
The Needle Current is one of the strongest and most consistent surface currents known. Its encounter with the colder currents of the South Atlantic causes vast vortexes.

The retroflexion of this current creates a mixture of warm and cold water masses explaining the constant agitation of the sea in these areas; the westerly winds, often very powerful, oppose the main direction of the surface sea current by maintaining a swell and waves reaching impressive heights, causing many shipwrecks. This translates more broadly into:

  • a cyclical (quarterly) phenomenon of the formation of vast and powerful vortexes (several hundred kilometers in diameter each), in an area known as the "Ring of Needles". These swirls contribute to the mixing of more or less cold and salty layers, while contributing to their oxygenation. These currents and vortexes or "gyres" also impose a cyclical pathway and areas of waste concentration on floating waste on the surface or between two waters and certain pollutants.

  • a warm, saltier flow of water from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic.

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The Gulf stream saved by the current of the needles?

This is a new study that challenges a part of climate science. While IPCC reports project a weakening of the Gulf stream due to climate change, causing a de facto cooling of Europe, a report by a team of American and European researchers speaks instead of maintaining, over the next century, warm temperatures in Atlantic waters.

How can this phenomenon be explained? Due to a marine current, the Current of the Needles, little studied by researchers, flows along the east coast of Africa, to the southwest. Arriving near Cape Town, South Africa, it undergoes a retroflexion to the east which circulates it again in the Indian Ocean. Scientists previously thought that only a small, negligible part of this current joined the Atlantic.

But satellite data and current measurements from the study, published in Nature, show that these warm, salty waters manage to enter, in the form of giant vortexes up to 300 km in diameter, into the colder and milder South Atlantic, causing the latter's waters to warm. While scientists do not know the actual body of water that this "leak" of the Aiguilles current represents, they believe that this current has warmed since the 1960s and that it should increase, due to the evolution of the wind direction in the region.

This study therefore calls into question the current forecasts of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) for the next century. It concludes that there would be no cooling of the North Atlantic due to the effects of global warming in North America and Europe and that the increase in 'leakage' could offset the decrease in warm currents coming from the Gulf stream.

*source: Nature

 

 
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©Pierre Bouras - L'Occitane enProvence
 

Virtual Regatta

Almost a million virtual boats engaged on the Vendée Globe!
We are around the 1st third of the race and you can always register, join us and be part of the classification of the private race L'Occitane in Provence. Your boat will be positioned in the middle of the fleet.
Partner code: LOCCITANEVG20
New phenomenon:
Skippers sponsored specifically for the virtual Vendée Globe. This is the case for Loïck Peyron or the figarist Achille Nebout..
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Icebergs detected on the skippers' route: Antarctic Exclusion Zone raised by 5 degrees to improve safety

4 December 2020
 

Since 2008, CLS, Official Supplier of ice data for the Vendée Globe, has been using technologies and satellites designed and deployed by CNES (French National Center for Space Studies) and ESA (European Space Agency) to detect icebergs threatening the skippers' route. 

This year, a dozen satellites, including Sentinels 1 and 3, and no less than 300 radar images will be used to detect these UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects) that haunt any sailor sailing in the southern seas. 

CLS radar imagery analysts have detected around 20 questionable icebergs in about 50 images in the Crozet and Kerguelen area of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). Faced with these doubts, the Vendée Globe race management, after consulting with CLS teams, did not hesitate to raise the Antarctic Exclusion Zone by 5 degrees further north, lengthening this safety cordon by more than 400km. The Antarctic Exclusion Zone is a virtual zone where the skippers are forbidden to sail under risk of encountering these icy monsters, a crossing that could endanger their safety but also cost them penalties. 

Let us also remember that space systems play an important role in rescue at sea. The rescue of Kevin Escoffier proved this on December 1, when the skipper triggered his COSPAS-SARSAT satellite distress beacon, the starting point of a rescue chain to which he owes his life. We'll take a look back at the heroic night a little further down in the press release. 

 

Jacques Caraës, Vendée Globe Race Director: " CLS, which works closely with CNES and ESA, is a key partner of the Vendée Globe. We could no longer imagine a race like the Vendée Globe without iceberg detection and risk mitigation services like theirs. CLS has developed unparalleled expertise in iceberg detection, thanks to its innovative solutions, its teams are helping us to make the race safer by detecting these ice monsters that threaten skippers. And nothing would be possible without space agencies such as CNES and ESA, which are developing impressive and often unique space segments in the world. In advanced space applications, unity is a formidable force. 

Antarctic Exlcusion Zone : major danger zone not to be crossed

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The Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ): 26,223 km in circumference, surrounds Antarctica and is home to several million icebergs. Among them, thousands have been clearly identified thanks to ESA and CNES satellites, and by the expertise of CLS teams in Earth observation and analysis.   

Since July, CLS imagery analysts have been scanning altimetry curves and radar images for icebergs that could threaten seasoned Vendée Globe skippers.  

A first version (V0) of this Antarctic Exclusion Zone was communicated this summer to the Vendée Globe Race Direction, then before the start: a slightly modified version (V1) was transmitted to the skippers.  

Crucial information which impacts the race distance, performacnce results and the lives and equipment carried on board.  

Space surveillance before and during the race 

Step 1: Predicting risk areas with altimetry 

Well before the start of the race, CLS teams worked on data from 4 altimetry satellites, normally used to measure mean sea level, and diverted from their primary use to pre-detect icebergs. 

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This was a very important step that allowed them to know where to focus their research with radar images before the race, but also in operational mode when the skippers are in the southern zones. 

Sophie Coutin-Faye, head of altimetry projects at CNES"Space altimetry consists of taking radar altimeters on board satellites orbiting the Earth, capable of measuring the height of the oceans with centimeter level accuracy. To put it simply, the principle of altimetry measurement consists of emitting a wave towards the ocean from a satellite whose position is known to within a few millimeters, and measuring its return travel time. The height of the water surface overflown by the satellite is thus deduced. The applications are numerous, including the well-known monitoring of the rise in the average level of the oceans in connection with global warming, but also that of a better understanding of ocean currents in all oceans which is particularly useful for navigation.

This high-precision technology was developed in the 1990s jointly by CNES and NASA and is now being extended to other agencies such as ESA. For the pre-detection of icebergs, it is important to know that when the altimeter beam encounters a mountain of ice, it causes a modification of the return echo (see graph) that must be analyzed to conclude that this is indeed the signature of icebergs. Obviously, we could not deploy altimetry satellites for this use alone, but I find it very interesting to have such unexpected applications as securing an ocean race such as the Vendée Globe." 

STEP 2 : Detect the most threatening icebergs 

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ESA has given the race privileged access to the European Sentinel-1A & 1B satellites. These satellites, funded by the European Commission, are capable of taking radar images, day or night, and can even see through clouds.  

The 400km x 400km images have a resolution of 50m.  

The ESA satellites, Sentinel-1A & 1B were programmed well in advance of the race to provide images until the last skipper leaves the ice. The satellite programming was adjusted according to the routes and needs of the race, between mid-November and the end of December. To complete this strategic vision, CLS also uses the privately owned Canadian satellite Radarsat-2, which on order can provide a resolution of up to 25m. 

Simonetta Cheli, Head of Strategy, Program and Coordination Office of ESA's Earth Observation Unit: "Sentinel-1 is a series of Earth observation satellites developed by the European Space Agency as part of the European Copernicus program, the first of which was placed in orbit in 2014.

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"The objective of this program is to provide European countries with complete and updated data to enable them to control and monitor environnement. We are delighted that these data are now being used to improve the safety of Vendée Globe skippers". 

STEP 3 : Track detected icebergs 

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It's possible to observe icebergs measuring 50 
or 25m in size, but its the small icebergs (growlers) resulting from the melting and dislocation of the larger ones that are dangerous for the boats in the race.

This is why the use of the CLS drift model simulates the drift but also the break-up and melting of the icebergs in order to define risk zones (orange and red squares on the images). 

This drift and melting model takes into account the currents, the wind, the sea state (sea level height, etc.), the surface temperature as well as the shape and size of the iceberg. 

As a result, CLS is able to provide Vendée Globe organizers with maps of the Southern Ocean with the location of iceberg populations and forecasts of their drift. CLS, in partnership with CNES and ESA, is supporting the Vendée Globe race management in its decision-making process.  

Crozet Zone - Kerguelen : Antarctic Exclusion Zone raised as Icebergs detected on the skippers' route 

About twenty icebergs were detected above the line, in nearly fifty radar images, in the Crozet- Kerguelen zone, in the TAAF, last week, which caused the elevation of the AEZ by 5 degrees, extending the circumference of this security cordon by more than 400km.  

In the figure below, the blue line is the new AEZ (V2), the white line (V1), the blue flakes are the icebergs detected, the white filaments represent their drift and the orange and red squares display the risk zones. 

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Sophie Besnard, Director of International Affairs, in charge of managing the Vendée Globe project at CLS : 

"Since the start of the race, we have detected around 60 icebergs which have been identified as requiring close monitoring, most of them under the AEZ, except for those detected off the island of Crozet. In the Indian Ocean there is nothing for the moment, in the Pacific, there are a few icebergs, in front of the Ross Sea, where there is an area of very cold water. This year we are in a situation of lower iceberg density than in previous years. All our teams are mobilized, we still have half of the images to analyze by the end of the race out of the 300 planned. The most complicated period is after the passage of Cape Horn, the leader should pass this tense point a little before Christmas, the last one should pass it at the end of January. We are proud to be the Official Ice Data Supplier of the Vendée Globe and to be able to use the technologies and satellites developed and placed in orbit by CNES and ESA."  

Kévin Escoffier, a rescue guided from space 

On December 1st, navigator Kévin Escoffier saw his IMOCA break in two several hundred miles from the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa). Alone, in the middle of the icy ocean, facing the roaring forties, the skipper triggered his COSPAS-SARSAT distress satellite beacon (using data from the European satellite constellation Galileo), the starting point of a rescue chain to which he owes his life.

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From the moment Kevin Escoffier sees his boat taking on water, everything speeds up, the moment water entered his racing boat within 4 minutes he was boarding his life raft. 

The skipper of PRB will only had time to : 

  • Put on his TPS suit, a wetsuit preserving him from hypothermia in case of immersion in cold water, it also replaces the life jacket since it ensures flotation and turning over on the castaway's back, 
  • Trigger one of his COSPAS-SARSAT emergency beacons before boarding its lifeboat. 

The triggering was crucial and allowed the teams on land to get ready to launch the rescue and organize the successful rescue of the experienced skipper. 

 

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Created during the Cold War by France, Canada, the United States and the USSR, the Cospas-Sarsat Program develops and operates a system for detecting, locating and transmitting distress alerts by satellite for search and rescue (SAR) 

Cospas-Sarsat provides the international community with accurate and reliable location data to assist search and rescue operations, using space-based instruments and ground facilities to detect and locate distress beacon signals.  

The international organization has been chaired by France since July 2020.  

Since 1982, the Cospas-Sarsat system has helped save more than 50,000 people in over 15,000 distress situations. In 2019, 2,774 people were saved worldwide thanks to COSPAS-SARSAT systems during 1,032 Search and Rescue operations.   

This event highlights the remarkable contribution of Cospas-Sarsat's new MEOSAR system. MEOSAR uses medium orbit satellites from the Galileo (Europe), GPS (US) and Glonass (Russia) constellations. The Galileo SAR service provided by the European Commission contributes significantly to this. 

The distress signals emitted by the navigator's French beacon were transmitted by the French Cospas-Sarsat Mission Control Centre (FMCC) to CROSS Gris-Nez, the coordination and rescue center which acts as the international maritime contact point in charge of monitoring the Vendée Globe. 

The FMCC is an operational center under the responsibility of the French Maritime Affairs Directorate (DAM) and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).  

The CNES, delegated by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign affairs, is the body representing France at Cospas-Sarsat. It provides the French resources for the Cospas-Sarsat Program, ensures its operational maintenance and development. CNES also acts as SGDSP (SAR Galileo Data Service Provider) and is in charge of the new Galileo return channel service to the Cospas-Sarsat beacons (RLS: Return Link Service). 

CLS operates, on behalf of the DAM and the DGAC, the exploitation of operational data processed by the FMCC. 

It was at 13:48 UTC that the satellites detected the distress signal emitted by the beacon of Kevin Escoffier, whose vessel had just sunk at high speed. At 13h51 UTC, 3 minutes later, the beacon signal was received by the CLS operator at the MCCF, after being routed by the Cospas-Sarsat MEOSAR satellite constellation. 

It took eleven hours of waiting for this event to have a happy ending: Kevin Escoffier was finally recovered by Jean Le Cam. The "king" Le CamJean, as he is nicknamed in the industry, has been praised for heroic act. 

Jean Le Cam Tweeted : 

"A huge relief! Kévin is safe and sound aboard Hubert". A liberating message.  

 
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