The Vendee Globe begins on Satuday 10th November 2012 from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. The race, known as the 'Everest of the Seas, began in 1989 and is a solo around-the-world race, without stopovers or assistance.
This year's edition has 16 competitors.
Happy Samantha Davies After her first offshore training session on Savéol, a 600-nautical mile race with five other Vendée Globe contenders, Sam Davies admitted it had been physically tough on her. But she is not the only one who suffered.
'My hands and my fingers are swollen and sore! It was great but very physical, too. I was afraid I had been the only one to find the session difficult but then I talked about it with François (Macif) and I realized his hands were just like mine. He told me he had found it really hard too even though I know he was very well-prepared. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I haven't been sick at all this time even though I usually feel terrible during the first few hours I spend at sea every year' the English yachtswoman explains on her website.
Samantha Davies had a great time sailing on Savéol, a monohull that is more powerful than her previous yacht.
'This boat is more physical to operate, everything is heavier, including the sails.... We have discussed this with Erwan (my boat captain) and we need to find a way to optimize my life on board: How am I going to sleep? Where? How can I stay dry? We may even change the galley's location! I really wanted to go through that training in solo conditions so I can analyze everything as accurately as possible.
'I'm very satisfied, even though it was physically demanding. I've realized I am able to operate everything on the boat, and that makes me feel great.'
Hopefully, she can pass the great feeling on to her partner Romain Attanasio, who is starting the Transat AG2R-La Mondiale on Sunday. 'Sometimes I just need to go back to being a skipper's wife' she says. There is definitely no time for Sam Davies to rest.
Delayed sailing for Arnaud Boissières Arnaud Boissières and his monohull Akena Vérandas, which recently received its new mast, were supposed to go for their first offshore sailing session on Tuesday. But the session has been delayed and it is now scheduled for Friday April 20th because of security and technical reasons.
'We eventually had to reschedule the sailing session,' Cal explained. 'Despite the hard work we did over the week-end, we won't be ready technically. Besides, Tuesday should be a very windy day so next Friday is also a safer option for us. We have a brand new equipment and with the strong wind forecast, we need to limit the risks as much as possible. We're not really worried but this first session includes tricky operations like climbing up the mast. So it won't just be a nice moment at sea, but a very technical session indeed. That's why we don't want to take too much risk.'
Gabart takes a short break After the first training sessions of the Finistère Offshore Racing team last week, François Gabart (MACIF) said he was happy and relieved. As the youngest skipper to have officially registered for the next Vendée Globe, he draws attention and was able to compete against five other boats.
'Sailing conditions were good, there was quite a lot of wind pushing the boat hard. The sea was agitated, which is what we get often during races, so that was really interesting, he explains on macifcourseaularge.com. I'm glad we were able to do that, with boats quite close to each other when it comes to performance. We were always in visual contact with each other, like we are in Figaro class races, and you learn a lot from situations like that. I'm still discovering my boat and I'm new to solo sailing so having the best skippers around is the best reference you can get, it helps you get better.'
The young dad is very happy with how well his boat did and he is now going to take a well-deserved short break. « It's a relief to see that all the hard work that was done over the winter is paying off 'The boat is doing well and it is going fast. Such sessions help us feel positive and serene. I'm now goign to take a short break to recharge batteries and get some perspective, even though I always have the boat in my mind and I'm already thinking about the next sailings.'
Groupe Bel in Algiers Kito de Pavant is in Algeria. Just as he had planned to, he sailed across the Mediterranean Sea at the end of last week, heading to Algiers where he arrived on Saturday morning after 48 hours on Groupe Bel. The main goal of the sailing was to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Bel factory in Algeria. Everything went well at sea on the red and white monohull and KdP even had to slow down to make sure he did not arrive at the Algiers port too early.
'What a strange night!,' de Pavant explained on beltchiztour.com. 'I spent the entire night doing my best to slow the yacht down because I didn't want to be early. Gwen had received extremely clear instructions from the Algiers port authorities, my arrival had to take place between 9 and 10 AM on Saturday. It's even more precise than a train schedule!!!! '
During that short solo sailing, the Hérault-based skipper had a nice and unexpected encounter. 'Last night (Friday), the sun came back as I was sailing off the coast of Ibiza and a small group of dolphins came by to say hi. The weather remained great all night long but the strong west wind (30 knots) made me sail faster so I had to trim sails and I ended up with only my mainsail with two reefs. You could barely make out the cow on the sail but Groupe Bel was still going 15 knots. So finally I decided to go southwest to make my route much longer but then the waves got in my way and forced me to ballast the boat to stop it from hitting the waves so strongly! A skipepr's life can be weird sometimes... '