Vendee round-up

The Vendee Globe, solo, non-stop, round-the-world racers made heavy weather of Christmas as their Open 60s were pummelled by storms.

Sam Davies, sailing Roxy, said: “I hope that Father Christmas delivered to expectations, and that you have all eaten, drunk and watched too much Christmas TV…..Out here it is life as normal, trying to squeeze that extra half a knot of boat speed out of Roxy in less than ideal conditions…. oh well, that’s the luck of the draw and I’m making the best I can! I was just having some “foie gras” on toast for lunch today and I noticed the little phrase on the packet “once opened keep refrigerated” It’s a phrase which causes much anxiety normally, in temperate conditions, and one is challenged to find the coolest spot on board, and then quite often defeated into throwing the rest away for fear of food poisoning! I reflected on the phrase, realising it has not at all bothered me in the last few weeks….So does that mean I’m now living in a fridge?”

Raphaël Dinelli sailing Fondation Ocean Vital, reported:
“This morning I climbed the mast and managed to refit the port lazy jack. To deal with the starboard side, I climbed to within a metre of the second layer of spreaders, but failed, as it was too difficult and too risky. 30-35 knot winds, heavy seas, but the boat was pushing forward in these high winds. The boom and mainsail battens were damaged, the wind generator is broken and a large section of the solar panels on the coach roof are damaged. I’m finding it more and more difficult producing the energy I require. the boom and badly furled sail on the deck are blocking some of the solar panels. Still sailing under staysail. Both arms are hurting. Resting for the rest of the day. Sorry I didn’t wish you a Happy Christmas earlier.”

Jonny Malbon in Artemis: “We finally passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, last night at approx 2000 utc. The conditions have been horrendous for Christmas, wit the worst sea state I have ever seen. The wind was 25 to 55 in the gusts again yesterday and I have really been struggling to keep the boat and myself in one piece. Don’t know how to sail fast in these conditions – and that’s all I want to do, sail fast for home, and try catch up with the guys in front. Have to say that I am having a really hard time at the moment, as I’m sure the others are too. Just want to make some good progress towards home. It wasn’t a great Christmas, but I know that I will make up for it big time when I get home. Hopefully it can only get better!”

Derek Hatfield sailing Algimouss-Spirit of Canada, said:”Christmas aboard was a day of fighting with Autopilots, leaking ballast tanks and broken battens trying to jump out of the mainsail. The wind has been at 42kts all last night and today, showing no signs of letting up. The mainsail is looking pretty sad with the top portion of it unsupported, not holding it’s shape at all and I cannot do anything about it until the wind drops off hopefully there will be less wind in about 12-16hrs further to the south.”
Derek Hatfield (Algimouss-Spirit of Canada)