Monday, 12 January 2009
Sam Davies' Open 60, Roxy. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.
by Vendée Globe media and SailRaceWin
The leaders have now completed three-quarters of the course from Les Sables d'Olonne around the world and back again, singlehanded, while the tailenders are just beyond the halfway stage.
It is currently anticipated that the leader, Michel Desjoyeaux, in Foncia, will arrive back in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, in twenty days' time, during the last weekend in January.
Sam Davies rounds Cape Horn
Cambridge University engineering graduate (a background that serves well for long-distance ocean racing), Sam Davies passed Cape Horn early Sunday morning. For the first time in the race, Sam admitted to having been scared as she shut herself down below in Roxy when a 50 knot squall knocked the boat over.
Winds were generally over 40 knots, with 5 to 7 metre seas, and negotiating a passage through the islands, the last known position of VM Matériaux, and the Chilean coast to the north brought Sam's coastal navigation skills into play for the first time in weeks. She is currently lying fourth in the race.
Knock-down en route to New Zealand
Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre Dick, en route to Tauranga, New Zealand, having pulled out of the race due to rudder damage, suffered a knock-down:
"There was a bit of a scare last night at around midnight, when the boat suddenly bore away after being hit by a wave in the wrong direction. The pilot didn't cope and the boat gybed. Paprec Virbac 2 went over on her side at an angle close to 70 degrees. From the outside, it was probably quite a sight to see. I was down below and leapt out of the cockpit. This required a rapid response, which is not easy with just one rudder. I tried to bear away using the damaged rudder. Fortunately, there wasn't much sail up and I was able to steer and take care of the staysail sheets at the same time. On my third attempt Paprec-Virbac 2 responded and then I had to gybe again, hoping that the rudder wouldn't be too far out of the water. With three reefs, it just about worked. I eased off the windward runner and pulled on the helm. The boom swung around and the staysail filled with wind on the right side: a successful manoeuvre."
Three members of Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2)'s shore team have arrived in New Zealand to welcome their skipper. He is expected to arrive on Tuesday morning (local time) or Monday evening (GMT).
Mainsail delamination for Dee Caffari
"I went on deck to take a look around. The dawn was just breaking so it was light enough to see everything. I was looking at my mainsail, which has been a concern for the whole of the Southern Ocean, and I noticed some more sail flapping in the breeze. My shoulders slumped and as I continued to look I realised with horror that it wasn't the layer that is blowing away daily but the layer on the good side of the mainsail. In fact the only layer of mainsail left! I cursed, gybed quickly and dropped the mainsail to the third reef. I grabbed my sail repair kit, which is now running extremely low, and spent an hour patching the tear in the cloth. With the forecast set for the winds to increase and knowing that moving the sail up and down cannot be good for the cloth I have elected to remain at three reefs and keep my fingers crossed. If it can just get me to the Atlantic then I can choose a route with no scary wind and nurse my sail home. My biggest fear now is will the sail last the final big blow from the Southern Ocean depression before I turn left? So miles won and miles lost, the important thing for me is to stay in the race."
Dee Caffari and Aviva are in eighth position at present in the Vendée Globe.
Birthday for Vincent Riou in Puerto Williams
PRB in Puerto Williams. Image copyright Marine Chilienne/Vendée Globe.
Vincent Riou turned 37 on 9th January in Puerto Williams, Chile, from where he and Jean Le Cam have since departed with PRB in tow by the “VAEHARE”. The “VAEHARE” left on Saturday morning and is on her way back to Ushuaia, Argentina. Anne Le Cam and Michel Olivier are aboard the tug.