The leaders are making it increasingly frustrating for those chasing them, as they are maintaining high average speeds. As Alex Thomson said before the start, this is a race, where the rich will get richer. Jean-Pierre Dick hopes to find the full potential from his foil assisted IMOCA. Sébastien Josse is back on the podium and we also talked to Armel le Cléac'h this afternoon.
Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel Virbac): "So now we’re in the southern part of the globe for some time. A month and a half or so. I like the fact that the water is warm, conditions are more stable. It’s nice thinking of the countries we pass, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay. Magic countries for me. The wind wasn’t that strong during the night. But it’s shifted to the left since 8 this morning, so we should be able to get more out of the boat. Looking at it positively, the boat is in good condition. But I’ve been left behind by the leaders. I hope things will change and favour us at some point.”
Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild): I haven’t changed my bearing unlike Armel, who has come around slightly. With each Vendée Globe it’s worse and worse. In my first one, I had a comfortable bed, but now it’s really uncomfortable and it’s hard to sleep. With the foils we bounce off the water at speed and that generates vibrations. When the boat is above 18-19 knots, it’s hard to move around. It’s noisy and it’s impossible to sleep with all the banging. It’s less comfortable than a multihull. I didn’t really notice the Equator, as I was so tired. Since the start we haven’t had any deep lows to deal with. It’s been more like a transatlantic crossing. Down in the Thirties, it will be a real wake-up with the strong winds and we’ll need to tackle things differently. I broke two stanchions. But we haven’t had any heavy seas. We’ll see what happens in our first big low. We’re at the maximum loads for the boat. In the Southern Ocean we won’t be able to do that.”
Alex Thomson (GBR) Hugo Boss: “It’s a bit bumpy. I am just looking at the statistics. It is pretty amazing to be on a boat which in 16-17kts of breeze I can average 22kts. The breeze has finally come left a bit to allow Hugo Boss to lift up her skirts a little bit and go a bit faster. I have a bit more breeze for a few hours and then it will lighten up and drop a little bit before tomorrow when we will start a real fast, fast dash for three or four days towards the Cape of Good Hope. I could not have asked for it to be positioned more perfectly. It is a very normal scenario this. It is developing just to the south of us and will move down, and I will be able to stay ahead of it. I think just this lead pack will be able to stay with it. We will be with this low pressure for quite a while. I think Seb is right. This is going to be the first big test for the boats. I am imagining a wind angle of about 120 to 125 degrees true, sailing in 23-26kts of wind. Depending on the wave conditions is what will decide how fast the boats go. To be honest if it was flat water in those wind conditions my boat could average over 30kts. With waves I don’t expect to be going much faster than I am now, to be honest 22-24kts maybe. Today I will prepare the boat a little, re-tidy up, re-stack, and I will try and get as much sleep as I can in the next 24 hours. I have a little composite job to do, just to make sure everything really is ready, make sure my sail plan is correct for when it comes, make sure my contingencies are ready, make sure I am fresh to be able to hit the turbo button when it arrives. I guess we are going to find out how strong these boats are now. Who will be ready to lift the foot first? Show the French you have learned? I think these boats…well the limit is quite obvious. You know when you have to slow down. Last night I had to slow down. 24 hours before the Cape Verdes you get slowed down. You get told by the boat. The boat tells you when to slow. It is as demanding now as in more wind. We do not need a lot of wind. The more wind, the more waves, the slower you go.”
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire VIII): “Alex Thomson is fast! He’s on the attack. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m sailing my own route. I’m not really watching his average speed. I’m focusing on my boat’s potential. A lot is going to happen. He had a nice crossing through the Doldrums. I’m going to have to keep up the pace not to get left behind. All’s well on board the boat. There are no particular problems. I’m trying to get some rest at night, as it is really hot inside the boat. You soon start to sweat. It’s not very pleasant trying to sleep. As soon as the sun goes down, I take a few naps.”