Here are a few of the messages received from the skippers during this lunchtime's radio session after a very physical night to start this eighth Vendée Globe. No time for sleeping in these variable conditions and with this fast pace. Early this afternoon, the leaders are about to round Cape Finisterre in strengthening winds.
Didac Costa, One Planet, One Ocean (still ashore in Les Sables d'Olonne): “We’ve made some progress since yesterday. We have identified the problem and are drawing up plans for a different configuration. Now it’s a matter of getting the work done. We’ll be working day and night to get the boat ready to set off again. We’re not certain exactly when we will be setting sail. In any case, in one or two days. We’ll be looking at the weather, but for now, the main thing is getting the boat in shape. Tomorrow it’s not looking good off Cape Finisterre, but there is an opening there on Wednesday and Thursday, so that’s our goal. We want to have the boat ready tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning. As soon as we got back to the harbour, we got several offers of help from other teams and were helped a lot by the local fire brigade. We visited them a few weeks ago and got to know them. We got help drying everything and they gave us coffee, somewhere to stay. It’s not just technical help, but they have also helped cheer us up. I’m very moved by all this.”
Enda O’Coineen (IRL) Kilcullen Voyager Team Ireland: “It was a tough night. I am taking it quite easy, trying not to push it too hard and instead trying to take it slow and easy. It is bright and sunny, wind angle about 120 deg, 15kts of wind and boat speed about 9 knots. It is all good and a beautiful day as we approach Cape Finisterre. I am sailing quite conservatively with two reefs in the main and the code three jib. I am marginal about putting more sail up. One part of me says do it, the other part says take it easy. I am just really settling into the race. My start was awful. I was too enthusiastic and was over the start line and had to go back. I had to decide whether to take the five hour penalty or to go back and I think I lost about an hour. So that was all a bit anticlimactic. I felt disappointed to let my supporters down by being over, but there you have it. I lost about an hour or so. I saw No Way Back, he seems to sailing very conservatively. Other than that it is amazing how quickly the fleet disperses. The contrast - being alone - is extraordinary. And I am not in great physical shape. I did a somersault off my bike before the start and did not do my shoulder. So it will take some time to mend. And I am on the mend. I am not in great shape. I have a few little things wrong with the boat but really nothing of any consequence.”
© Globe SurferNandor Fa (HUN) Spirit of Hungary: “It is OK now, there is some sunshine and I am sailing quite well in a light breeze from the north. The first night was quite terrible. The wind blew from five knots to 40 knots. The boat went every speed from five knots to 19 knots. I had a very strong hail shower. That was tough with a lot of sail changes. But on the other hand I am quite happy. Everything is good with the boat. It was a tough night. It was unbelievable at the start. If you have never seen it you cannot even imagine what it is like. It only happens in Les Sables d'Olonne. I had a good start but I am not really happy with my position in the fleet. But I had in front of me a big passenger ship which made a terrible storm on the water. I had to slow. But then I was slow and I don't know why. I could have gone faster in the night, but no, I am not really very happy with the progress. It is a long race but I was upset after the start. I was in a good place but lost a lot in the speed. I don't know why I was slow.”
Paul Meilhat (SMA): “What a first night! Ten or so squalls with hail and gusts of thirty knots followed by lighter airs. Two sail changes and had to reef the sail twice. We’re currently sailing downwind of La Coruna and sailing within sight of Maître CoQ and PRB. I haven’t had much sleep and haven’t really eaten. We’re trying to get dry in between squalls. So far, it hasn’t even sunk in that we’re setting off in the Vendée Globe.”
Jérémie Beyou, Maître CoQ: "It wasn’t easy during the night. I got caught out by the squalls. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I saw the others making their getaway overtaking me. I have two or three problems on the boat. A rudder kicked up and the boat luffed. I fell onto the winch and broke a tooth. I’ve called the doctor…”
Jean Le Cam : “We knew it was going to be like this before the start. The wind is changing all the time. You have to compromise, as you’re forever trimming. The start doesn’t give you much time to rest, but I was happy to have my photo taken with Prince Albert. It was crazy with all the boats there for the start. All the spectators lined up like birds of prey and then there were all the RIBs. We were lucky to get away without any problems. It’s been very fast so far. We didn’t have much time to prepare, so it takes time to settle in and find everything. You can never remember where you have stowed the toilet paper…”
© Olivier Bourbon / M&MVincent Riou (PRB) – “The wind is very variable. We’re approaching the traffic separation scheme off Cape Finisterre, so have to deal with that. Like the leaders it will probably involve sailing inside this area. It’s used up a lot of my energy trying to keep up with those in front.”