Cape Town, South Africa provides the final safe haven for stricken solo racers to retire to.
Each edition of the Vendée Globe, Cape Town, South Africa provides final safe haven for stricken solo racers to retire to, restore their mental equilibrium, to reflect on what should have been and to enjoy the safety and security of terra firma after nursing an injured IMOCA to port.
First to arrive in this edition, nearly seven days and 1,800 miles since he announced his hopes of winning the 2020 Vendée Globe had been terminated by a broken starboard rudder, Alex Thomson arrived in Cape Town Friday morning.
He will be joined over the weekend by young Vendéen skipper Sébastien Simon who also announced he has had to give up the race because of damage to his starboard foil casing and his foil on the Juan K designed ARKEA PAPREC.
The British skipper has been forced into Cape Town in early December before.
His first Vendée Globe ended with his retiral on 7 December 2004 after an area of his coachroof around the mast gave way due to a structural problem.
And in 2006 he and Mike Golding arrived in Cape Town on 3 December 2006 after Golding had dramatically rescued Thomson from his IMOCA in the Southern Ocean after he had to abandon it because his keel had failed.
Golding’s mast broke not long after the rescue and the pair had to sail 1000 miles north under jury rig.
Britain’s Sam Davies is making steady progress north under reduced sail nursing her damaged Initiatives Coeur back to sheltered waters and this afternoon was about 80 miles south of Cape Town.
After the best sleep since she hit a floating object which has damaged the structure round her keel, Davies admitted that the emotions were suddenly released as she was accompanied on her route by an albatross.
‘I leant on the coach roof and looked out and there, right there, really close, unusually close, was the most beautiful albatross I have seen, gliding past silently and slowly. He was so close. Normally the albatrosses keep their distance but this was different, as if he could feel my emotion and wanted to help.’
‘He stayed close and gave me a wonderful display of effortless flight that was a welcome distraction. They say that albatrosses have the souls of sailors of the past and I can well believe that. I feel like I am being escorted to safety by these amazing creatures and I am grateful for their concern!’
Conditions are still demanding for the fleet leaders, who will shortly be able to angle more to the south east after passing the corner of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone.
Led by Charlie Dalin (Apivia) with Louis Burton now just 140 miles behind on Bureau Vallée, they are still all struggling to set a good average speed in the typically big seas and gusty winds.
A second, deeper low pressure is set to combine next week to provide very testing conditions which it is most likely the leaders will change their route to avoid.
Vendée Globe Leaders – Day 27 – Fri 4 Dec – Updated at 17:00 hrs UK
1st FRA Charlie Dalin – APIVIA – 16,254 nm to finish – sailing at 16.4 knots
2nd FRA Louis Burton – BUREAU VALLEE 2 – 140 nm
3rd FRA Thomas Ruyant – LinkedOut – 213 nm
4th FRA Yannick Bestaven – Maître CoQ IV – 382 nm
5th FRA Damien Seguin – GROUPE APICIL – 386 nm
6th FRA Jean Le Cam – Yes we Cam! – 408 nm
7th FRA Benjamin DUTREUX – OMIA – WATER FAMILY – 469 nm
8th FRA Boris Herrmann – SEAEXPLORER – 473 nm
10th FRA Giancarlo Pedote – PRYSMIAN GROUP – 547 nm
9th FRA Isabelle JOSCHKE – MACSF – 558 nm
21st GBR Pip Hare – Medallia – 2314 nm
23rd GBR Miranda Merron – Campagne de France – 3119 nm
Heading to Cape Town:
14th GBR Sam Davies – INITIATIVES-COEUR – 1366 nm – Damaged – sailing at 7 knots
Retired: Nicolas Troussel, Alex Thomson, Kevin Escoffier, Alex Thomson, Sebastien Simon