Difficult conditions, over 40 knots of wind and big seas at legendary rock

British solo skipper Sam Davies on Roxy rounded Cape Horn at 0920hrs this morning in difficult conditions. Over 40 knots of wind and big seas, typical weather for rounding the windswept legendary rock at the tip of South America, greeted the Vendee Globe solo skipper.

Davies’ time from the start at Les Sables d’Olonne is 62 days 21 hours and 18 minutes. She told this morning’s visio- conference that she had been scared for the first time in her incredible race, shutting herself inside Roxy as a big, 50 knot squall hit knocking Roxy over.

“It’s incredible to be here, especially after horrible conditions over past 24 hours.” Said Davies, who rounded in fourth place, “I have had 50-knot winds and so it was a relief to see the Rock, as the boat went right over during the night. I had to wait for the wind to drop to 40 knots to gybe.”
” Now we still have 42 knots with boat sailing at peak speeds of 25 knots on the waves.” I am a bit sad though to leave the Pacific after such a great voyage.”

At the front of the fleet Roland Jourdain in second place has lost another 13 miles this morning, and is now 225.5 miles behind Michel Desjoyeaux sailing 700 or so miles SE of Rio de Janeiro. They are through the centre of the high now which has moved slightly east, but they anticipate the arrival of a small active low pressure system which will give them 35-40 knot winds. Desjoyeaux is making 12.1 knots and has been the best part of two knots faster than Bilou for much of the time.

Armel Le Cleach’s gains have stabalised for just now, repairing about 50 miles since yesterday morning but has slowed a bit this morning, going upwind. For him the pressure looks a little better for him in terms of distance to sail as it is narrower now, but he’ll be more upwind but looks a little more striaightforward for him than the leading duo have had. So it does look like a profitable few days ahead for Armel.

Marc Guillemot in Safran has been quickest overnight and this morning?.still 360 miles behind Sam – sailing with 3 reefs but he will not attempt to make repairs in the archipelago at Cape Horn or nearby, more likely to wait now until the Falklands where there would be a chance to pick up a mooring buoy.

Brian Thompson has made his repairs – not as difficult as the last two but still time consuming when he should be sailing hard, one of the smaller longitudinals in the bow, he is happy with it and has been going OK since. He still has a very serious blow to contend with before Cape Horn which is about 1000 ahead for him, so he anticipates rounding late Tuesday, or early Wednesday.

Dee Caffari still has big mainsail problems, the sail is now delaminating on the other side too and so Dee needs to nurse the boat to Cape Horn and has this low with 55 kts winds and she is now 31 miles behind Boissières.

Steve White has been making good speeds and is 600 miles to the last gate while Rich Wilson passed the SW Pacific gate at about 0130hrs GMT last night and has been slower since, in recovery mode. Norbert Sedlacek is preparing for the arrival of an intense, very active low pressure system which will bring big seas, up to 8m and winds to 55 and 60 knots.