Sunday, 29 November 2009
Sidney helming at sunset. Image copyright Sam Davies/Artemis Ocean Racing.
by Artemis Ocean Racing media
“I’m totally incapable of coming up with an ETA”, said a disillusioned Michel Desjoyeaux today during the radio chat session with the Transat Jacques Vabre organisers. Whilst Mike Golding and Javier Sanso were crawling across the line to complete the podium, a complete lack of wind plaguing their final progression, the race HQ officials now operating in Costa Rica had a hard time establishing proper connections with the fleet. Unfortunately, Artemis was not reachable today (saving electricity no doubt), but Sidney did not forget to send us some of his trademark prose.
No wind… no wind whatsoever. If Safran and Groupe Bel managed to cross the finish line and respectively claim victory and second place, Mike Golding and Javier Sanso had, by 12:30 GMT, let the race committee know they were trying to reach Puerto Limon but were completely stuck in a windless zone! At the back of the fleet, naturally, this was interpreted as a sign of hope - what if everyone parked up, could there be a new start? Sidney Gavignet certainly allowed the thought to cross his mind (see his email below), but probably also dreads the perspective of a massive slow down by the time Artemis reaches the final miles - bearing in mind that diesel reserves are running low...
Having gybed this morning to get back on the direct route, Sam and Sidney are now (19h00 GMT) just 700 miles from Puerto Limon, doing more than 15 knots of speed and expecting to remain in roughly 15 knots of breeze for the next 24 hours.
Emails from Sidney:
Congratulations to Marc, Charles and Safran! It was a beautiful race, perfectly mastered with the knife between the teeth, some risks taken, great speed displayed and a clean trajectory.
Given the relentless pressure put on by Kito and François aboard the “Laughing Cow”, Safran’s victory is even greater. So hats off to the seconds too, they made the race a thrilling pursuit... Mike and Javier will certainly be awarded the “merits” medal for having been able to hang in there without a pilot, that tandem seems full of promises for the Barcelona World Race!
As far as we’re concerned, the miles don’t exactly flow without any little mishaps. Shortly before nightfall yesterday, everything was fine until our big spinnaker decided to come down from the mast, and ended up like a pitiful fishing net in the boat’s wake… Chafing certainly took its toll on the lashing and eventually broke it.
This gear failure which adds up to the list and underlines once more our lack of preparation and of miles covered aboard Artemis before the start. The boat did not have that many miles on the clock, only having completed a portion of the Vendée Globe course in her young life. Our frustration is genuine because we hoped to do better, but the reality of that result is undeniable and we have to face it. This feeling makes me want to come back with the same boat but with more training time. And yet, we still cling to every single glimmer of hope to try and gain one place maybe… The lack of wind near the finish line allows us to keep hoping.
Once again, hats off to the leading trio and to all of those who make it to Costa Rica after what will remain as one of the toughest editions of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Yesterday’s menu: flying fish (sashimi version)
4 AM... Slap! Take that in your face! A huge burst of laughter coming from the navstation tells me that Sam immediately understood what has just happened. I’ve been used as a landing base by a flying fish whose speed should’ve been controlled. When you’re doing 20 knots, on top of surprising you, that kind of encounter leaves you with a slightly painful jaw. And the scales stuck in your beard make the experience last, with a trail of not-so-subtle fragrance. That was last night’s little anecdote.
Today, in order to celebrate our entry in the Caribbean Sea, and also to break the Trade Winds routine, we popped the cork. Champagne for everyone! Even lukewarm, the bubbles have their little effect.
And music also soothes the soul, it’s true. Lately I’ve been in a somewhat darkish mood. To see all the guys ahead of us (which means everyone) catch more wind, once again, kind of made my blood boil.
Sam kindly lent me her “music machine” and suddenly everything became cooler on my planet, my mind was occupied and my body shook to the beat - much better than sitting there ruminating. Right now it’s all good aboard Artemis. Miss Sunshine is less sun-sensitive than I am, which does leave me a bit puzzled, it shouldn’t be that way, unless she definitely turned French and put her British genes to sleep? Another night looms, I’d better watch out for flying fish.
Artemis Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre