The Vendee's last Briton

Weymouth’s Steve White, sailing Toe in the Water, and 1,407 miles from the Vendee finish line is on fine form today. Three simple components adding to his pleasure: good speed, a better course and a cup of tea. The sun was shining when the radio broadcast team spoke to White today, he was under staysail, gennaker and full main and touching 15 knots at times. While he is keen to get back to see his family, he, too was enjoying champagne sailing on Toe in the Water, reflecting that he is looking forwards to getting back for a ‘few beers and a couple of days off’ before knuckling down to his plans for 2012.  White seems to be on course to break the time of Josh Hall, who sailed the 2000-1 race when the boat was Gartmore, and completed the 26,700 miles course in 111 days 19 hours 48 minutes. The course this time is some 1940 miles longer than that race. White still had about 130 miles to pass the Azores.

Steve says: ” I have just done 15.5 knots which has cheered me up no end and I am heading in the right direction for a change, yes so it all looks nice and rosy today, the sun is out, it is nice and warm. I have the gennaker up and the staysail, full main, just trundling along, really.

It is weird how your focus shifts when you get towards the end of something, you get ready for the end, and it is time for it to end and for you to go on to do the next thing and the weather has not really played ball for us around the Azores, and so maybe I’ve read it wrong and made mistakes, and I think it is probably a fair measure of both, but friends and family start gathering, I wanted to get in before the race village was taken down, I wanted to beat the time the boat went round in in 2000, all these kinds of things, I get my tiny brain set on coming in during a particular band of time, and so when it does not pan out, that can be slightly frustrating. I was pretty frustrated yesterday with all the stuff that happened, but today I am heading in the right direction, it could not be better. It is champagne sailing, I have a nice cup of tea, and everything is ideal and I am enjoying it. By the same token I do really want to get in now, not because I want it to end, I have been away long enough. I want to see the family, I want to have a few beers and a couple of days off and really knuckle down to getting down to 2012. I need to get back and get on with it while I am still full of beans or something or other.
And if you did not set yourself goals and try to keep to them then you would never ge to the start of an event like this.” 

Meanwhile, Sam Davies and Dee Caffari were in London today appearing on BBC Breakfast TV, telling more than 1 milllion viewers of the highlights and low moments on their respective races on Roxy and Aviva.

Arnaud Boissières should be the next skipper to finish the Vendée Globe later this weekend, or perhaps early Monday.

15:00 HRS Wednesday GMT. Rankings

1 . Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) finished after 84 days 3 hours, 9 minutes

2 . Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) finished after 89 days 9 hours 39 minutes

3 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 95 days 3 hours 19 mn. 36 sec.
4 . Sam Davies (Roxy) finished after 95 days 04 hours 39 minues 

5 . Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) 98 days 20 hours 29 mn. 55 sec.

6 . Dee Caffari (Aviva) at 99 days 1 hours 10 mn. 57 sec.
7 . Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) at 617 miles to finish

8 . Steve White (Toe in the Water) 1407 miles to finish

9 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 2833 miles to finish

10 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 3852 miles to finish

11 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport – Kapsch) at 4383 miles to finish 

RDG . Vincent Riou (PRB). 3rd equal. 30 boats started.

Picture by Yachtpals