Over the last few days the Vendee Globe entered a new phase as the fleet sailed into the Southern Ocean, one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet – Albatross territory.
Past forty degrees south, the conditions become brutal, the temperature plummets and the wind strengthens. When sailors talk of the Southern Ocean, they say that they are tolerated for an instant but that it’s best not to linger. And yet they love it – well at least the Vendee Globe sailors do and Dominique especially enjoys it!
“I can’t deny it, I love sailing the Southern Ocean,” he says. “It is inhospitable and wild, but the light is incredible and so is the sea, the sheer depth and motion of it, you can really feel the power of the elements down here. I can’t stay away!”
From the moment Dominique crossed the Vendee Globe start line, he has been upbeat and cheerful. The radio interviews with him leave no doubt as to his joy at being exactly where he wants to be and his passage into the roaring forties has, if anything, made him happier still. He is genuinely enjoying every minute of this circumnavigation.
“That’s it we’ve just crossed in to the Southern Ocean!” he said, overjoyed, on the 1 December. “I have had my first Albatross visit. It was curious and did a fly by passing quite close to Mirabaud,” he describes.
The conditions are making things challenging for Dominique onboard Mirabaud: “The boat is being thrown about all over the place; it is impossible to stand upright so I opt for the less elegant strategy of moving about the boat on my hands and knees! I am sure my fellow sailors are enjoying the same predicament!” he says.
Shortly after passing forty degrees south, and a particularly exhausting bout of boat handling, he received a call from a journalist: “Hi Dominique, how are things?”
How to talk to the outside world? How to describe such a unique adventure? Well actually if you take a look at Dominique’s Facebook page or his website you’ll see that telling people about this incredible voyage is very important to him and in the last few days he has started to post a short diary. He also hugely appreciates the radio interviews he receives from the event organisers, which are often perceived as a chore by the sailors. Dom is very conscious that people are experiencing every moment of this great adventure through his words and images and is determined to share as much as possible with his fans.