Solo sailing blog: Holding onto second place

Alex Thomson

solo sailing1 300x225 Solo sailing blog: Holding onto second placeThe saving grace for me over the last few days has been the wind angle.  I have been sailing much tighter wind angles than the guys to the west which in the lighter winds has meant I have been able to get the best possible speed from the boat for that wind angle.  HUGO BOSS is also performing well and exceeding the polars (best theoretical speeds) all of the time.  This is helped by the flat water and maybe by the long ocean swell which is coming at us from the south west.

The sun was shining yesterday and it was a beautiful day, I was praying all day that the black clouds would stay away, but they circled the boat all of last night making it another tricky night and disrupting the wind which was at times down to six knots and maxed out at 11 knots.  This morning I have 12 knots of the wind and it seems a little more stable.  The weather files say that it should be more stable from now on, I really hope so as I cannot afford another slow patch as the guys to the west are making 3-4 miles per hour on me.

If I don’t have any more slow patches tonight I may hold on to second place for much of today but at some point I will relinquish that position to Virbac and then another to Macif.  There is nothing I can do, the cards have been dealt and although I knew this when I climbed into the second place I have now got used to it and don’t want to give it up!

solo sailing2 300x225 Solo sailing blog: Holding onto second placeIn a little under two days a weather front will cross the fleet and the wind will go from the north to the south west.  The fleet will gybe and continue to the ice gate and be followed by a ridge of high pressure which will probably slow most of us down.  Fortunately this does not look like it will last long and we should pass the ice gate on the morning of  2 December.  Then the routing takes us great circle to the next ice gate and worryingly close to a reported ice berg 500 miles south east of the first ice gate.  I don’t fancy seeing any ice!

I am reasonably well rested and very well fed and hopeful the wind stays up today

The moon (above) was almost like the sun last night, though this picture I took does it no justice…

Alex will be answering questions at 12:30 p.m today, people can watch him on

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  • Golden Showers

    Good luck to you out there. It’s great what you’re doing.

    Shame that the Independent couldn’t be bothered to name your article/blog as the Vendee Globe. It took a bit of hunting to find that name. Maybe because it’s a French race that they diminish its importance – the English were always thus. I’m glad I’m British but not English to see all this. Cultural imperialism rules!!

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