As news comes through of Peyron's dismasting
Brian Thompson, on board his Open 60 Bahrain Team Pindar in the Vendée Globe non-stop, solo, round-the-world-race, mulls the fact that even such fast sailing boats as his can get overpowered by Southern Ocean seas.
‘Just heard that Loick Peyron, the master of the Atlantic leg, just broke his mast. A big shame for him, and for the race as well to lose such a character, a real legend of offshore racing. Luckily he was unhurt, so he will no doubt fashion a jury rig to get to the Kerguelen Islands and then accelerate his book reading program till he gets there.
Good sailing today as I get in position for the next wave of wind to come from behind. Like a surfer I have turned my board around, and am ready to paddle to stay in this wave for as long as possible. This time it will be a NW’ly flow that should propel me hundreds of miles eastwards. I am positioned at about 49 degrees south and should start to feel the wind very gradually increase and shift to the NW during the night. I could have gone further south this morning before gybing, but decided to be here to have more options later in dealing with the Kerguelens, and not to be so close to the ice areas.
If I was in a maximultihull I could ride this wave of wind for thousands of miles, maybe right around the planet. These IMOCA 60s are very fast, but not that fast, and eventually we all get overtaken by the trailing coldfront, and end up in the ‘white water’, the variable winds behind the front.
In fact, you see far more of the nature of the Southern Ocean in an IMOCA boat, as you are dealing with more types of weather rather than just sitting in the pocket of strong NW winds ahead of the front as you would in a maximultihull. You need more stategy and a heap more sail changes when you are going slower than the weather systems.
Last night the winds were much lighter than forecast, down to 12 knots at times, and I was pretty concerned that Sam and Bernard to the SW of me would have kept the wind. So waiting for the 4 in the morning sked was like opening your A level results. I was lucky and got a B as held level with Bernard and gained a little on Sam.
Dawn is coming earlier and earlier as I track eastwards, this morning it seemed to arrive at 30 minutes past midnight UK time. Every 15 degrees of longitude I move east the sun arrives an hour earlier, as the earth spins in 24 hours and has 360 degrees of longitude, so 15 degrees per hour.
If I do a good day of 380 miles, at this latitude, I will move 10 degrees of longitude, or 2/3 of an hour, so I would like the sun to rise 40 minutes earlier tomorrow, if possible! 380 nautical miles is the equivalent of London to Denmark or Bahrain to almost Muscat in Oman.
Saw lots of prions today, circling the boat, and particularly criss-crossing our wake, perhaps looking for food that has been disturbed by Bahrain Team Pindar’s passage.
Sea temp is 4.3 degrees at 49S 41E.
That is noticeably chilly and everything on the boat is cold. I particularly notice it when having a drink of water, it tastes like its straight from the refrigerator. But I am pretty cosy in my Musto thermals. Also, unlike a fully crewed boat, I am up and down on deck scores of times each day, rather than being on watch for 4 hours straight, so more chance to keep the core temperature up, without the constant wind chill on deck.’