Sam Davies ready for the notorious Cape PLUS Sunday's Vendee rankings

I had a “calm” morning – less than 20 knots of wind! Sometimes it harder work when there’s less wind. As the wind dropped off this morning, and after gybing to get a better sea state, I had the usual wrestle with my big gennaker to get her out of her bag and up into use.

Gliding down the huge Pacific swell it’s really amazing how so much of the front of the boat flies clear of each wave as we take off on each surf! The bow wave comes out from the keel area (as the bow is clear of the water) and there is a big fountain of spay shooting out from the beam instead of the bow!

The wind increased and a few 30-knot squalls have passed over Roxy. I managed to get the gennaker rolled back up. In the last couple of hours I have had a big 45-knot squall, which was pretty impressive. It was twilight, with the huge full moon, and I could see it coming, so I was on deck, having taken the 2nd reef, wondering if I should roll away the solent… it was a bit late! But in the end the 45 knots didn’t last too long, so Roxy stayed under control, but I think I got a speeding ticket for that one!

The wind will build and stay squally and unstable for my run in to Cape Horn, so the sailing is probably not going to be quite so ideal from now on, but there’s not long to go now!

Roxy and I are negotiating the obstacle course of the approach to Cape Horn! I had forgotten about coastal navigation, life is so easy out in the middle of nowhere! The obstacles are: drift ice to the South, The Chilean Coast to the North, the last known position of VM Materiaux, and there are two islands on the approach to Cape Horn, one to the North (Islas Ildefonso), one to the South (Islas Diego Ramirez).

We have to gybe our way to Cape Horn and zig-zag through on the best course. Easy said, less easy done, in 30, gusting 45 knots of wind and 5-7m seas! A gybe is quite a challenge, and during the manoeuvre, the boat, her sails (and her skipper) are more vulnerable to the power of the sea.

0400 HRS GMT. Rankings, Sunday 11th January 2009
(FRA unless stated)
1. Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at 5,312.5 miles   
2. Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at 212.5 miles      
3. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) 708.8 miles          
4. Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY) at 1787.4 miles    
5. Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 2,156.4 miles   

 Selected International
6. Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at 2,852 miles
8. Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at 3,036.4 miles   
9. Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) at 4,192 miles     
10. Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) at 4,997.7 miles
11. Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) at 6,276.3 miles