Front of the fleet or back, the big south takes no prisoners nor has any preferences. This afternoon and evening it is the turn of those towards the back of the Vendée Globe fleet which are feeling the brunt of the stronger winds and big seas.
The five leaders carry on with moderately high speeds this evening on the cavalcade towards the Crozet gate, Le Cléac’h, Gabart, Dick, Stamm and Thomson.
But Arnaud Boissières – on his second Vendée Globe, Bertrand de Broc and Tanguy de Lamotte are all enduring their first real strong winds as they approach the real south, with between 35 and 40kts forecast for tonight.
During the afternoon Tanguy de Lamotte gave himself a bit of a fright when he made what sounds like an involuntary Chinese gybe. Tanguy reported to Ronan of his shore team that he had temporarily lost control when an autopilot ram failed. He found himself on the wrong side of the boat with it knocked more or less flat. He took some time to sort the mess out and discovered that he has damaged four mainsail slides. He is assessing the mainsail and has some work ahead of him.
So too Bertrand de Broc, speaking to Pierre Louis Castelli on the Vendée Globe Hebdo show this evening, reported that the bow of his IMOCA Open 60 planted itself very heavily into the back of a wave and he smashed his head into the nav station detaching the nav table from its mountings. Welcome to the south.