Around the Cape of Good Hope on Day 27 of the global race

The competitors in the Vendée Globe race are flying along the southern seas as they round the Cape of Good Hope and enter into the Indian Ocean in an easterly direction.

For the last few days, the fleet has been moving briskly in strong winds and everyone has been making good speed, with sustained winds of 20-25 knots and higher.

Sébastien Josse in BT and and Yann Elièsin Generali continue to set the pace. Desite having returned to port for a few days to make repairs at the begininng of the race, Canadian Derek Hatfield in Algimouss Spirit of Canada has caught and passed several competitors and now lies in 22nd position.

Here's his report today:

"I spotted my first albatross for this trip early this morning. They are magnificent birds and seem so at home here in the southern ocean. They soar around, doing a wheeling pattern into the trough of the waves and up high and back down again, only flapping their wings occassionaly. I watched one last trip for over five mintues and it never flapped it's wings once, gliding on it's huge wings and relying on the wind between the waves to keep going. I'm wondering if they can do this wheeling and soaring pattern in their sleep. I've read that they will spend months at sea and never touch land.

"Last night was fast and furious again with a top speed of 25.3 knots, a best for this trip and for this boat. I can feel the effects of the high pressure system now and the barometer is starting to rise. It's going to be very close to make it through before the high develops here. It will be slower today as we slowly make our way down to the gate. Ideally I would like to be farther south but will make do with this spot. We may have to jibe south eventually to get into the furious forties. "

The "gate" he's referring to is a turning point off the southern tip of Africa. High pressure systems generally bring clear skies, but weaking winds, and so the competitors try to avoid these systems as much as they can. On the other hand, these systems give the sailors a chance to rest a little and sometimes high pressure brings welcome relief. It's all about timing.

1. For a video report on the race, see this video summary.
2. Photos on this page are courtesy of

>To send to a friend, click on the envelope icon.

No comments:

Post a Comment