The last Vendee Briton

Steve White is fighting the angles today as he beats upwind to try to make best time to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne to secure eighth place in the Vendée Globe. White has 434 miles to sail this afternoon but is still slamming upwind into a nasty swell. This afternoon he reported that Toe in the Water is making steady progress but he is just frustrated by the contrary breezes and the poor upwind angles which his boat makes.

His is a vicious cycle at the moment. Toe in the Water, a relatively older, wide boat with a fixed keel and sailplan more optimized for downwind sailing needs more breeze in order to sail to narrower angles to windward. But more wind means bigger seas and more crashing and bashing around.

“I am slamming away like I don’t know what, here. It is just so frustrating. This boat must be just about the worst there is in the fleet for going upwind. Norbert’s is a narrower boat with a canting keel and that would be preferable. In this wind I tack through anywhere around 100 to 105 degrees and below 15 knots that rises to 120 degrees and that really dictates where I am going. If I can get up the to the north of the latitude of Les Sables and the NE’lies hold it could be OK, but down in the south of the Bay it is a bit light and swirly.”

“It is very frustrating because it seems like every time I tack the wind heads me.” Said White this afternoon, 100 miles to the NW of Cape Finisterre, whilst still heading SE.

“I shall probably tack in a couple of hours and then see where that gets me. I am hoping the breeze will hold up. I am making 9.5 – 9.7 knots but I don’t want to push too hard in these seas because I don’t want to bring the rig down.”

Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) has been recovering today after a four hours mast climb yesterday. His climb, to repair his mast track and to replace two headsail halyards, ultimately proved successful but he found two small cracks in his mast level with the top spreaders.

“The climb was a bit ‘sportif’ and used every last bit of my energy to do it. It was completely done afterwards. I took a big spanner with me and managed to secure the mast track and replace the halyards. But now I am exhausted and it is a bit stressy with the ICTZ which is very active with big squalls.” Said Sedlacek this afternoon, who has 200 miles to sail to the equator.

“I will have to be very careful with the mast with the big headsails but otherwise it should be very careful. For the mainsail I can still only sail with two or three reefs. I have a bad headache today after yesterday and will be really happy to make the next 60 miles and get out of the ICT and get into the NE’ly trade winds.”

Rich Wilson is 1175 miles west of the Canary islands and has been making steady progress north.

1 . Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) finished after 84 days 3 hours, 9 mn 8 sec

2 . Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) finished after 89 days 9 hours 39 mn 35 sec

3 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 95 days 3 hours 19 mn. 36 sec.
4 . Sam Davies (Roxy) finished after 95 days 04 hours 39 minutes 1sec

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 105 days 2 hours 33 mn. 50 sec.

still racing:

8 . Steve White (Toe in the Water) 410 miles to finish

9 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 2126 miles to finish

10 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 3012 miles to finish

11 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport – Kapsch) at 3440 miles to finish

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