White Ocean Racing

Reports 13, 14 November

13 November - Race Status

The massive storm was still having its effect. Alex Thomson announced that he too was forced to retire. Michel Desjoyeaux set sail again after some quick repairs. Then, Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty and Derek Hatfield had to return to Les Sables d’Olonne to carry out repairs. Steve has been overtaken by Dominique Wavre (Temenos II) and is now placed 17th out of 26 boats still in the race.

13 November - Blog 2. Settling in to the race

Time is flying by for me out here, it will soon be a week since the start. We are a world away from that first Monday night already, the sky is blue and the sun is warm, the sea is warm too, and it's shorts weather in the cockpit, but if you venture up onto the foredeck then it's another matter - dry fifty percent of the time and then having a regular river powering down it for the rest of the time as we plough into the wave infront!

The cold has gone, and I am eating like a horse, and taking advantage of light duties to rest my elbow, we have had the same sail up now for ages, so except for the odd bit of one-armed trimming, and steering up and down during the mini squalls we get from lunchtime until a few hours after dark as the sun energises the clouds, life is easier. Every now and again I miss a big squall and we wipe out, but that is happening less as I get more alert to them. Since we fitted some new bits to the instruments,the autopilot has behaved differently, which I am trying to adjust to, and tomorrow I will go through a bit of a set-up with them and try and see if I can sort it out.

Today's job is to sort out the generator. This is most important as it is being a bit of a lightweight! Every time it charges, it stops a little bit shorter of a full charge, so after three charges, I have to use the engine to charge the batteries properly all the way back up again, which uses a lot of fuel. I am reliably informed that a quick tweak here and there will sort it out - I am just waiting to hear what to tweak and how much! Having scorched the outside of the batteries with my little bonfire I don't now want to cook the insides by overcharging!

I am having a competition to see how many calories I can get into a sandwhich to try and fatten myself up for the South - I didn't eat lunch for the first two weeks I was in Les Sables as I was just too busy and consequently lost a lot of weight - I am up to about 800 I think, 600 calories of cheddar and about a third of a jar of peanut butter giving another 200 calories. It takes a lot of eating I can assure you, and the peanut butter sticks your mouth together, which most people who know me would say is probably a good thing! Then I sit at the chart table like an egg eating snake and wait for it to go down!

The sailing is fantastic, I am just trying to stay vaguely in touch with the leaders and not get left behind. I am really pleased with my little old boat and how she's holding together, and that we're not too much out of the chase. When you zoom out and look at the whole globe, you have to strike a balance - push too hard and break something now and it could be curtains, but I'm not going to be left behind without a fight, and this boat will come into it's own in the South I'm sure, but for now I'm pacing myself and enjoying the sunshine......

Audio Report - 14 November - Settling down at sea..

Audio Clip courtesy Trigone/VendeeGlobe

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