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Vendée Globe – Right direction, better speed for Colman

by Vendée Globe and on 16 Feb 2017
Conrad Colman is making slow progress under Jury rig due to light winds - a finish at the end of next week is now being forecast. Conrad Colman / Foresight Energy / Vendée Globe
Conrad Colman has been reaching speeds of four knots during the last few hours and is heading in a good direction, towards les Sables d'Olonne. His speed has reduced slightly in lighter airs but his in much better shape and reported that he had set his storm jib also. He now has just less than 700 miles to go and is in light SSE'ly winds. He has just enough food but will be rationing it and has an emergency supply too.

At the latest report Colman had achieved a thundering 4.9kts and had 630nm left to sail to the finish line. The increase in speed probably indicates he has been able to set additional sails, or he has got into stronger winds - whatever, it is all positive news.

Arnaud Bossières is almost directly downwind of the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne. That means the solo skipper of La Mie Câline will have a 90 miles beat in light winds, around 8-12kts, and so he is not expected at the line before midnight tonight, more likely to be tomorrow - Friday - morning.

Fabrice Amedeo on Newrest-Matmut is in an E'ly breeze and has been dealing with the heavy shipping traffic close to the TSS, the traffic management lane, off Cape Finisterre. While passing this zone, he got no reply from a cargo vessel over the radio. Due to his low speeds, his IMOCA was not easy to manoeuvre and Amedeo came close to a collision. No damage was done, but it was a huge scare for the skipper of Newrest-Matmut. He now has some SE'ly breezes and will be able to sail a slightly more direct course than the skipper in front of him, but it will be Saturday morning before Amedeo reaches the finish line.

The most direct and fastest course is that granted to Alan Roura. La Fabrique is being pushed along by 25kt S'ly wind and is heading on a nice NE'ly course directly towards the finish line. He will keep a SW'ly breeze almost to the finish line which he should pass on Sunday. Rich Wilson in 14th place is making 14kts this morning just to the south of the low pressure and is 50 miles to the SW of Pico island in the Cape Verdes. He has good SW'ly winds.

Didac Costa on OnePlanet-One Ocean is still marching away from his unlucky rival Romain Attanasio. Costa is in a strong W'ly breeze with six to seven metre waves, while the French skipper of Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys is in a NW'ly wind of 10-15kts. Pieter Heerema is still in the trade winds regime, close hauled and crashing into the waves. As the high pressure evolves in front of him to block his route he may choose to route to the east towards the Portuguese coast to find a lane of favourable breeze. And Sébastien Destremau is close to the Fernando de Noronha island group where he said he will stop to check his hull around the S-drive. That should be around 1100hrs UTC or thereabouts.

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