Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vendee Globe & Virtual Regatta is nearly over

With over 66 days following the Vendee Globe 2012-13 and participating in the Virtual Regatta I have a new appreciation for the life of a solo sailor. Of the 20 boats that started, only 12 are still in the race. The current leader is MACIF skippered by Francois Gabart with about 3800 miles until he reaches the finish. At his current rate of speed, and depending on the weather,  he might arrive in France in the next 10 days!! In second place today is Banque Populaire helmed by Armel Le Cleac'h and Jean Pierre Dick is working hard to maintain third place on Virbac Paprec 3.

When I started on the virtual race, I was late and my starting position was 224,249 but over the next few weeks an additional 200,000 sailors joined, so during that first week I was definitely in the middle of the fleet. I managed to work my way up quickly and got to about 150,000th, but then was penalized for something - I never learned what it was - and was put back to 200,000th place. Maledicion!

Steadily over the past month I have inched my way up, and during a day when I couldn't get online, I missed a critical gate and had to go back to round that mark. That cost me some miles and time. Then I faced a critical problem of not having internet service and my boat was at the mercy of the winds in the Southern Ocean, but my son agreed to take the helm (via internet) when I could not and kept the boat on course - actually he did an excellent job and gained a lot of speed for the boat. So technically I suppose I should be disqualified, but there was really only one skipper on the boat at a time, so perhaps not.

Since then I've been sticking as close to the rhumb line (for non-sailors that is the imaginary line of the shortest distance between two points) and today I am 136,520th out of 463,019 boats which I believe puts me in the top 33%. I have 7338 miles to go to the finish, so I am at least a week behind the top finishers, it would seem. But I have passed through all the gates, documented them all, and I know some boats will be disqualified if they cannot document clearing the gates. That might move me up some, but hardly enough for any winnings. Sigh.
Upper left shows wind speed and direction, lower left shows the sail in
use and the red line is my track with the red boat being "BirdWoman."
In any event, at this moment "BirdWoman" (the name of my 12 meter boat) is within 18 hours of rounding the last cape, on South America, and due to start heading north toward France.

Why am I doing this when clearly I won't be a top finisher? Partly it was to see if I could overcome the odds and finish well, partly it was because I love sailing and the challenge by itself and finally it is because it is a virtual game and I've never played one before.

Sombrita doesn't mind sleeping on a patterned cover.

Ultimo prefers to sleep on things that are all one color.
Meanwhile the two cats are curled up, sleeping and dreaming kitty-dreams with no idea they are sailing anywhere, much less on a virtual ocean thousands of miles south of their comfy nap spots.

Do you suppose their sleeping choices have anything to do with the color of their fur coats?

1 comment:

  1. Cats. The world call fall down around them but as long as they food and a place to nap, all is well.