📞📡 Nándor in the VG LIVE TODAY at 12:00 UTC, in the #VG2017 live show with Will Carson. Replay here.
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N Fa: “It took forever until dawn and I wasn’t sure we’d live it in one piece. At times we were caught in such enormous breaking waves, they simply grabbed the boat and threw it away 20 – 30 metres, where it felt like we’d landed on concrete. The boat is creaking and crackling, water floods across everything… I was sitting outside in the cockpit making an order among the sheets, when a huge lightening struck down into the darkness, at the same time enormous deafening crash sound. My first thought was that we are the ones that got struck, I could smell the spoor of discharge…”
On 13th January in the evening,
I wanted to write down everything immediately but it was impossible to hit the right keys, given the circumstances. At most, I could have banged my head against the whole chart table as it was. I had horrible conditions as I was forced to sail almost agains the high seas that were generated by the 60 knot wind blowing from the North. Fortunately only almost, otherwise they would have torn us apart. The fore-wind – that I am in – had already come in with 45 instead of 26 knots and started building its waves immediately. Even larger high seas are coming across them and the interference is so rough it makes the field impassable. This is the field we’ve entered. I cannot move around inside the boat because if I let go of the thing I’m holding onto, I surely get smashed into something. I wanted to make some dinner but I just can’t stay put in front of the kitchen. I crawl to the beanbag somehow, wearing the drysuit, and lay down to have some rest like that, soaking wet. I can’t sleep, it is impossible but I feel numbed of fatigue and I’m shivering more and more. I’m wet, exhausted and it’s getting colder again. I take an effort to climb out and pull up the hydro-generator, then I change my shirt which takes 10 minutes. I am not even able to release the handrail for several minutes, not that I would be able to just exchange any clothes as I’d wish to.
It took forever until dawn and I wasn’t sure we’d live it in one piece. At times we were caught in such enormous breaking waves, they simply grabbed the boat and threw it away by 20 – 30 metres, where it felt like we’d landed on concrete. The boat is creaking and crackling, water floods across everything.
Sometime, somehow, I fell asleep. I was awakened by the sunlight coming in through the window, relative silence. I looked at the instruments, 35 knots of wind was blowing, boat speed at 13, almost peace. What a relativity! Everything outside was white of all the frothing but even so, a new kind of system among the waves has developed, they were running almost together with the wind. I unreefed the third line.
As soon as I was done with winching I wanted to go inside but I couldn’t. Grabbing on the pedestal’s handrails, I kept staring at the ocean mesmerized. What a world this is, where pure power and energy rules, giving no mercy to nobody. Bigger waves insensitively take over smaller ones as if they weren’t even there, and continue to bring their power forward indefatigably. I want to get out of here – is my only thought, but at the same time I’m deeply impressed by the view and the feelings that emerge in me by these circumstances. These are feelings that can’t be put into words, it is a kind of mixture of last night and this morning. I want to be anywhere but here! I can’t move away from the pedestal, I’m watching this incredible demonstration of power.
Last night, as rain was shifted by heavy showers and vice-versa, I was sitting outside in the cockpit making an order among the sheets, when a huge lightening struck down into the darkness, at the same time an enormous deafening crash sound. My first thought was that we are the ones that got struck, I could smell the spoor of discharge. I quickly looked at the instruments, they worked. Before and after there was nothing, this was the only lightening. It has come to take a close look at me but fortunately I was given the clemency this time.
Everything hurts! This is not the kind of pain that comes from old problems, this is muscle pain from the top of my head to the end of my toes. The skin hurts on my hand, well only where I still have it. Mostly it’s replaced by plasters.
I got a message from Conrad, he congratulated my on coming out of the storm. He believes I have green lights to go upwards now. Be a prophet my friend! I really want that to be true. I also congratulated him when he rounded Cape Horn for the third time.
It is in the morning, the Sun is shining, we’re surfing on 6-7 metre-swells. At the bottom of the slopes we’re awaited by the guaranteed slams, they are unescapable.
The base wind is 30 – 34 knots. I decided to unreef. In reaching conditions it works as the following: I start releasing the reef sheet slowly in little doses with the help of a winch, while at the same time on another winch I pull the halyard in the same rhythm so that the battens wouldn’t be strained, I don’t like to force these things. When we’re on our way up a swell, the burden is much greater on the main sail so I let it until we start speeding down the hill and the sail becomes lighter. I carefully study the waves, figuring out the law among them. The dominant wave direction for us is a reaching direction right now – which takes us nicely -, but occasionally there are smaller waves that confuse the main stream and punch us.
I was sitting outside, wondering. Somewhere very far from us, there is an ongoing fusion inside the Sun that radiates and arrives to us in the form of sunlight. It makes us warm, causing warm masses of air to move upwards because new masses are constantly trying to take their place – the phenomena is called wind. Wind, that generates waves, which then run forward to transmit the energy, and form the geography of our globe. They build or destruct, whichever they want. And here we are, traveling with the wind as an intermediary of power, bumping our way through the vast energy-traffic system.
Perhaps the endless wearing of the drysuit might be over soon. I put it on five weeks ago and ever since, I only took it off for very short minutes. This is something that only those can understand who’s done it: to live wrapped all the time.
Yesterday when I was already fighting with the movements, the GPS signal went off again. I couldn’t see myself on the chart, I couldn’t see where I was going. I waited a little bit but I didn’t come back. I started to go through all the solutions I usually do to get it back, but nothing worked. I already restarted the Adrena, the computer, the AIS, still nothing. Next step is calling Peter. But these things always happen when there’s night-time at home, I barely dared to actually call him. On the other hand, the problem must be solved because I am sailing blind this way. So I called him, I think I already know his sleepy voice better than his wife. We consulted several times, he wrote me letters what to do, I completed them. And again, and again. Finally, the little boat shape appeared on the chart. Such an amazingly happy feeling that this tiny boat-shaped dot can cause! The worse the conditions and the bigger the problems, the happier you can be when you’ve managed to solve them!
Position: 14th Jan. 19:20 UTC, 42° 02,8′ S, 035° 22,1′ W, we are all right !
14th Saturday January 2017, 14h41 Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary): “It is a big fight aboard! I suddenly discovered that the mainsail had ballooned out and had filled with water. A spray of sea water was flying everywhere like dust in the 45 knots of wind. It was almost impossible to go outside. I don’t understand how the sail collected so much water as it was tied down very carefully to the boom. I had no choice, I got dressed and went out. I bore away 30°, grabbed a bucket and went to remove the water. By the time I was done with it, the wind had shifted and I couldn’t go back on the same angle. Meanwhile, the waves were banging the boat apart. I was lucky. 20 minutes later the wind shifted round 20° and I could be even more close-hauled than before. During the night the wind rotated even more and will continue to do so in the coming hours till we’re on a reaching angle. At the moment, there’s 45 knots and it is increasing.” Source: VG NEWS
Ship Log 12-14th January:
During the night and in the morning I was following the wind and the routing, now I’m preparing for the afternoon’s roughness. Of course it is already tough as I’m sailing in close reaching in around 30-35 knots of wind. 3 reefs and stay, I can’t reduce my sails any more, perhaps I won’t need to. By the time it’s supposed to get the strongest, I will have reaching conditions. I didn’t want to get faster than my routing dot, nor did I want to strain the boat so far. If I really had to, I could take down the stay too and sail only with the 3 reefs. I’ve already sailed in 58 knots like that, though not in beam reach. It is a strange picture that the MOL logo is right above the boom, this is very rare. It is normally in the top third of the main sail. Now two thirds of the sail is tied down on the boom. I tied it at three different points so that it wouldn’t collect all the water. Once it’s full of water it takes huge efforts to deal with. I’m preparing for a short period of the worst, but the last word is not mine, I can’t see what is about to happen during the night.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, by today winter climate has come back. The wind has delivered the icy message of the Andean Mountains. A very bumpy and uncomfortable ride had developed for us, the wind is a little bit closer than I expected. Based on the forecasts it would turn more behind me within 2,5 – 3 hours. Fortunately it will turn before it would get stronger. Because it will become stronger! The forecast says 35 knots but in reality it will be around 45-50 knots.
It is a big fight, suddenly I discovered that the mainsail has a balloon full of water. Spray of sea water is flying everywhere like dust in the 45 kts wind, it is almost impossible to go outside. I don’t understand how the sail collected so much water, it was tied down very carefully. I had no choice, I got dressed and went out. I bore off 30°, grabbed a bucket and went to take out the water. By the time I was done with it, the wind turned and I couldn’t go back to the same angle. Meanwhile, the waves were banging the boat apart. I was lucky, 20 minutes later the wind span 20° and I could haul even closer than before. During the night it turned even more, and will continue to do so in the following hours to a reaching angle. At the moment there’s 45 knots and it is increasing.
Position: 13th Jan., 23:00 UTC, 44° 25,5′ S, 040° 30,3′ W, OK!
13th January SOH77 we managed to talk to Nándor very shortly on the sat phone, just enough to let us know how he’s doing.
Nándor: “We have 40-45 knots of wind. Don’t be surprised, I might be heading a little bit southerly again later. Theoretically I keep towards East but the next 1-2 hours will be rather sturdy, anything can happen. I mean I might bear off so that I could avoid the worst of it. Everything is all right, I try to take care of the boat and myself. This is all for now.”
13th January 2017 Nándor’s QuickPost about having to choose between two solutions on how to ride the storm in the coming days.
“The main dilemma is where to go next. The past two and a half days were nice, but I have to concentrate on the following four days. In terms of wind-tactics and safety it matters very much which way I’m going to head.
Based on one of the two versions I would have to keep going this way, and in this case I would reach the Northerly edge of cyclone with its 45-50 knots of wind around the evening. Those conditions would obsess on us for about 4-5 hours. A rather huge size of cyclone is being formed, its center is about 250 miles below me and its moving very fast to the E – SE. In its Easterly wing there are serious 50+ winds.
If I follow the second version I would have to gybe right now and go 80 miles towards the East. Even then, the edge of it would reach me but I would have to stay inside for a shorter time, and we wouldn’t be as close to the front. At the same time, there will be more favourable winds – especially regarding wind direction – later when we get further outside.
I chose the second version, I gybed and headed towards East for a little while. I don’t want to risk my boat in conditions that are possible to avoid. At the moment we are slightly slower than the routing but in the given situations this could even come in handy later on, that I’m a little bit behind.” – Nándor Fa / Spirit of Hungary
VG NEWS 13th Jan. – source: VendeeGlobe.org: Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary): “The main dilemma is where to go next. Based on one of the two versions I would have to keep going this way, and in this case I would reach the Northerly edge of cyclone with its 45-50 knots of wind around the evening. Those conditions would affect us for about 4-5 hours. A rather huge cyclone is being formed; its center is about 250 miles below me and it’s moving very fast to the E–SE. In its Easterly wing there are serious 50+ winds. If I follow the second version I would have to gybe right now and go 80 miles towards the East. Even then, the edge of it would reach me but I would have to stay inside for a shorter time, and we wouldn’t be as close to the front. I chose the second version. I gybed and headed towards East for a little while. I don’t want to risk my boat in conditions that are possible to avoid. At the moment we are slightly slower than the routing but in the given situat”
11th Jan. from the morning.
I knew that the wind was going to increase, although it was happening differently from what I expected. After a 20-25 knots base I was waiting for 30-35 knots, which is a rather significant change. A big black cloud arrived and left no doubt what was going to happen. The only question was at how many knots it would come and “say hi”.
One reef in the main and the solent will work until 36-38 knots. Right at the beginning we got 48 knots that pushed us up! The only way I could bear off was with little eases on the main sail very quickly. We were being pushed athwart as we were sailing at 17 in beam reach, a little bit luffing. The first wind strike must have taken about 20 minutes. After that we had more moderate 30 knots breezes. The first front has just left us, the second one was right behind it – of which I had thought it would be somewhat nicer, but it wasn’t. It started by having us pushed up again. This time I was more alert and I was already bore down slightly. When the wind was at about 40 I carefully furled in the J2 and waited for the end of the big squall with a bare mainsail. Before the third black cloud I had no doubts, I knew exactly what to expect. I changed the J2 for the J2 way ahead in time, this sail combination is much more stabile. After the triple squall the weather had cleared and the wind had set to a steady 30 knots. But this is just temporary as I see the forecast, when I reach up to the Northern side of the islands we will receive another rush.
The favourite meal of my day is the breakfast for more reasons. First of all, it’s the start of a new day. Sometimes even the sun comes out too as I have my morning coffee. What’s really new to me is that I learned to like these cereals which I make by adding a little hot water to them. It is quite tasty! It contains fruits, and I usually add some honey to it. Before the start I bought 3 cartons of milk. I thought it would be enough until I reached the Equator, what I didn’t know was that it would be enough for me to reach the Equator on the way back!
During the whole night we were having a very tough ride in 40 knots base wind with even stronger squalls, sometimes at 25 knots boat speed. With such a speed, the waves were slamming and punching us hard, it was impossible to move around in the boat without having to grab onto something. By this morning it had calmed. It will increase again sometime I’m not sure when exactly, we’ll see later.
I was listening to the track called “Mezo” from Felix Lajko, it rhymed perfectly with the conditions that I had. The boat bangs into the waves in front of us as we reach them with our greater speed, then we run forward. Splashes fly several metres high in the air, then descend onto the deck, into the cockpit. Water is flooding everywhere, I’m not completely safe under the protection either as the spray is blown in here by the wind. This music represents the clean energetic power the way my boat is sailing within the waves. This album has been playing for at least the 4th time now, but I let it play. It’s almost as if the ocean was talking to me.
After a good two months I discovered new types of food in my collection. Down in the south I preferred wet food to the lyophilised ones. Now out of curiosity I tasted this new lyophilised meal and it tasted really good, it was a nice surprise. I’m happy they had gotten into my bag. They’re called “Voyager”, it’s a French brand of course.
We are doing a fantastic ride, with the kind of wind, waves, sunshine, that I like. It is tough and serious, especially when the water is so cold as it is. I thought it was time for me to take some shots of it. I took on all the wet-weather gears and went out. I got wet very quickly right after the first wave that had come through but the rubber-neck saved me, it’s a great invention. Of course the other parts of me that are outside of the dry-suit, like my head and my hands, are “enjoying” the 8°C sea water. It’s worth it, no problem. I managed to take amazing footages. Since I was already out there, I decided to get the camera fixed and captured some action. It was time to reef in the 36 knots wind. We’ve been progressing nicely ever since, until now when a little rain cloud slightly changed the scenery. It was gone quickly so we could continue running the way we did.
Mostly, we’re sailing between 16-23 knots, it makes a good average. The temperature is not warm yet, but I certainly see the Sun more than in the past two weeks all together.
Position: 11th Jan., 21:30 UTC, 47° 55,8′ S, 051° 35,6′ W, This is all for today, to be continued tomorrow. I’m all right and I feel better every day.
2017. Jan. 10-11. SNOW onboard SOH77 2017. Fa Nándor 8th – 65 days around the world, passing the Falkland Islands in icy-snowy, stormy conditions, in the Furious Fifties.
Nándor Fa has rounded CAPE HORN at 0638hrs UTC.
Read Nándor’s latest ship log and listen to his audio below.
Thanks to follow the Spirit of Hungary Imoca 60 around the wold.
All onboard photos: SOH77_SNOW_onboard©NandorFa_VendeeGlobe_10Jan2017
Nándor Fa skipper’s first audio after rounding Cape Horn is available here:
THANKS A LOT TO EVERYONE FOR THE HUNDREDS OF NICE GREETINGS AND GOOD WISHES RECEIVED FROM HUNGARY AND FROM COUNTRIES ALL OVER THE WORLD!
SOH77 this morning’s position and atmosphere on the South-Atlantic Ocean – screenshots:VG Tracker (official VG tracking application)
At the age of 63, exactly on the 63rd day in the race, has Nándor Fa rounded Cape Horn for the 5th time in his life! Read his SOH77 ship log – sent from near Cape Horn.
SOH77 Vendée’bloG 8th Jan. 20:50 UTC, in the afternoon,
Woooow! at 23:15 UTC I saw the land appear between two clouds! It’s an island, but it’s part of the continent. I haven’t seen something like this since the start. It’s about 30 miles away from me. On the left in front of me, I see enormous grey masses of clouds, they are created as the mountains push the air upwards and humidity precipitates. They look scary, although I think they are harmless. We’ll see, I’m going their way.
The wind had span up and forced me to gybe again. Now I’m sailing on starboard tack towards SE until it will be worth to gybe back, it depends on the wind and our position to the land. As soon as I was done with the maneuver I leaned against the cockpit to watch the cumulus’s above the Cordilleras. They were enlightened by the beams of the descending sun. Luminous white foams appear then dive under the water, God’s most beautiful creatures the albatross are circling around me like visions of a dream, and I wonder: this is probably the last time I see the rigid wonder this place is. Tears came into my eye. This is why I came here, to say goodbye to this wild, inscrutable beauty.
The lights of the night are wonderful. Ahead of me it’s all greyness, but behind me is the exact opposite: beauty and happiness. On the right I can see the Moon in its shiniest glow, the waves below are reflecting it. To the left there’s the blue stripe of the sunset on the horizon, as it looks across above the Antarctic. I doesn’t go darker than this, it goes around and comes back here. Soon it will greet me again from the East.
The wind had decreased and slowed me to 9 knots. This is perhaps just so that I don’t leave the cape too fast. I’ll gybe in 20 miles, from there I will have 15 miles more to go. I will be over the cape by then, but I will be the closest to it – approx. 8 miles away. The wind is light and the streams are strong. I don’t want to be surprised so I won’t go any closer to the sleeping bear.
On 9th January at 05:00 UTC I gybed to port tack. From now I’m on the way home. I have to sail 17 more miles to pass the longitudinal point of the cape. Then I will have rounded Cape Horn officially. I’ve been cooling the champagne for five weeks, it’s ready to be opened. I’ve already had my celebration feast in the evening, I just need a good cup of tea beside the champagne. There is only a little month of sailing left, and we’re finished.
At 06:40 UTC this morning, I passed the longitude of Cape Horn, so I’m on the Atlantic again.
Position: 9th Jan., 06:41 UTC, 56° 09′ S, 067° 15,8′ W, I rounded Cape Horn!
The legendary photo taken by Nandor Fa during his rounding of Cape Horn in the 1992-93 Vendée Globe. The winner photo of the Fuji photo contest that was announced among the skippers. Nandor: “I was sailing in 75 knots of wind in 1992. By sailing, I mean the boat was laying on one side and I was dipping my mast in the waves. I was wallowing there for at least 4 hours.”
photos: Nándor Fa SOH Image Bank: FA_N5thCAPEHORN©NandorFa_VendeeGlobe2017Jan9