I mentioned back in November (here) that I would be following the progress of the Vendee Globe, the solo round the world sailing race. I have done that, and every day I log on here to read the news and the stories of the previous twenty-four hours. It has been fascinating. Only twelve of the twenty starters are still in the race. Two Frenchmen (Francois Gabart on Macif, and Armel Le Clearc'h on Banque Populaire) have effectively been match racing at the front of the fleet for most of the race, and, after sixty-three days, they are now nearing the Equator on their way back up the Atlantic. A Brit, Alex Thomson, is currently in third place in Hugo Boss.
A couple of mornings ago I was lying in bed snuggled up warm and listening to a live radio linkup on the Chris Evans show with the other British sailor, Mike Golding, who had just completed his sixth rounding of Cape Horn. His comment that his toothpaste was frozen has stuck with me since! It is easy to forget just how tough such a race is. Mike, who's 52, is in sixth position in Gamesa. I just think that it is a tremendous performance by both sailors.
The screenshot below is from the week 9 highlights video. It gives some impression of what the conditions can be like, as well as summarising the current placings. On the photo is Jean Le Cam who was rescued four years ago when his boat capsized near Cape Horn. He's safely round this time on SynerCiel. Cape Horn is in the background. Click this link or on the image to find the whole video.