While the race has claimed several favourites this week (Loick Peyron on Gitana Eighty dismasted and is slowly making way to nearest land; other boats in the front group have been damaged), the rest of the field continues to struggle with cold seas, constantly changing conditions and lots of fatigue.
In today's update from the Southern Ocean, Derek Hatfield writes about the personal challenges facing him in this difficult stretch of the race:
Hello from Algimouss Spirit of Canada
The Southern Ocean is a very humbling place for me. My emotions are raw and on edge due to lack of sleep, cold, isolation, loneliness and let's face it, just plain fear of the unknown. It seems that tactically, for a while no matter what sail, daggerboard and keel configuration I tried, the boat didn't want to respond to my setup. It's very frustrating so I just returned to basic sailing skills to get through the tough conditions and before long, bingo, back on track. That's what I have been doing for the past few days, it was driving me crazy as to why I was so slow. In a tired state, you start to second guess decisions you have made, which of course leads to more mistakes. So, back to basics.
As you can imagine, the decision to return to the start line for repairs was an emotional hit for me, as a competitor you want every chance to be on fair ground with the others. The chance of being on equal footing was lost and it was a tough decision to go back out there so far behind already. When you dig deep and decide to do a race like the Vendee Globe it is an "all or nothing" decision, you must be very clear and true to yourself about the motivation to go racing. We entered this project to see how we could do against the best in the world but it became clear that we would not have the money it took to win as most of my time was spent marketing and promoting the event rather than physically and mentally training for it. When it came time to put the boat back on the race course after the start I had to look to other motivations to do the race. One very strong motivation, in fact the motivation that has kept us going from day 1 was to take the experience and share it with others, children for example. There are millions of children following the skippers in the race, they find it motivating to do something better in their own lives, it let's them know that if you really want to do something, set your goal and just get on with it until it is done. No matter what happens keep moving forward.
Make no mistake, this race is no 'dream', nor was the decision to do it, but it is a natural progression from the last race around the world. I wish you could all see the emails that I am getting from not just these children, but adults as well who are following the race and wish us well and are also motivated by the whole experience. I wish I could publish them here, maybe in the book. I've had a number of conference calls from groups and classes that are following and I get very motivated by each call. All this to say, thank you for your good wishes and interest in us, it is how we got here and it keeps us going.
Position in fleet: 22nd
Location: lat: 44 08.75'S long: 22 11.99'E
Distance to Finish: 17301.4
Distance to Leader: 2137.1
Heading: 93 True
24 hour distance: 280.9nm
Distance to Great America III: 484.4nm (-17nm over last 2 days)
Distance to Aviva: 1153nm (-59nm over last 2 days)