Twenty days of sailing in the 2020 Vendée Globe Solo Round the World Race so far and in the past few days there have been some big stories.
Race favourite, Alex Thomson, on HUGO BOSS, had some structural damage to the bow of the boat. He spent a couple of days repairing the damage whilst falling from first to 11th. Then in the middle of the night he hit something and broke one of the rudders. He has given up and is proceeding to Capetown. Big disappointment for him.
In the lead is Charlie Dalin on APIVIA. he is still some 500 miles west of Capetown and leading by 250 miles. Close in 2nd, 3rd & 4th are Thomas Ruyant on LINKED OUT, Kevin Escoffier on PRB and John Le Cam on YES WE CAM. they are within 25 miles of each other. These lead boats are making about 20 knots.
The boats sailed down the east coast of South America and are now crossing over and will pass to the south of Capetown. Only 18,000 nautical miles to go. Only.
Here is a report from Samantha Davies on board INITIATIVES COEUR , one of six women in the race. She is currently in 11th place.
“My feeling was correct as rapidly I encountered the first big gust – 40 knots of wind. The sea state has built. When the breeze goes from 25 to 40 in the middle of the night for the first time, you get caught by a big surprise! So a little “wipe out” (thank goodness the A7 was already furled!) and Initiatives Coeur lay flat on her side with a nice cold wave breaking over her!
Ease all the sheets and back on our feet (that too is a scary maneuver as you have to bear away but not too far so as to avoid a Chinese Gybe on the way out!)
So then the tricky bit is to find a trim and sail set-up for 22 to 42 knots of wind speed! That’s not easy, when you are sailing solo and you need to rest a little and not stay all night in the cockpit with the sheets in your (cold) hands! It’s a frustrating compromise with a lot of time “down speed” and other heart-palpitating moments of extreme acceleration down waves with a little too much wind.
Inevitably, I did a few more little wipeouts, but the night is over, nothing is broken and the average
wind speed is starting to drop… later I should be able to deploy a bigger sail and get going a bit faster. The albatrosses that are gliding around in my wake are having fun! In the meantime, I am going to put a thicker pair of socks on because my feet are blocks of ice!
Better these sailors than me.