Read comments from the remaining five skippers
For the five skippers racing on in this Vendée Globe, Day 100 brings a very different range of emotions.
ForNorbert Sedlacek, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) – the seemingly hard as nails Austrian – this day at sea is just like any other. Last week was more significant for him as he passed Day 94. 93 days was his longest spell previously at sea and now he is most looking forward to counting down to the Equator next week. He will be the first Austrian ever to complete a solo circumnavigation, which is what drives the former Viennese transport executive turned adventurer. Asked about his motivation, Sedlacek explained that for him it is about reaching his goal, but also each day he tried to do something better than he did the day before, or simply do one thing really well.
“For the last few thousand miles I have no idea about how long this will take to finish, if it is four weeks or five weeks. I will finish it. It doesn’t matter I will do it.” Explained Sedlacek, who is 480 miles behind Raphael Dinelli.
The Austrian is racing with no headsails at the moment and will need to climb his mast to replace his foresail halyards when the wind and sea state are better, and he intends to make a repair to his mainsail track which is also damaged which means he can only sail with two reefs in the mainsail.
Rich Wilson(Great American III) has been feeling the strain of his seemingly relentless slog up the Atlantic. In effect his Doldrums crossing appeared pretty straightforward but he was in a small low pressure system which was giving him northerly winds today, and the culmination of having to continually sleep for only short bursts at the navigation station rather than get into his bunk because his autopilot does not get a wind reading now, is that he is certainly feeling the strain. He said he felt remote and a long way from his family, on his 100th day at sea. But the trade winds look quite brisk for him ahead and there will be little relief from his pounding for a while.
“We are getting pounded here again, our own little private low pressure system, formed off the Northern Coast of Brasil and so it feels like nothing ever changes. We could certainly use a break. We are certainly headed off to the NW and not really much able to sail much north at all.”
“It is pretty frustrating and pretty discouraging. But it is always good to get across the Equator, that is for sure. We may be under three thousand miles to the finish, but it is really much more like 4000 miles or 4500 miles, particularly since we are pretty much heading for Mexico at the moment. We are not exactly heading for France.”
“I think I am feeling the days out here now, this is Day 100, and over the weekend I called my mother and she is having here 93rd Birthday and she is having her 93rd birthday in abut two weeks and I was hoping if I was fast I might be able to get back for that. And that is not going to happen. Sometimes you begin to doubt your decisions about being in an event like this when you are going to be that far away from family for so long. My mother really is my inspiration and I am an awfully long way away from her.”
In eighth place, BritonSteve White(Toe in the Water) has been trying to work out his best option to get around or through the high pressure area protecting the west coast of Europe. He said he is determined not to make any wrong decisions this late in his race. Reminded to enjoy his time at sea to a maximum because back in real life there are all kinds of dismal recessions going on he quipped: “But then, now Woolworths is gone I don’t think there is any point in coming home really?..”
White has 1609 miles to sail and thinks he could be in by next Tuesday. “I had just been having one of those days. I had been up most of the night watching the wind gradually blowing me in the right direction. I had a lovely course before that, last night I was doing about 20 degrees on starboard and then gradually getting headed and headed until I was below the Azores, and I was supposed to be doing a media call with a radio station at 0730hrs this morning and I was watching a ship coming up from about 25 miles behind and all of a sudden I thought I would try and get some weather as well, and I finished up with, for some unexplained reason, the kite completely in shreds, hanging there, with it pouring with rain, a ship which was on a collision course and not responding on VHF, in the end I did manage to get a hold of him, I could not get my e-mails to work and so I thought with no weather information how am I ever going to get round the Azores? And something else happened?.I had had about enough with all that, I have put all the pieces of the kite away and am moving in the right direction and have another spinnaker to put up in a minute and see if I can destroy that one.”
“It was a bit of a mess at the weekend. I was very, very anxious not to make a mistake at this stage of the course with the weather here, approaching the point where everyone started to make their turn I had a very strong feeling that I should have followed Marc Guillemot and done that big arc all the way round the outside of everything, a long way north of the Azores. But it is quite difficult psychologically to make such a big turn away from home, to spend such a long time not heading for Les Sables d’Olonne, and having lousy VMG to the waypoint and things like that. What happened in that particular incident (when he went nearly due east suddenly), a cold front came through and immediately behind the cold front was a sort of eddy. It showed up on MaxSea (nav software) as 100 miles across there was 5 knots of wind going in one direction, and then 150 miles across there was about 10 knots going in the other direction. I never quite did get to the bottom of what was going on, but it equaled zero wind .”
“It is saying at the moment, as we speak, 0700hrs on the morning of the 23rd and I am doing 11 knots, and so I am not making very good VMG and won’t until tomorrow morning, but it will be the 23rd or maybe even the 24th. I am trying to stay optimistic and say I will in in February and not in March!”
Arnaud Boissières, (Akena Vérandas) also added: I’m off again. The calm lasted for ages, but now I’m sailing downwind. Before I get to Les Sables, I’ll have to get through another calm patch and the final 100 miles look like being upwind in light airs. It doesn’t yet feel like I’m on the home run, even if things around me have changed. Nothing major, but the colour of the water and the sky seem more familiar.”
“I’ve been taking advantage of this time at sea since 9th November and I’m a bit sad this is going to be my final week. Even if I’m pleased to finish, it feels a bit strange. Next week will mark the end of two and a half years of my life. Even if there will be other things to come, I keep telling myself that it is not every day you experience things like this. For the time being, it’s not the moment to ease off. I spotted a lot of cargo vessels last night and need to watch my fuel consumption too. When I’m upwind again, I’ll be using a lot.”