Tomorrow the Vendee Globe leader Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) will be rounding Cape Horn
Tomorrow the Vendee Globe leader Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) will be rounding the third of the mythical capes that mark the way on the round the world sailing voyage.
The Breton, who crossed the Pacific in a most majestic way, will stop Vincent Riou (PRB) from making it three after the Cape of Good Hope and Leeuwin by offering himself the Horn in a new record time.
His lead, which had reached 260 miles is tending to fall as he approaches the South American continent. Jean had been expecting that for several days and is not unduly worried. However, the British yachtsman Mike Golding (Ecover) sees in the 34 miles he has won back a sign of better things to come in the Atlantic. Jean Le Cam has had a faultless journey since New Zealand, which will enter the history books. Another sailor, who has shown great skill and determination in spite of the weather not being kind to him, is the discreet Dominique Wavre (Téménos), who is hovering around 400 miles a day over the past 4 days (405 on 30 December). This incredible pace, which he maintained at the height of the storm, brings the Swiss skipper to 413 miles of his immediate predecessor Sébastien Josse (VMI), or in other words he has clawed back 126 miles in 24 hours.
It’s true that Sébastien hasn’t had any of his large sails for downwind sailing since he collided with a growler. His unrelenting search for other wind angles weakens his trajectories. Now less than 2,000 miles from the Horn, Dominique is pushing forward his Téménos in perfect condition towards the Atlantic, where he will show what the outsider is capable of.
For a long time trapped off New Zealand by headwinds, the two sailing further north, Nick Moloney (Skandia) and Joé Seeten (Arcelor Dunkerque) are finally beginning to feel the pressure increase on their sails with a northerly flow. They are now on an east south-easterly bearing and the VMG is increasing. After being alongside Wavre-Dick (Virbac-Paprec), the Australian now finds himself alone some 850 miles behind. However, the man is a fighter, and his boat, the former Kingfisher used by Ellen Macarthur is showing gradually what she is capable of, after suffering so much after capsizing.
Seeten can be happy; he is crossing today the symbolic International Date Line, which is a symbol of not getting any further away, but indeed of getting closer to home. Will he make it or not? The Plymouth-based sailor Conrad Humphreys (Hellomoto) is now only 25 miles from the American Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet). The two men are coming together off Campbell Island looking for westerly flows. After his extraordinary crossing of the Indian, Conrad is hoping to continue his charge across the Pacific. The fact that he may be in ninth place coming out of the Indian Ocean by overtaking Ocean Planet would just be a bonus.
On the 8 December, it was in 17th place that Conrad rejoined the Vendée Globe fleet after changing his rudder off South Africa.