Back in the game
The New Zealand solo skipper Conrad Colman has now replaced the pin to re-attach his forestay and is back on course in the Vendée Globe heading towards Cape Horn at slower speeds as he tests his rig progressively. Colman's rig was threatened when the forestay, which helps support the mast, detached itself from the bow fitting in a violent storm between January 1st and 2nd. He has 1700 miles to sail to Cape Horn.
So too the other Vendée Globe skippers in the Pacific who had to make repairs are also making better progress. Swiss sailor Alan Roura (La Fabrique) still has some work to do on his rudder after replacing a broken one, the Catalan skipper Didac Costa (One Planet-One Ocean) is sorting his torn mainsail. Irishman, Enda O'Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland) who lost his mast is under tow to Dunedin and should be in port within hours. Only Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-faceOcean) has not set off again and remains moored to a buoy in Port Esperance Tasmania.
Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire VIII) continues to profit at the front of the 18 boat fleet, forging north in 18-20kt trade winds and is due to reach the Equator on Saturday morning. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) in second continues to have 1-2 kts less breeze and is now at 312 nautical miles behind. In third place Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) is in the trade winds but they are still blowing from the NE, meaning the Breton sailor will be upwind throughout the day before being able to accelerate. Five hundred miles astern of him, the contest remains close between the three grouped together. Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac) is likely to lose a few miles in the coming hours as Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir) and Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent) will have slightly more wind and a better angle, so the lead of fifty miles that Dick had yesterday evening will likely diminish.
After rounding Cape Horn in seventh Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) in windy conditions and then passing to the west of Staten Island in an unsteady airstream, the skipper from Saint Malo is now benefiting from a southerly flow which will propel him nicely northwards. He can look forward to a fast climb back up the South Atlantic. Next up at the Horn should be the Hungarian sailor Nándor Fa (Spirit of Hungary), who still has around a thousand miles to go to get there. Back in the pack, the Pacific is a bit calmer now than over the past few days and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline), Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut) and Alan Roura are sailing along the edge of the exclusion zone, while American Rich Wilson (Great American IV) is 300 miles further north on a less exposed route.
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EXTRACTS FROM TODAY'S RADIO SESSIONS
Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Étamine du Lys): "I'm a bit annoyed, because I can't get my gennaker up. I'm on the port tack in a 20-25 NW'ly wind, but on the worse rudder of the two. It is not so easy to control the boat on this tack, as only half the rudder is there and it doesn't have a good shape. I have a reef in the mainsail, but got knocked down twice. I don't have enough rudder for the autopilot to steer properly. Normally I should be at twenty knots and here I am at fifteen. But at least it's not as cold now. I have also had problems with my wind instruments. A power problem I think, but I'm going to have to wait for calmer conditions to do anything about it."
Alan Roura (La Fabrique) in a message to the Race Directors: "The boat has been watertight again now for a few hours. I managed to block the ingress of water coming from around the rudder stock bearings. The electronics are working, but I lost a lot of stuff. But the important thing is I am back racing. I climbed the mast and got the lazy jacks back in place, so am now sailing at normal speed. The rudder is working well, although I still have a bit of work to do to the rudder head. I am tired after all that hard work though. The Southern Ocean really isn't an easy place. I'm looking forward to the warmth of the Atlantic."
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