Bernard Stamm (SUI, Cheminées Poujoulat):
The speed is fine but I have very little visibility. The wind is favourable, I’m surfing well. One of my hydrogenerators is charging just fine and the other isn’t entirely in the water. But with my current speed, it’s fine.
I’ve sent my report to the Vendée Globe jury. We need to let the jury work now. I’ve never asked for any assistance, all I did was done to secure the boat. I’m waiting for the jury to decide now. It’s complicated but I’m confident.
I’m feeling good because I got some sleep and the wind was stable. I ate well and I can see the hydrogenerators are holding fine, even though I hit something. But I lost my winch column again, so it’s very frustrating because every manoeuvre is just like an extreme workout session. I’m looking forward to being able to focus on sailing and not having to work on broken things and repairs. Every manoeuvre takes much longer than it should, I wish I could have more normal sailing conditions.
I have no choice but to go fast because that’s the only way I can charge my batteries, which makes my life simpler. I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen after two hours, I had only half a liter of water, and to make more, I had to move the boat myself. I’d rather have a tough storm in the south that this… Now I can have a longer-term vision.
Mike Golding (GBR, Gamesa):
Things are good, I had a steady 2.5 days with almost Atlantic-like conditions making for easy sailing. That gave me an opportunity to clean up, look around the boat and get ready for the next half of the race. I’m proud to say I managed to have toasts, eggs and baked beans, which is a good way to celebrate 50 days of race. It provides a nice break from the regular freeze-dried food, which is ok but nothing like normal food. I might have kept some more for some special occasions! I still have bread and powered eggs. That may come as a surprise to some people…
If I feel claustrophobic, all I have to do is go out on the deck and then I’ll feel agoraphobic! The cabin may be small but it’s home to me.
You come to the south expecting tough conditions, icebergs and all. We‘ve had that, of course, but it’s been relatively benign. It’s been different from the last edition, where we were been on fire. Armel and François have shown what can be done when you get the right systems. Unfortunately, these conditions weren’t there for the entire fleet.
I try to log on to the BBC website to keep up with international news. During the 2004 Vendée Globe, I was unaware there had been a tsunami, which is disturbing, really. So I try to follow the news. And I found out Ben Ainslie had been knighted. Well deserved, and my congratulations to him. He has been an absolute star and thoroughly deserves it. We are all very proud of Ben. A British sailor and potentially the best sailor in the world.
François Gabart (FRA, MACIF):
I’m doing all right, I gybed last night and I’m sailing straight to Cape Horn now. Having Armel close is both an extra pressure and reassuring, even though rescue teams could reach us faster now that we are where we are. I don’t really watch him or check what he’s doing so it has no impact on my sleep patterns. I sleep when I’m tired and I work on the boat when I feel good, regardless of Armel. He gives me extra motivation, though.
We do experience tiredness sometimes, it’s perfectly normal, it’s the same for people ashore. But maybe it’s even more extreme for us, doing what we do, it’s very demanding for our bodies and minds.
I’m looking forward to getting extra information on the iceberg in the Cape Horn area because we’ll have to deal with that, there’s no possibility to add an ice gate. The good news is the daylight will help us see the ice.
I talked to Armel on the VHF, it was fun, I think we’re both happy to be where we are, getting closer to Cape Horn. Sailing in the Southern Ocean was nice, but I’m glad it’s coming to an end, we both agreed on that.
We have minimum comfort, it’s definitely not a 4-star hotel. We’re constantly wet and the boat shakes a lot. I was very surprised to see how tough the sea can be, tougher than the wind. It makes your basic actions extremely complicated, it’s very demanding. Right now, if I were in a real bed that is not moving and without noise, I’m not sure I would be able to sleep, I’d need some time to adapt.
Dominique Wavre (SUI, Mirabaud):
The conditions are perfect right now, easy sea, nice weather and a lot of sun, which is unusual in that area of the Pacific. I’m feeling good, I’m not exhausted, maybe because I was lucky enough not to have to face major technical issues. I guess I’ve lost some muscles in my lower body because we mostly use arms and abs on board. But I stretch regularly so I don’t get sore.
To find out how tired you really are, you need to pay attention to how you react to things, and to how long it takes you to reconnect with reality when you wake up. Right now I wake up and feel in touch with reality immediately, so I guess I’m fine. I don’t dream that much, or at least I don’t remember my dreams.
My meals give rhythm to my days, I try to keep a regular pace based on my body needs and meals are good for that.
Javier Sanso (ESP, ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered):
I am going fast, I have good winds. I am catching the guys in front. I am catching them very slowly, but I am catching. I think I will have some more miles to catch because of the front.
It is a lot of work to keep the boat going fast, a lot changes to keep the boat balanced, constant trimming, constant ballast in, ballast out. It is full time, non stop job. I am trying to grab 40 minutes continuous sleep from time to time. I have many catnaps but I need to catch up. Maybe when the wind is more stable and from a better direction then I will be able to get some more sleep.
I feel good. I am 100% in terms of healthwise. Physically I feel very good, I feel like I have no problems. I am quite happy.
Actually I have to go a little bit more to the east down here so I can get a better wind angle for the gate when the wind goes more into the west. I will not be catching them so quickly but in 12 hours I will be going straight to the mark.
Honestly I have no jobs to do. Every day I check the whole boat, the hydraulics, everything seems to be OK. The radar is broken and so I am a little concerned about that. I will go back up the mast some time because it came off a bit during a previous storm and it was hanging by the cable. I managed to put it back but it could still be a stupid thing. I am really worried down here without a radar.