Dominique has been at sea since the 10 of November, a total of 54 days… Can you remember everything that you have done in the last two months? Seems a long time doesn’t it? Ashore, we have been absorbed in last minute Christmas shopping, New Year’s Eve celebrations, holidays, skiing and a hundred and one other details.
Onboard Mirabaud, Dominique has been in an interminable cycle of boat handling, fixing things, sleeping for 45-minute intervals, freeze dried food swallowed quickly between manoeuvres, freezing spray and long nights.
The Vendée Globe fleet has been sailing the Southern Ocean for over a month and the conditions have lived up to its reputation with huge seas and high winds. The sailors are on constant stand by to deal with whatever conditions are thrown at them and this naturally wears down their strength and energy. Both the boats and the sailors are starting to feel the strain.
At the beginning of the week, Dominique suffered a torn gennaker and dealing with the problem cost him a lot of his remaining strength.
“I lost a lot of energy sorting out the sail and I haven’t yet managed to fully recuperate,” he said. “The conditions are extremely tiring at the moment, the seaway is very challenging and I am sailing in 30 knots of breeze right now which is scheduled to increase after we pass the East Pacific gate. It’s almost impossible to sleep in these conditions.
“I have gybed twice in the last few hours to line up for the gate. It’s always a difficult manoeuvre with the gennaker up in high winds, but it went OK.
“Down below is a total mess, the gennaker is stuffed into the forepeak area and I really can’t deal with it in these conditions, all my energy is focused on sailing the boat.”