Mike Golding (GBR, Gamesa):
it is quite settled at last, had quite an interesting day with some pretty big squalls which spooked me for a while and I sailed around with a reef in for quite a while. I had 40 knot squalls which was a bit out of the blue and I wasn't expecting it but right now it is really settled, nice waves to surf and we are making very good progress towards the gate.
I’ve been able to catch up with Jean a little bit, which is always nice but I think Dominique and I are waiting for this next system to come forward and hope that that can kind of shove us a little bit more towards him [Le Cam]. Obviously we are both operating in the same system, Jean is on one side of it and we are on the other and it is just a case of extending and compressing.
I got a good dousing today, the boat went charging off on a wave when we had the big, big squall and I got completely soaked, top to bottom, so I used that as an opportunity in my backed off state to have a shave and clean myself up and change all my clothes, so hopefully I do, but everything is soaking wet! A complete set of clothes!
Crossing the antemeridian will be great, it a sign we’re getting closer to our goal. I was speaking to my wife Andrea a few days ago and she was saying, 'ten days to Cape Horn'. It is really dawning us that we are munching through the race course and only ten more days potentially in the South, so the anti meridian means we are actually starting to get back, we are completely at the opposite end of the scale time wise and once we cross the antimeridian we start to unwind that and unwind ourselves, so it definitely feels like we are on the climb homewards.
We have been at sea six weeks now and you do lose track of time, you don't mark time in the same way you would ashore, you don't have any barriers to mark those sort of things. So consequently it does creep up on you and you suddenly realise how far through this race you have got.
I do get frustrated, I did get frustrated in particular about the speed differential, it was a bit disappointing. It was a bit of a bitter pill in the build up to a race and I suppose you kind of fool yourself when you are working on a project like this you don't always know what your opposition are doing. And it is a bit of a bitter bill to get on the racecourse and find that there is a such a different speed differential, but I did get very, very frustrated about that. But in general, working around the boat, the boat is working well, I have got my problems like everyone else but we are on top of them and we are managing them and so long as I am managing them, my temperament remains reasonably even I think.
Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA, Banque Populaire) :
The sun is rising, it’s been the shortest night since the beginning of the race, I barely saw any darkness.
It looks like François and I just can’t stay away from each other, the gaps are tiny, we’ve had quite similar routes so far. It’ been a great fight pretty much since the start of the race and because there aren’t that many different options possible because of the weather, we should stay close to each other for a while, unless something unexpected happens.
There’s been very few possibilities for us to make choices, except maybe for one gate, but strategy hasn’t been that decisive because of that. But we still have another month to go, so maybe we’ll have more opportunities at one point.
The fight has been intense since the Indian Ocean, we’ve actually seen each other while passing the last gate. It was nice to get to see François, to ave a visual contact, and it’s a interesting point of comparison when it comes to speed and all, because our boats are quite similar.
Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud):
The weather’s nice here, I’m waiting for the right time to gybe. The moon is beautiful but the sea is quite agitated. Mirabaud is doing great, and so is her skipper! I had time to check the boat, and everything’s working fine, except maybe for a few bolts to screw tighter, nothing more. It’s a very pleasant feeling.
I’m out of champagne for when I sail across the antimeridian, but I have coffee, and that’s what keeps me going!
I saw dolphins south of New Zealand, it was the first time I saw dolphins like those, they were amazing, dancing around the boat, they wanted to play, I felt very close to them. And because the sun was shining, it was even nicer!
I’m getting closer to Mike Golding, and my southern route may help me to catch up with him, I’m very excited, it makes the situation even more interesting. It’s going to be a tough fight once we round Cape Horn and sail in the Atlantic. It’s great to have someone so close to compete against!
Jean Le Cam (FRA, SynerCiel):
There’s a huge depression here, and there were 37 knots of wind, it’s very tricky because there’s always a risk of doing something wrong. It was worth it, you can go really fast, but you can also break something. And I’m on the edge of it, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in the center of it.
Crossing the antimeridian line means a lot to me, it means I’m going home now, I’m not sailing away from Les Sables anymore, I’m going back home.
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA, Virbac Paprec 3, taped):
The night has just fallen, the sky is gray but, oddly enough, quite clear, there’s a lot of light thanks to the moon. But it’s going to get darker as the front comes closer, which is going to bring strong winds. Right now I have a 28-32-knot wind but I know it’s going to go up to 40 knots so I’m ready to go out there and adapt my sails to the future situation. There’s so much noise on the boat! Right now my speed is 19-20 knots, it’s pretty good. But the waves are quite rough.
It’s tough but it’s still better than yesterday, when the wind was much slower than the weather files had predicted. I’m glad things changed and I think Gabart and Le Cléac’h will slow down so hopefully I can catch up with them a bit in the next few days.
You have to deal with whatever the situation is, because whether you’re catching up with the leaders or they’re sailing away, you can’t really change anything, usually. You need a little luck with the weather, and some talent too! You have to do with what fate and luck give you, sometimes you have to be resigned, too.
I’m glad I had serious physical preparation and training before the race, it’s good to know I’m less likely to get injured if the boat crashes into a wave or something. I worked on my body balance and my muscles and it’s really helping.
Stewart Hosford (GBR, Alex Thomson Racing General Manager):
We're in touch with Alex Thomson, he checks in every day by email, too, it’s our crisis routine. We’re on pretty regular contact to talk about fixing his hydrogenerator. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been great so Alex is mostly preparing for the repair. It’s all about making sure we understand what went wrong and how we can fix it, more than actually working on it.
Given the circumstances, Alex is doing well, especially since neither Alex not his boat had gone so far in the Vendée Globe before. So we’re delighted with where he is. He’s lost miles but he’s still in reasonable touch with Jean-Pierre Dick.
Alex is a passionate sports guy. Of course his mood can go up and down depending on what’s going on and how he and the boat are doing. And restricted communications have been difficult for him, too. But he’s absolutely determined and very focused. He has days when it’s tough and he’s not enjoying it so much but then he also has days when he’s just loving it. I think generally, he’s very happy to be out there.