ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival): 7-8th February. Nándor Fa is sailing in 8th place, has crossed the Equator for the 10th time of his carrier on 24th January at 17:27 UTC, and entered the Northern Hemisphere on the way home to Les Sables d’Olonne. After a rather difficult period of light wind conditions near the Azores, he finally reached stronger winds and is able to sail fast towards Les Sables d’Olonne.
5th February – VG ofiicial info
SOH Ship log – from Nándor FA on 3rd February, in the night.
After daybreak the wind has increased to 26 – 30 knots and I was able to sail at 13 – 16 knots to the right direction. It’s really romantic, having to reef in the moonlight, I just realized this now. I turned off the headlight and I could work the same way as before, I saw everything.
Unfortunately there’s something on my keel. I’ve felt it for a while now, that something is not okay down there, but it wasn’t as obvious while we were going slowly. Now that I’m supposed to go fast I can feel a big difference and there’s a significant resonance. I can’t do anything right now, it’s pitch-dark and the wind is around 32 – 33 kts. I’ll try to get rid of it by backing up the boat when it’s daylight, but for that I will have to furl in the J2 and only use the main sail. I should go into the water but it’s too cold for that, even wearing neoprene. I think it must be some kind of a fishing net, I can hear it banging on the bottom of the hull. I couldn’t resist, I furled in the jib and backed up the boat two times during the night. It works as the following: I switch the steering to manual and I turn the boat against wind. I keep the boat there and wait until it stops and starts going backwards. And then the object which had been stuck on the keel gets loose and slips off it, theoretically. I couldn’t see if the net has gotten away or not because it was dark during the night, so I repeated the process once more. For the second time I canted the keel to the maximum to see if there’s anything on it. I could see the daggerboard almost to the bottom of the hull and I didn’t see anything. I bore off and started with only the main at first, to see what’s going on. I didn’t hear the noise so I rolled out the J2 and adjusted everything to get going again. The boat ran freely, I couldn’t hear any knocking or banging or resonating anymore, and instead of 13 – 17 knots our boat speed went up to 15 – 21. I managed to get rid of this huge package I’ve been carrying, it feels really good. If I didn’t, it would have become a much bigger problem in stronger winds that I’m about to face.
There’s a front about 80 miles away from me to the North, I’m curious what is going to come out of it. I can already feel the opening act. A big shower has just run across me, I can only see as fas as two waves in this massive curtain of rain. Somehow I should reach the front and then continue as the wind spreads towards North. I’m progressing well at the moment, at a good speed.
There is a church in Les Sables d’Olonne called Notre Dame Bonne Port. Boats are hanging from its ceiling and there is always an endless amount of candles lit. Whenever I walk in, there are people who pray quietly in one of the corners. They are probably people whose loved ones had been taken away by the Ocean. This is the first church in my life, that has a positive atmosphere and I can feel my place when I walk in. After my arrival, when I’ll have some quiet time I would like to go in, light a candle and kneel down to say my gratitudes.
Position on 3rd February 2017, at 20:30 UTC: 39° 59,5′ N, 033° 33,6′ W,
It’s a difficult ride, I still have 1430 SM to reach the finish line.
2nd February, in the morning: Finally, I can progress somewhat better and I immediately feel much better.
It’s fantastic, everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen based on the wind chart. I couldn’t see the movement of the clouds because it had gotten dark, but the wind had developed just like the forecasts said. It’s been pretty frustrating to reach the wind. I always try to calm myself by saying, it’s just a few more hours and I’ll catch the wind… but there is no way to stay clam, this complicated situation is really hard to take. It feels like it’s never gonna be over. I’ve been struggling here for 3 days, having to fight for every single mile.
I’m sitting in front of the kitchen, waiting for the meal to be ready. I’m not hungry at all but I need to keep myself busy with something. I have to keep my thoughts occupied. I’m wondering whether I also wanted to relive this masochistic, self-destructing, illusion-destroying state which I’m having at the moment, when I started this race. Whenever I think of these things I always come to the same conclusion: when you are so passionate, when you’re completely carried away with the volition of doing this journey, and you just want want to be here on the ocean to live every moment to the performance, you tend to forget about the dark side of the story. You always chase away the negative thoughts, saying it wouldn’t be the same this time, this one is going to be a different course. Somehow you get over this little dark thought very quickly and the whole image becomes bright and shiny. But the dark side is still there, and it’s never fewer, it’s the same amount every time! Our memories and our souls make it look much nicer every time and we forget about the reality. When I start wondering about designing a new boat, the dark side never enters my mind, only the great fast rides, all the running, the tough but amazing sailing. Reality woke me up again, this is also a part of the package, I have to take it into account.
Other than that, it’s a nice sunny weather, and I’m progressing in a good direction. Now around noon the temperature is at about 22°C, but during the night it’s rather chilly. It’s quite humid outside, vapor has precipitated on the deck and in spite of the clean weather some kind of a fog is falling.
I’m reading Iliad from Homer and I’m really enjoying its antique poetic style in which it’s been written. It’s not an easy reading in terms of language but if I read carefully enough, I can discover many interesting details. It reminds me of the old school days and those amazing literature classes that made me love studying these kinds of readings.
Something is going on, the wind has been increasing, still blowing from the South-West, at least at 20 knots now. I can progress much better. I’d really need the A7 jib which I do not have anymore. Thick layers of cumulus clouds are building up in front of me on the North-West, which might mean more westerly winds. Would be great.
I’ll get dressed because the next time I go out, it’s going to be a wet ride. The clouds had brought westerly winds, which help me progress better and better. They have drifted to the East completely, leaving a beautiful clear sky for me. I have 6 metre-swells that are approximately 100 m long, they are running from the North-West. Most likely, they are the results of the 70-knot-wind that swiped across just a few hundreds of miles above us, a day ago. Finally I can progress well, I feel happy.
Dawn. A very strange, well-lit ship passed in front of me, with an enormous tower. I called them, they answered immediately. They didn’t say anything interesting about themselves, they were going towards Gibraltar. I saw them very well, I even took some videos as it passed only a mile away from me.
It’s a nice clear weather, with a growing moon. Wind from W-SW, 22 – 26 kts, Boat Speed: 11 – 14 knots.
Position: 2nd February 2017, 21:10 UTC, 36° 14,9′ N, 037° 09,4′ W, finally we’re progressing!
Vendée Globe News – DARK SIDE OF THE MOOD
The Hungarian solo skipper Nandor Fa sails into the final weekend of his Vendée Globe with his mood lifted after what he admits have been some of the darkest days of his solo race around the world.
To have got to within 2000 or so miles of the finish line but become trapped and increasingly frustrated by the light winds of the Azores high pressure system crashed the mood of the hugely experienced Fa, not simply because of the persistence of the light and variable winds but because the northern fringe of the high seemed to climb with him each day. And until last night, each forecast for the last three days promised an escape which never materialised. Factor in the tiredness and mental fatigue felt after nearly 90 days at sea and the situation was increasingly intolerable to the 62 year old who thrives on tough weather and going fast. Fa wrote today that the last few days have seen some of his darkest moods of the race so far but his spirit, the Spirit of Hungary, has risen significantly today as he has accelerated. With less than 1600 miles to go he was making 12-14kts this afternoon and should be able to achieve solid average speeds over Saturday and Sunday. The last four days of his race will be complicated and he will use all his years of experience and discipline to close the miles from the Azores carefully, knowing that shipping, fishing boats and forecast strong winds to 35-40kts at times are hazards he has to stay on top of. The finish line beckons and he is now expected Tuesday afternoon, some time after 1400hrs according to current weather models.
Meantime the French Atlantic coast is being hit by gales which today closed the race village. With storm force winds due tomorrow Saturday, Fa can take comfort he was not trying to finish this weekend. He has nearly 800 miles in hand over ninth placed Eric Bellion and more than 900 miles over Conrad Colman.
VG fresh audio in English with Nandor Fa – Spirit of Hungary. Reporter: Andi Robertson – VG Media Team
Louis Burton crossed the finish line today morning! Congratulations for him and his team!
Louis Burton secured seventh place in the Vendée Globe this Thursday morning when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 07hrs, 47 mins, 49 seconds UTC. For the young solo skipper who lives in Saint Malo, completing the legendary solo non stop round the world race today represents a major triumph.
At 31 years of age Burton, who was the youngest skipper to start the last Vendée Globe, sailed a mature and smart race and his team built strength and reliability into the Farr design and have been rewarded today. His elapsed time is 87 days 19 hrs, 45 mins, 49 secs. He sailed 27,477 miles at an average speed of 13.04 knots. He received an additional 2hr penalty after declaring a broken engine seal. Congratulations for Louis and his great Team!
We are waiting for Spirit of Hungary between 6-8th February in Les Sables D’Olonne
30th Jan. SOH77 is sailing 8th on the 8th edition of Vendée Globe!
?? WOW, VG 13th week, everyone is on the Atlantic again! Great! Congratulations to Mr Heerema and Monsieur Destremau on rounding Cape Horn, now the whole fleet is on one ocean Fair winds to everyone on the way home! ? ?? Good luck SOH77!
29th Jan. VENDÉE GLOBE LIVE with Spirit of Hungary from the North Atlantic ocean and the SOH communication team from the shore:
GRAND FELICITATIONS JP DICK, YANN amd JL CAM!
This is the Spirit of Hungary’s 12th week in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe race.
Nándor Fa and the Spirit of Hungary crossed the Equator on the 79th day of the 2016-17 Vendée Globe solo round the world race, and now continues his way towards the finish line in front of Les Sables d’Olonne city on his home hemisphere after 65 days of sailing in the south.
27 Jan positions :
“24th January, in the night.
I spend hours, day-and-night in cold and in heat, on watching nature around me and examining the life of the ocean. Sometimes I have difficulties when conditions make it impossible to stay outside and I can’t pick up my philosophical self. Sometimes I’m forced inside the boat by ice-cold splashes, other times it’s the burning Sun. Even if the weather is inimical to me most of the times, I try to spend as much time outside as I can, to sniff in the outside world.
We have an amazingly beautiful planet, perhaps the most beautiful in the universe, and I want to sense as much of it as humanly possible. I can only take up so little of it and yet it is so much! On some levels, the reason I came here again was to re-live this wonder. At the same time I have a hauntingly recurring thought: how much longer can our children see the Earth as it is now? For now, I know exactly what to expect when I come out here. But how much longer will it be worth coming down here in the future, like we do now? There’s nothing I can do about it. Obviously, in spite of all the goodwill, we put our Earth through a process where we endlessly exploit and contaminate. From time to time there are languorous attempts for change but destruction doesn’t wait for us, it is happening minute-by-minute, in enormous amounts! The only thing for us civil society to do is send the signals to decision-makers because it’s all in their hands for action. But they have so many other issues to deal with in our over-populating world, that environment is just an umpteen item on the list. It’s a pity!
In the morning the Sun came out and a pretty cargo ship appeared in front of me. Happily they answered my radio call immediately. My AIS is not working so I couldn’t call them by name but we understood each other. What I was really curious about is how far away from another vessel can I be detected. They said they could see me from 16 SM on the AIS and from 15 SM on the radar, which is a safe distance, it’s a relief for me to know. On the Echomax I realized his presence from a 30 SM distance, although I couldn’t identify who they were. If the distance of visibility is bad, I turn on the radar and I can see the exact position of another vessel. When I reach a busier traffic area I’ll keep the radar on constantly, as this is my only instrument for orientation that is still working.
After Cape Horn I was worried that the nightmare we experienced during the Barcelona World Race would happen again. Back then, the ocean was full of seaweeds. Now that I’m already at the Equator, I can safely say it’s not going to happen this time. It is horrible even to remember: we had to stop every half an hour to back up the boat and get rid of all the seaweed that were hanging on our rudders and the keel. It was March back then, maybe this time of year they are not overgrown yet. I’m not even sure if this is an annual phenomenon, maybe they need special conditions to spread, which they were given that time during the 2014-2015 BWR, I don’t know. But I’m so happy they are not here this time.
At dawn there was a huge black cloud which caused the wind to spin up, but it bore off immediately as soon as the cloud was gone. Now we’re sailing in a steady Easterly breeze which is good for us, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Within these light conditions on 110°-os TWA I can progress much better than on 145°. Various kinds of clouds have been approaching us, I’m watching intently what is about to happen.
I have two tiny hydro-generators that provide perfectly enough energy to supply the boat with electricity. There’s one on each side, I always use the one on lee side, it depends on the boat’s heeling. In order for them to work, it is enough that we move forward in 60% of the day if our average speed is at least 8 knots. We don’t even have to move continuously. These racing boats cannot survive without electricity, similarly to a household nowadays. It would be romantic to sail “bear-foot” like in the old days, but the technical level we use for this level of performance does not exist without electricity. When I wonder about these correlations, I look up on the mainsail and think about the people that run such complex and important companies like the MVM Partner, that are responsible for the electricity supplies of a whole nation. I’m proud to be worthy of their support. My tiny little generator is not an easy gadget, it was created by highly intelligent experts, so that it would be capable of supplying a whole Imoca60 boat with its high-tech needs. Now in comparison, what knowledge does it have to be, that enables a whole country’s electric system to work, and supplies all the households at the same time, all the time! Yet, it is so natural to us that we have it. But if I, for instance, didn’t have these generators, I would have to use up all the 200 liters of fuel that is travelling with me onboard – which I’m hoping to bring home! -, and if I ran out of that too, I would be in serious trouble.
I’m exactly 70 miles away from the Equator, slightly more than a degree. Right here, right now, every mile is a gift in the Doldrums zone. I’m trying to use all the light breezes I have, which I’m actually lucky to have. On 24th January 2017 at 17:25:03 UTC I crossed the Equator and can now continue my way home on the Northern hemisphere. I spent 67 days down in the south, fighting against the elements. It was nice, it was beautiful, it was enough.
Now I’m sailing among various sized rain clouds, on a relatively straight track. Some of them manage to catch and wash us both: the boat and me. Now the “road” seems clear ahead, I’m sailing in 6-10 knots Easterly breezes, at around the same speed. I still need tonight to finally get out of the critical zone and to reach the North-Easterly trade winds.
Position: 24th, 21:30 UTC, 00° 36,6′ N, 031° 51,9′ W, we’re progressing, everything’s OK.”
Listen to the LATEST AUDIO interview with Nándor Fa after crossing the Equator & CONGRATULATING Jérémie Beyou on his fantastic performance!
Date of crossing the EQUATOR: 24/01/2017 at 17:27 UTC
Time passed since the start: 79 days 05 hours 25 minutes
Equator crossings of Nándor: 10 all together
4 times double-handed, during two double-handed circumnavigations:
- 2 times onboard the 31 footer Szt Jupát between 1985-87 (with Hungarian companion József Gál)
- 2 times during the Barcelona World Race 2014-15, onboard Spirit of Hungary (co-skipper C. Colman, NZL)
6 times single-handed, with self-designed 60 footers in round the world races:
- BOC Challenge 1990-92, boat: ALBA REGIA ( 4 continents – 4 stop-overs)
- Vendée Globe 1992-93, boat: K&H Bank-Matáv (solo-nonstop round the world)
- Vendée Globe 2016-17, boat: SOH77 (solo-nonstop round the world)