Despite the spread of the fleet and distance between boats there's still a fight for third place
Time is simply dragging for many of the remaining Vendée Globe skippers, but their primary goal is getting home as quickly and safely as possible – such is the spread of the fleet and the distance between the boats.
The exceptions however are probably Sam Davies (Roxy) and Marc Guillemot (Safran) who have a fight on their hands, but even Davies admitted last night that she is looking forward to getting back to a long shower and home comforts.
Sam is now 178 miles ahead of Marc and has continued to gain the same profit on each ranking. Fourth place Guillemot is now towards the SW corner of the high pressure system and has remained with some 340 miles of lateral W-E separation between Safran and Roxy, while Sam noted last night that she is preparing to take on the difficult section of her course, dealing with the lighter winds as she seeks to sail the shorter distance through gentler and more capricious breezes.
While Davies noted that the comforts of home are starting to appeal more to her, so Brian Thompson – some 430 miles behind Roxy – is most focused on maximum speed from Bahrain Team Pindar without exacerbating any of his existing problems with the boat. The upwind trade winds conditions are bone-shaking, jarring, uncomfortable and monotonous for the skipper but are likely to further expose any weaknesses in the boat which Thompson has done a great job keeping in the race and which was never designed with the Vendée Globe as its primary target.
Dee Caffari too (Aviva) has a big gap in front and behind. 420 miles to Brian Thompson and 560 miles to Arnaud Boissières on Akena Verandas and she is just modulating the stress on her boat as best she can, preserving her mainsail wherever she can.
Steve White (Toe in the Water) may be in some of the most pleasant sailing conditions of the race, a complete counterpoint to the weather at his home in England, but he is certainly feeling that underlying frustration, the inevitable let down after a first venture into the Big South, when 11-12 knots in baking sunshine on Toe in the Water, feels not only pedestrian but – without the challenge of a rival within 500 miles – positively monotonous.
Rich Wilson dealt yesterday with a ‘potential game-ender’ – when his self steering failed – but is back dealing with his next low pressure and will be relieved to reach the lighter trade winds in a couple of days time, a break from the South Atlantic conditions which has been intense and frustrating for him.
While Raphael Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) should stop in the next hours just north of Port Stanley in the East Falkland island to make his repairs – re-reeving a mainsail halyard and attending to other niggling issues including his battery system, so Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport Kapsch) is due at Cape Horn in the early afternoon, the final Vendée Globe racer to exit the Pacific Ocean.