She drops sails to fight kelp
Intrepid Vendee Globe sailor Sam Davies’ Open 60 Roxy lurched and slowed instantly from 10 to 8 knots after becoming tangled up in a forest of giant kelp.
‘The kelp wrapped around the keel was probably as long as Roxy as the branches trailed beyond the transom. I managed to wrestle a bit of it off using my hands and the boathook – disgusting!
‘I then realised that I was potentially going to have to take an earlier bath than planned to free us from our “cling-ons”. I stopped Roxy by dropping all the sails: this was the first time in two months of racing that Roxy has stopped. I anxiously waited to see if this would clear the kelp and had a look with the endoscope – YES! The forest was gone, thank goodness, which meant no swimming for me today.
‘However, the downside to this was hoisting the main back up. I made the most of it being down to check the top of the sail and battens, headboard and halyard lashings.
‘After a lot of exercise and two hours of down-time, I got Roxy up and running again. She is now kelp-free and two knots faster. I was so knackered that I managed to eat an 800 calorie meal, a bar of chocolate and drink pretty much an entire bottle of water!
‘This was essential as I still had a tack, including stacking of all the gear and sails, to do. After the tack I fell into a BIG sleep, with no alarms and just Roxy to wake me up. It was WONDERFUL!’
The Vendee Globe is a non-stop, solo, round-the-world race.