Suffering in the South Pacific
Published on January 8th, 2017
(January 8, 2017; Day 64) – Conrad Colman (NZL/USA), competing in the Vendee Globe, is suffering in the South Pacific. Having nearly lost his mast and destroyed many of his sails, he is also facing a determined adversary – the temperature. Here he reports:
Okay, it’s seriously COLD down here now. I have 1100 miles to go until the Horn but at 54 degrees south I am only a thousand miles from Antarctica and with the southerly winds blowing it feels like I’m skimming the sea ice as I go by. I’ll soon be even closer as rounding Cape Horn forces me to pass through the narrow Drake Passage, the 450 mile wide straight that separates the tip of the Andes from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
One downside to my 100% Natural Energy campaign is that I don’t have a diesel heater like some of the boats and I don’t have a lump of cast iron that heats up the boat every time I charge the batteries. In fact, I beyond warm clothes, hot soup and thermal patches that I stick to my base layers I have no other sources of heat on board. Thankfully Gill make excellent warm jackets and trousers but I still sometimes go blue around the edges.
Thankfully, the wind is pretty stable and I can make short dashes into the cockpit to make small adjustments to the trim in the sails before ducking for cover again. I certainly envy the guys in the new boats who can trim their sails while wearing slippers and pajamas!
Aside from the temperature the only problem I have now is the computer keeps suggesting I put up sails I no longer have! There’s nothing I can do for the next day or so until the wind builds again and I will be in the correct range for my smaller sails again. Still, having stared down the barrel of a dismasting and abandoning the race I am happy to still be here and running down the miles to the Horn.
The eighth Vendée Globe, which began November 6 from Les Sables d’Olonn, France, is the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. Twenty-nine skippers representing four continents and ten nations set sail on IMOCA 60s in pursuit of the record time set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 race of 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.
For the first time in the history of the event, seven skippers will set sail on IMOCA 60s fitted with foils: six new boats (Banque Populaire VIII, Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss, No Way Back, Safran, and StMichel-Virbac) and one older generation boat (Maitre Coq). The foils allow the boat to reduce displacement for speed gains in certain conditions. It will be a test to see if the gains can topple the traditional daggerboard configuration during the long and demanding race.
November 12, Day 7 – Tanguy de Lamotte, Initiatives Coeur, masthead crane failure
November 19, Day 14 – Bertrand de Broc, MACSF, UFO collision
November 22, Day 17 – Vincent Riou, PRB, UFO collision
November 24, Day 19 – Morgan Lagravière, Safran, UFO collision
December 4, Day 29 – Kojiro Shiraishi, Spirit of Yukoh, dismasted
December 6, Day 31 – Kito de Pavant, Bastide Otio, UFO collision
December 7, Day 32 – Sébastien Josse, Edmond de Rothschild, foil damage
December 18, Day 43 – Thomas Ruyant, Le Souffle du Nord, UFO collision
December 24, Day 49 – Stéphane Le Diraison, Compagnie du Lit – Boulogne Billancourt, dismasted
December 24, Day 49 – Paul Meilhat, SMA, keel ram failure
January 1, Day 57 – Enda O’Coineen, Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland, dismasted
Source: Vendee Globe