Vendée Globe  
93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Spirit of Hungary Imoca 60′ left Les Sables to Newport (RI.USA) – skippers’ log 17th-20th Jun

… we were visited by a whale…” left for trans-Atlantic test sailing –  Port Olona Les Sables d’Olonne (FR) – Newport (RI USA). SOH skipper Nándor Fa is going to sail back to do his solo-transat to the Vendée Globe City.  Skipper and crew log with onboard photos 17th-20th Jun. (logs by Nandor Fa and Patrick Viau in English and French)

Nándor Fa skipper’s log  19th 06. in the evening

Spirit of Hungary skipper Nandor Fa for Vendée Globe 2016 ©NandorFa_onboard

Spirit of Hungary
skipper Nandor Fa for Vendée Globe 2016 ©NandorFa_onboard

We were visited by a whale. It’s completely normal that we are followed by dolphins all day, but for the first time it was a whale that came close. We didn’t see it well enough to determine what species it was, but it was at least 10 metres long. First it went across about 200 m ahead of us, then came up 10 metres next to us. It was unbelievable, we didn’t know what to do suddenly. Patrick almost stopped the boat out of fright. It was interesting that it didn’t blow next to us, it just examined us and then dove under. A few minutes later it came back up and blew more times 500 metres behind us, and then it disappeared to the North. I love whales, but from a bigger distance if possible …

The so far softly swinging NW wind has nicely increased to 12 knots. We are going well with it. None of us has a problem with food anymore. We are still eating our fresh food from land but the lyophilized bags are taken too.We all like them, fortunately we have enough for everyone.

SOH IMOCA60 testsailing skipper N_FA for Vendée Globe 2016 ©mixpress

SOH IMOCA60 testsailing skipper N_FA for Vendée Globe 2016 ©mixpress

Around midnight the wind turned in our face, we had to turn. Now we can keep the 340° but later it will spin more. In 10 kts of wind speed, with total surface of the mainsail and the J2, our speed is 9,5 – 10,5. At the moment ocean depth is 4000 metres, there is enough space for whales.
20. 06. in the morning,
We did the right thing tacking in the night, almost immediately we went up to 290 degrees and have been on that track ever since. Around 3 hours later we’ll tack again and go southerly towards the Azores. For now we are out of the calm zone, although several more of these are waiting for us on the way. Now the ride is bumpy, but we are already acclimatized to it.
15 -17 kts Westerly wind, approx. 3 m swells, mainsail with one reef, solent, boat speed between 10-12 kts. 8:30 GMT, 44° 27′ N, 012° 32′ W, everything is all right.

skipper N. Fa: 18. 06. in the night
Somewhat calmly, but we’re progressing. We were going well, in the right direction during the day, but by the evening it decreased to 5 knots, just like the forecast said. We were using the engine for a little while. On the one hand we have to get further from Cape Finistere, on the other hand there seems to be more wind out there.

We modelled two alternatives: we either go running south, or go beating towards west. We chose west, perhaps we’ll get more wind earlier. We’ve done one tenth of the journey in one and a half days. I plan with around 18 days to get there, it would be great to fit in it.

skipper N. Fa: 19th 06. in the morning

Of course you always try to plan everything, such as the routing, and then there is the wind that’s doing what it wants. And momentarily these two things have nothing to do with each other. The engine-ride during the night was replaced to sailing by the morning. At least for a while it won’t grumble, and we are going forward.

This lasted until noon, then engine again… It’s quite difficult to plan as the forecast says something else than what really comes. We do what we can, keeping our eyes open, and eating for example.

The traffic is big as it usually is here, but slowly we’ll be out of the traffic zone and the road is going to be clear again.

We talk a lot with Patrick about life. He sees lots of things differently through French eyes, but we understand each other. There are main differences only at the beginning, the conclusions are almost the same. Karcsi is only listening, he doesn’t feel like joining the conversation. Perhaps he doesn’t think these topics are not worthy here on the ocean. Maybe he’s right.

A huge gas tanker passed us, with lots of lorries on top. How on Earth did those get on the top floor…? I’ve been thinking a lot that it would be time to release a fleet of waste collector and recycler ships. At this stage of technical development they could do their job without the presence of humans, having been steered through satellites to the most polluted waters. They should be financed by the big multinational corporations, who are the most responsible for all this contamination. And of course those who use these waters regularly. This is only a matter of will and intention of the corresponding floors. I believe this is going to happen sooner or later. It has to happen before the level of pollution reaches a level where it can’t be turned back anymore.

We’ve been progressing with 5-12 knots of winds, in 240 degrees direction. We have Northerly, though the forecast promised Westerly.
We’ve eaten, Patrick disappeared in his sleeping bag, Karcsi is having a nap outside in the steering chair, I’m watching the ships.

I asked Patrick to write his ship’s log in two languages, here it goes in French and in English. Karcsi is going to write later too on Hungarian and Germain language.

We are doing well, everyone is feeling good.

15 00 GMT, , 44° 01′ N, 09° 50′ W, everything’s all right.

skipper N. Fa: 17th 06. 2016. the day after 6 month of rebuilding the boat, put the new mast and rig, set the brandnew sails and preparing to be able to leave the very friednly Vendée Globe city for the test sailing 

SOH IMOCA60 skipper N_FA leaving from Les Sables d'Olonne - Port Olona for Newport ©mixpress

SOH IMOCA60 skipper N_FA leaving from Les Sables d’Olonne – Port Olona for Newport ©mixpress

We’ve been doing everything in the most effective way possible in these past couple of months, not saving any time or money. Even so, it seemed to be a very slow process until I could finally hoist my sails. New mast, new sails, new standing rig, new running rig, electronics, forestay cables, thousands of work hours.

It’s good that we went out for a short test sailing before we started because there were a few surprises with the mainsail’s cars. The pins started to fall out, turns out that they forgot to press them. We suddenly replaced them with screws but as soon as we get back we will exchange them for the “real” ones. I was really surprised, as this mistake is basically like if a luxury car would suddenly lose its wheels. The manufacturer promised to send new ones within 48 hours but I’m not waiting for that. We’ve already waited too much for things that didn’t arrive in time.

SOH IMOCA60 skipper N_FA for Vendée Globe 2016 - leaving Port Olona Les Sables d' Olonne crew: Károly Fonyó dr. and Patrick Viau co-skipper ©M_S_Viau

SOH IMOCA60 skipper N_FA for Vendée Globe 2016 – leaving Port Olona Les Sables d’ Olonne
crew: Károly Fonyó dr. and Patrick Viau co-skipper ©M_S_Viau

Yesterday in the afternoon at 17:00 (local time) we left Port Olona and started our 3200 miles journey towards Newport (USA).

There are three of us onboard: my old friend Károly Fonyó (aka Karcsi) – to whom crossing the ocean with a sailboat has been a long-time dream -, and Patrick Viau – a local professional who I’ve known for decades and now joined our team for the months to come before the 2016 Vendée Globe.


We started with 18-22 knots of Westerly – North-Westerly breezes, which rose up to 35 kts during the night, topped with showers. We were beating as much as we could to be heading above Finistere. With this direction we found a large group of reefs not too far from our port, so we were forced to bear away a little bit, also because of the lot of fishermen around. Then the road became clear, there were only a few cargo ships shown on the AIS.


The first night is quite bumpy, Patrick is the only one with an appetite, he eats for us too.

First reef down, then the second, then we changed the solent for stay and we keep our 240 degrees direction. Speed is between 10 and 15, depending on how much we bear. We are sailing on 35-55 wind angle.

For breakfast I had my usual coffee with a “pain de chocolat”, Karcsi is good with a cup of tea for now, Patrick is sleeping with a full stomach.

The upcoming two days seem to have confused winds, mostly calmer ones, and the routing draws a very interesting curve for us.

11:00 GMT, 44° 57’ N,  06° 04’ W, we’ve come 200 SM in 20 hours.

17th june 2016 co-skipper Patrick Viau log 

my first transat  – onboard Spirit of Hungary with Nandor Fa.
We left Port Olona after some days of preparing and waiting for the last parts to come. The last to arrive was the second accumulator, which weights around 80kg… Once set the 3 of us could think about leaving for Newport, and also leaving the team, Iren and Bandi.


The good-bye was quite an event for me and my wife, daughter, and my parents.
They know it is a big event in my sailing life, and obviously that it is a difficult crossing on the North Atlantic West-about.

First 24h went very fine, quite windy and exciting. At some moments we had gusts up to 37 kt, having 2 reefs in the main, and J3… sailing at solid 15kt. I can discover how this superb modern IMOCA runs, sounds and steers nicely. The rig is especially “talkative” with the wind creating vibration. I imagine it would be both a great weather/performance indicator for Nandor, and a great source of tiredness because of the constant noise.

18th June co-skipper Patrick Viau log 

At the north of Cabo Ortegal, near Spain, we start missing wind, as the forecast said. As long as we have at least 6kt of wind, SOH does at least the speed of the wind. Searching for the right settings and daggerboard position.

During the night we got to decide between going south and downwinds, or north and upwinds. We decide to go north that shows a faster routing.

We are missing so much wind that we furled the jib and run the engine.

19th June co-skipper Patrick Viau log 

Spirit of Hungary_testsailing_PortOlona_VG2016_IMG_0105

The wind came back, a little, so we are now sailing westabout between 3 and 7kt.

We have dolphins very often around the boat. We can hear them through the hull and cheer them by waiving the hand over the surface of the ocean, that is almost mirror-like…

Patrick Viau y co-skipper’s Log in French 17 juin 2016

 Ma première transat a bord de Spirit of Hungary, avec Nandor Fa

Nous avons quitté Port Olona après ces derniers jours à préparer le bateau et attendre les derniers éléments. 

Le dernier :une seconde batterie, qui pèse tout de même 80kg… Une fois au point, nous trois pouvons penser à partir pour Newport, et aussi faire nos adieux à l’équipe à terre, Iren et Bandi.
L’au revoir a été un moment émouvant pour moi et ma femme, Gosia, ma petite fille, Suzanne et mes parents. Ils savent que c’est un moment important dans ma vie de marin, mais aussi qu’il s’agit d’une traversee de l’Atlantique Nord, difficile, vers l’ Ouest.

Les premiere 24h se passent vraiment bien, ventées. C’est excitant. Nous avons eu des rafales jusqu’à 37nd, 2 ris dans la GV et J3… Nous fonçons à un solide 15nd. Je découvre comment ce superbe IMOCA galope, s’exprime et comment on le barre.Le gréément est particulierement “bavard” à cause du vent qui le fait vibrer. J’imagine que cela sera a la fois un excellent indicateur de vent/performance, mais aussi une grande source de fatigue à cause du bruit incessant.

 18 Au nord du Cap Ortegal, proche de l’Espagne, nous commençons à manquer de vent comme le prévoyaient les informations météo.Tant que nous avons au moins 6 nd de vent, SOH file à la vitesse du vent. Nous cherchons les règlages et positions de la dérive.

 Pendant la nuit nous avons eu une décision a prendre, soit descendre vers le Sud et vent portant, soit monter vers le Nord avec vent contraire. Nous décidons d’aller vers le Nord qui propose un routage plus rapide.

Nous manquons tellement de vent que nous roulons la trinquette et faisons route au moteur. 

19 Le vent est revenu, un petit peu, et nous naviguons vers l’ouest entre 3 et 7 nd.

Des dauphins nous accompagnent, on peut les entendre à travers la coque et nous les saluons de la main à travers la surface, presque un miroir…