Colman at Cape Horn; Dick closing on Equator
New Zealander Conrad Colman this morning successfully completed his first solo rounding of Cape Horn while some 4,000 nautical miles north Jean-Pierre Dick was bearing down on the Equator.
Foresight Natural Energy skipper Colman passed the famed milestone in 10th place at 0416 UTC, 66 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes since the Vendée Globe began in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. Colman's passage from Cape Leeuwin in the west of Australia took 24 days, 23 hours and 44 minutes, and he rounded the Horn 13 hours and 27 minutes behind ninth-placed Eric Bellion.
It is the third time the 33-year-old has experienced Cape Horn, which enjoys a mythical status among sailors, having passed it previously in 2012 during the Global Ocean Race and in 2014 with the Barcelona World Race. This is his first solo rounding, however, and Colman admitted to being sad not to be able to enjoy the moment with company. "Cape Horn is such a dramatic place, especially for sailors and adventurers," - He said. "It's a pretty cool place to be, it's the end of the world, but it's a shame not to have anyone to share the moment with. I would like to come back one day with my wife and just play at being tourists. It's always a great moment getting into the Atlantic, turning the corner and heading for Europe. It's a sad moment as well because we say goodbye to the Southern Ocean, which has a really special place in the hearts and minds of all the sailors. It looks like I will pass to the east of the Falklands, running downwind in nice conditions. It should give me a good boost into the South Atlantic."
Meanwhile Vendée Globe veteran Jean-Pierre Dick was this morning within 70 miles of the Equator in fourth place. Dick, competing in his fourth Vendée Globe, was making a steady 12 knots at the last position update and is expected to pass into the North Atlantic around 1200 UTC. Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h this morning had added another 50 miles to his lead over second-placed Alex Thomson to take it to 252nm with only 2,000 miles to go to the finish line. After days of painfully slow progress north through the Doldrums and then a confused North Atlantic, speeds for both frontrunners were up at 17-18 knots this morning. However, they are set to drop again by the time the pair reach the latitude of the Canaries, further compounding their passage to Les Sables. The current ETA is Thursday January 19.
Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ):
"We're slamming upwind in the trade winds, but it's been pleasant since yesterday evening. They have now really appeared after I spent five days in thundery weather. And that after completely missing out on the trade winds in the South. I've finally got away from the squalls, heavy rain and thunderstorms. I even had a westerly wind for thirty hours, which is fairly unusual down here. I lost a lot in that confusion. The Doldrums weren't very nice to me neither on the way down nor on the way back up. I have currently got a 20-knot NE'ly wind. It's great with the moon up, as you can see to trim and maneuvre, as if it wasn't night at all."
Didac Costa (One Planet, One Ocean):
"Since I repaired the mainsail I have had 4-5 days at a good pace. The scare with that sail left me worried and I had the idea of reserving the repaired headsails to use later, but the wind of the last few days has been suitable to hoist the blast reacher, a sail which is used with winds between 25 and 35 knots and which allows me to go faster than with the J2. It made me happy to see that with it I could reach and stay in a favorable weather system and I hoisted it, although knowing that I was using up one of its final days of life...I also used the repaired staysail when the wind angle was closing and increasing. Now we are going to be caught by a new low, with winds that could reach 40-50 knots. The route to Cape Horn, as expected, will not be easy..."
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