Bertrand de Broc (FRA, Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM Projets):
I’m 12 miles away from St Paul Island. Conditions are quite funny, actually, rains and winds keep changing and the boat is going all over the place as a result, it’s pretty violent. Everything fell down, the computer and everything, but I managed to clean things up and everything is back to normal, things are working again.
I can’t tell you everything that’s happened to me, but I do have issues as there was a big shock at one point. But everything can be repaired, it’s just going to take time. I can only use three of my sails right now. I’m waiting for a quieter period to find shelter and repair for 4-5 hours. Maybe I can do that when I’m south of New Zealand.
I haven’t seen much traffic, but I’m inside a lot because of the heavy rain. There’s very little visibility anyway.
I miss Brittany and my family, of course. But when you’re in such conditions, with huge and unstable wind, having to be super careful, you have a lot on your plate, a lot to do and to think about. Brittany is beautiful, but so is what I have in front of me here.
I hurt my arm this morning, I took some pills and applied ointment, but I’m fine. It’s a little bit like a tendinitis, more than it actually.
Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA, Banque Populaire):
I’m doing ok, the night has just fallen here off the coast of Tasmania. We’re sailing towards New Zealand now. It’s very close, really, I’m the leader now but the gap is very small. It’s very interesting and promising for the rest of the race.
It’s good to feel like I’m doing the right things and progressing well. I think I’ve made the right sail choices and changes, that may have made the difference. I had a key gybe, too. It’s great to be back and to have caught up with François, but there’s still a long race ahead of us.
It’s the second time I’ll have the privilege of sailing in the Pacific Ocean, it’s more pleasant than the Indian Ocean. I guess we’ll be close to Cape Horn for New Year’s eve.
Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA, Initiatives-coeur):
Hi all, I’m fine, it’s very agitated here, pretty intense. We’re just 40° south but there’s a lot of swell and so much wind, between 35 and 45 knots. We’re parallel to the waves so we get hit a lot, you need to hold on tight on board. I fell down last night, it’s very hard to move around. I need to be very careful about everything on the deck, even when I’m not actually manoeuvring.
I finally feel like I’m in the Great South, the way I was expecting it, with huge swell, albatrosses and all. I wish I could show you what I see, the pictures of waves I send are not as impressive as what I see in reality.
I’m thinking about boat design a lot now that I’m here in the race. I can see there’s been a lot of evolution between my boat, who is 14 years old, and more recent boats. I’m taking mental notes and real ones too. I can see why Michel Desjoyeaux wanted to keep his ropes protected on board!
Mike Golding (GBR, Gamesa):
We had a night of rushing down waves and a few nasty slams but unfortunately a little ridge (of no wind) has just popped up and I’ve been unable to get over the top of it and so I’m now on the rotation and it means Jean (Le Cam) is going to pull away slightly. You can only hope you catch up when you catch the next system in 12 hours or so. Every roll of the dice I seem to come out badly. I don’t know really what else I could be doing but it’s very frustrating. You’ve just got to sail with what you’ve got and hope that what goes around comes around.
We just had a wave set that allowed the boat to get on some surfs and it was very tempting and I did quite a lot of it but unfortunately at the end of some of those surfs, you end up in a situation where you’re going so fast that you're almost overtaking the wave in front and then there’s nothing behind it and you come down in an almighty crash. I did a couple of those last night. It’s pretty painful for the boat, it’s very stressful, but at the same time you’re in a situation where, if you back off too much then the waves are overtaking you, you start to lose control. Too some extent, speed is your friend but when it (the boat) get to 30 knots plus I think that it starts to become dangerous and an impact at that speed for a boat this size is going to break something.
François Gabart (FRA, MACIF, taped):
Conditions keep changing, there’s between 18 and 40 knots of wind. I’m keeping an eye on Armel and we’re pretty much at the same speed.
I’m in stand-by, even when I eat or sleep, I’m ready to intervene and react in case something happens. Changing the gennaker at 20 knots is not the same as doing it at 40 knots.
I’ve entered the Pacific Ocean??? Wow, that’s great, another ocean for me! That’s perfect, let’s round Cape Horn and go home, now.
Conditions will be changing a lot in the future, you just can’t keep the same strategy forever but I don’t want to completely change everything either.
Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud, taped):
The low pressure area in front of us and behind us, we have light wind, which makes sailing easier compared to the last two days.
I listen to any type of music, because I have a lot of various things on my iPod, more than a hundred songs. I have rock, pop, French music, I even have stand up comedians so I get to laugh a little…
Compared to my previous experiences in the Indian Ocean, the gates have made things quite different. It’s obviously warmer and calmer this time, but the weather is changing a lot. Also, the gates are making strategies more obvious, because we’re going from one gate to another, there aren’t that many different tactical choices you can make. Because of that, we’re a little bit more passive.
It’s way too early to think about the final results of the race, I have no idea how this story is going to end. I’m taking things one week after the other, and we’ll see.
Javier Sanso (ESP, ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered):
Hi, how are you all? I have 22-25 knots of wind and my current speed is 18 knots. The weather is terrible, though, very cloudy, a lot of rain but what matters is I’m going in the right direction!
It may look like I’m hunting Dominique Wavre because I’m definitely coming from behind, I’ve been quite lucky, I have to admit, and hopefully, when I get closer to him, we’ll be in the same weather system. I’m very happy because I came back from 700 or so miles behind and I know it will be more fun to be here with Mike and Dominique! It’s quite boring to be in the middle of nowhere.
In the future, it may be a good thing to be north, it may be interesting. But it will definitely require more concentration, too.
Bernard Rubinstein (French journalist specialised in sailing):
I talked to François Gabart before the race in Port-la-Foret and he said he was not there for the win, but it looks like he may have changed his mind in the meantime!
The area they’re in right now is what some call “the greatest liquid desert”. They’re eight days away from the closest land and potential rescue teams, so if something happens, they can only rely on themselves and each other.