Yachtsman files from the Vendée

Steve White is currently placed 17th in the Vendée Globe, no mean feat in an outdated, fixed-keel boat. He’s approaching the doldrums, and describes the scene on board his Open 60, Toe in the Water. “It’s like an oven here today, we have complete unbroken cloud cover and it is very hot and humid indeed, although I suspect it will get more so as we are a way off the equator at the moment. I am further south than I have ever been I think, having just passed the latitude of the Bahamas. That’s the thing with sailing, point the boat in one direction for a few days, and you finish up in a completely different world – if I had some good (very good) binoculars I could see Cuba to my right, and lions and such like to my left, which is incredible if you think about it, we only left home a week ago. Somehow I don’t expect this when I go sailing, it’s not like flying where it is never a surprise to disembark in a foreign and different country; but when you step ashore in a new country from a boat, you feel so much more like you’ve earned the right to be there.”

“A friend of mine bought me a Breton Fisherman’s prayer on a clay tile – not very good for weight, but I’ve stuck it up anyway! It is below the boat’s own lucky charm which is a bolt from the Cutty Sark, which was a present to the boat when Josh had it. It was to bring good luck for getting around Cape Horn, as this bolt has apparently been around there a few times successfully when it was a part of the ship! ”

“I found the vegetable oil to go on the Tortellini I had for lunch – it is a four litre bottle! Besides making it difficult to add a few drops (for “drops” read “large uncontrolled splashes”!), if it bursts I could have a major clean up operation on my hands. Still, It’s good for upping my calorie intake – when I get back I am going to join one of those on-line dieting clubs and recommend a few of my own recipes….”

Vendée Globe