Vendée Globe  
93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

SOH IMOCA 60 VG2016 qualification completed – Nándor’s ship’s logs 13th & 16th July 2016 during his solo transat

NANDOR FA‬ ‪SOH‬ ‪IMOCA60‬ – COMPLETED 1640 SM of his SOLO NONSTOP OFFSHORE QUALIFICATION for the ‪VENDÉE GLOBE 2016‬. “I’ve done 1640 miles since Newport, and still have 1290 miles left to sail. Last night we’ve come 230 sm in 16 hours. This means two things: one is that I’m far over the halfway, the other is that my solo qualification for the VG2016 is completed. Now all I have to do is arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne.”

13. 07.

16:40 GMT, in the afternoon,

Where I thought only birds come and go apart from myself, suddenly 4 boats appeared around me. It might be one of the Britain – USA channels. Three of them are going towards US / Canada, one is coming towards Britain. I won’t ask them about ice because if there was any, they wouldn’t be going here.

In the night:

At 00:10 UTC a little thing called True Blue swam by me, about 20 feet long and 7 feet wide: this is approximately 6,3 m long and 2,15 m wide. It had an AIS sign but didn’t answer to the radio call, though I would have been curious to exchange a few sentences with the captain of this tiny boat. It was going towards Europe with 4 knots. I didn’t see its lights but it was more than 2 miles away from me. In such high seas it’s not necessarily possible to see the lights even if it had them on. About 3 metre-high swells are running. It disappeared from the map quite quickly. The True Blue’s position on 15th July at 01:00 UTC is: 46° 44,6′ N, 40° 43,1′ W.

I’m progressing with 11-12 knots and a 1,5 knots current is on my side in NE direction. In the last 24 hours from 13th midnight GMT to 14th midnight GMT we’ve done 340 miles. I’ve been sailing solo on my way back to France for 6 days and 3 hours now. It’s half-moon, shines brightly on the ocean through the holes in the clouds.

In the morning,

Our good fate brought us together to the exact same meeting point with the Fortune Victoria tanker, by millimetre. I made a few curves to slow my boat down, while I called them on the radio about my intentions of crossing routes behind them. A kind voice answered that they can see what I’m doing and they added some speed to be sure we’d be all right. They passed 500 metres ahead of me. It’s incredible what the chances are on a vast ocean to be at the same place at the same time, only math could describe it. However, it was the same situation with the Pelander in 1996 during the Vendée Globe, and math didn’t come in the way of them crashing me.

I’m constantly thinking of the True Blue, I think I’ve already seen it somewhere. Perhaps it was a rowing boat, that I saw in Newport two years ago. In this case, they must have been working hard in the night, having a speed of 3,5 – 4 knots. I think they were heading towards the Bay of Biscay. I’m sure we’ll meet some other time, if anything, in the news.

Now that I’m heading East, I see a big tanker below me. Seems like after changing speed in order to avoid me, the Fortune Victoria had stopped. It’s been keeping its position with 3 knots and wasn’t going anywhere.

I’m out of the theoretical ice zone, which means +5°. It’s a significant difference in feeling. The weather and the wind seems stable, no wonder why as the air pressure is 1022,5 hPa.

I went 60 miles to the North, where I saw 27 kts of wind from a good angle. I was ready to gybe when I heard a big crack as if something had broken. I went to check around immediately, inspecting the boat inside and outside including the running rig and also the water behind me, but I didn’t see anything. A lot of times it’s just a tricky wave that punches the bottom of the hull in such a way that sounds like something bad happened. I thought this might be the case this time too. All of a sudden my sight was caught on the rudder. The water was splashing off its gaps differently than what I’m used to seeing. Getting closer I saw that the bottom part of it sticked out 5 centimeters and both of the security screws were crooked. I understood immediately what must have happened: something big hit the rudder. The screws didn’t break, they just stringed out. If I gybe to the direction towards home, this rudder will be on the strained side. I didn’t like it one bit, this is not reliable like this. I furled the jib and turned the boat into the wind. In spite of the 30 knots, conditions have become much calmer. I jumped on the rudder with my full body weight two times for it to go back to its normal position and exchanged both screws. Now the new screws are holding it perfectly. It sticks out one millimetre, I guess that’s acceptable for now. I don’t know what we hit, it could have been a bigger fish. By the time I restarted the boat, the wind had increased and I couldn’t gybe with the full main. 1 reef, then maneuver, finally rolling out the stay. Now we’re sailing with a good speed in the right direction. I think I deserve a good dinner.

20:15 GMT, 49° 59,6′ N, 038° 40,7′ W, everything is all right.

16. 07.

10:20 GMT, in the morning,

The night went well, I had between 12 and 21 knots of boat speed. By dawn the wind had decreased slightly from 29 to 24 knots. It’s difficult to choose the optimal sails, I don’t want to set them for the weaker breezes because the gusts are too strong and they last long. If I wanted to follow the Adrena’s commands I would need a 10-men crew and even they would give up after a while. Sometimes it says three different kinds of sails within one wave.

At 10:00 UTC I’ve done 1640 miles since Newport, and still have 1290 miles left to sail. Last night we’ve come 230 sm in 16 hours. This means two things: one is that I’m far over the halfway, the other is that my solo qualification for the VG2016 is completed. Now all I have to do is arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne.

I’ve put together a weird breakfast: cereals, mixed dried fruits and simple black coffee. I don’t deny I’ve had better, but it was useful that’s for sure. Plus I swallowed a vitamin C, that never hurts. Rain and fog is dropping all together, it’s quite an unpleasant weather I can only see as far as 300 metres. Thankfully the strength and direction of the wind is stable.

I’m amazed by my boat. Regardless of how much I had to do with its birth, I’m sitting here thinking about how much these boats have changed in the last two decades. The total weight is reduced by 30%, the keel’s weight is somewhat the same but the moment is 40% higher. The hull with the mast, sails, fittings, instruments, engine, etc all together is less than the weight of the keel. All this, with a 27,4 m mast with its huge sails. Nowadays’ communication and digitalization is like science-fiction compared to what it used to be in former times. Of course there are much more extreme machines than mine – and here the amount of risks and the matter of taking on those risks increase with extremity -, but this is already fantastic to have my boat, that I was given the possibility to create it.

Yesterday after the rudder hit something I went around looking for visible damages but I didn’t see anything. Now I looked around again just to be sure, checking every dry part of the boat. I know the theory from my sailor fellows that there’s no such thing as a dry boat, but I’m happy to see that my boat is in fact as dry as dust.

14:40 GMT, 51° 22,2′ N, 032° 28,5′ W, everything is all right.