A Month of Vendée Globe with Fabrice Amedeo
It has already been a month since Fabrice Amedeo’s departure from Sables d’Olonne. Having closed some of the gap with the other vessels, he is waiting for the perfect weather conditions to catch up with his competitors at the head of the race.
Week 4 / #4SEMAINEDUVDG
At the front of the fleet, Charlie Dalin is still in first place followed by Louis Burton and Thomas Ruyant. The skipper of the Apivia was the first to clear the Cape of Good Hope during the night of Monday into Tuesday, while the operation to rescue Kevin Escoffier was ongoing.
The IMOCA PRB literally folded in two while he was under way in 3rd place. After spending 11 hours in his life raft, Kévin Escoffier was miraculously rescued by Jean Le Cam.
Yesterday, Sébastien Simon and Samantha Davies announced having struck UFOs, one with the starboard foil, the other with the keel. The two boats are making their way to the north at a reduced speed, in search of calmer waters where they will be able to consider repairs. These past few days have been especially trying for the Vendée Globe skippers.
The hostile conditions that greet the mariners at the gates of the Roaring Forties are further aggravated by anxiety and warnings. Navigating the Great South is no picnic.
Early this week, Fabrice “missed the train”.
He saw his buddy Cali Boissières’ group, which he had caught up with, take off in a low-pressure system that he was not able to hang on to. This played out at a distance of several dozen miles.
“These past few days I gained 200 miles on them, and they are going to respond by gaining 500 back. Honestly, yesterday, I felt disheartened by this new door that was closing in my face. But today, how can I help being filled with wonder at these colors that the South Atlantic High is showing me? The weather is mild. The boat is gliding along. I’ve made my choice. The idea behind this Vendée Globe is not to fulfil the ambitions I had at the start. It is to complete the process of building myself up as a man: learn patience, learn to manage deep disappointment.”
Our mariner is no longer watching the rankings, which make him think in the short-term, become frustrated, and want everything right away. He is looking at the 360° view of the horizon and has put his racer’s oilskin away for a while.
Wednesday, December 2: the Mariner Battling Away
Protected by the South Atlantic High, the last protective shield before the first southern low-pressure system and the great chute of the southern seas.
“All those weather doors that closed on me three weeks ago, luck that still isn’t turning: what does the ocean have in store for me in the south? Kevin’s accident. Collisions with submerged objects or fishing equipment in the case of Jérémie, Alex, Sébastien and Samantha. We are seeing the consequences of our destructive capitalism and the danger faced by this planet of ours.”
Our mariner has observed a fact: an increasing number of objects are getting dragged into the water and threatening us.
Thursday, December 3 : Fabrice Amedeo Making Way in South-Easterly Direction at 12 Knots
The South Atlantic High that blocked the first competitors last week is now slowing down the tail end of the race. After a night of calm, Fabrice was picking up speed and taking advantage of favorable sailing conditions before his first southern low-pressure system. “It’s going to accelerate in the direction of South Africa”, explains the skipper on the phone.
In the past 48 hours, Fabrice undoubtedly missed the opportunity to move further to the south again, to attain better positioning with respect to the low-pressure system and to travel faster ahead of the front. The weather forecasts had not been very accurate. Conditions for his voyage around the Cape of Good Hope some days hence promise to be tough but manageable.
“I was seriously concerned about the potential of 40-knot head winds along the ice zone. But instead, I’ll have a steady wind at my back”, explains Fabrice. I see calmer times ahead. All of this, though, is to be taken with a grain of salt, because the weather forecasts here are much less accurate than back home. I already experienced this 4 years ago and it’s happened again this year: they help me analyze what is in store for me, but don’t necessarily tell me exactly what I need to do and where I need to go.”
Fabrice Amedeo: Waiting for a Low to Save Him
Starting tomorrow, our mariner is expecting the weather to take a turn for the better. He is taking advantage of these moments, saying:
“The light here is magic. It’s kind of a timeless place, calm and frozen. I think I’m traveling faster in my head than on the water!”
These slow moments help our skipper take stock and re-focus on the essentials before the southern seas.
“I believe there’s nothing better than making your dreams come true, but there is something childish about a dream: a certain denial of reality. I had enough reality right in my face at the start of this Vendée Globe and I think I’m slowly managing to put my initial ambitions to rest and accept a new reality. In the end, this situation is providing me with an opportunity to complete and experience this Vendée Globe without the pressure of having to achieve a result. Just for me and you, who I’m sharing it with. Experiencing this great adventure and growing as a human being.”