The Doldrums did not give up the Vendée Globe leaders as easily as was initially predicted but first placed Charlie Dalin (Apivia) appears to have skirted round the worst of a dynamic cloud system and emerged this afternoon with his margin intact.
Dalin’s more easterly position and his timing seems to have kept him away from a nasty zone of cloud and light winds which slowed Germany’s Boris Herrmann for a period today, conceding third place on the leaderboard to Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).
The top five boats are emerging from what – even so – seems a relatively painless passage across The Doldrums and the two yellow-hulled IMOCAs, Bureau Vallée 2 and Apivia, remain head-to-head in a speed match as they start the five day long climb up the North Easterly trade winds.
Herrmann’s seems to have lost 40 miles or so in the cloudy mess but his demeanour remains totally even, confirming today that he feels no additional stress from his position in the vanguard of this Vendée Globe, challenging well to finish on the podium.
“To be honest I feel good, I try on this Vendée Globe each day one day at a time. I try not to think about the past or the future too much. I am sticking to that same pattern, I don’t even realise that we are racing for the Vendée Globe here. For me it is race to the next sked, almost. That keeps my heart a bit lighter, it is more playful. I am not feeling any stress, any pressure. I hope that is not a bad thing,” Herrmann smiled today on the link with the Vendée Live show.
Guest today Pete Goss, the British skipper and adventurer who raced on the 1996 race and was awarded the MBE and French Legion d’Honneur for his rescue of fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli after turning his boat and sailing two days back upwind in stormy winds and seas, observed: “I think that (Boris’ view) is a very positive way to go about things generally. There is no point in pondering over the past or worrying about what might happen in the future. Being able to be positive 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a very strong thing on this race. I think Boris has it just right.”
Herrmann explained to the French audience: “I didn't sleep much last night, with squalls in the doldrums. The sea and the sky are a mess, you can feel that we are entering the North Atlantic. There's a huge swell and a chop in all directions, it slows the boat down a lot. Tonight, I should be in a stable trade wind. We're going through the stages one after the other, quite quickly, which is good. At the latitude of Recife, I've started to go west, to foil. For a while I lost quite a few miles because I was a bit low, a bit slow. I had been looking at the satellite imagery of the doldrums that it went better in the West. Today this is not really the case anymore… We'll see tonight.”
Miranda Merron at Cape Horn
British racer Miranda Merron passed Cape Horn in 22nd place, exhausted but elated after a fast, but challenging run in to the famous landmark she first passed on Amer Sports Too in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2002, sailing as navigator on the all-women crew. Her accomplished race so far is a major success for her and her partner Halvard Mabire who do the majority of the preparation and project management themselves.
In 17th, Pip Hare today had to deal with a problem with her keel canting system when one of the control lines snapped and she had to replace it. The British skipper has been trying to avoid the worst of a nasty low pressure system 520 miles SE of Uruguay.