The latest Ship Logs from Nándor Fa before his 5th rounding of the Big Cape – read the English version
7th Jan. 23:50 UTC, in the afternoon,
I ran the engine for a little while, perhaps for the last time on the southern waters, strictly for sock-drying purposes. Now 3 pairs of warm socks are on top of it, they barely have enough space, all are smelling like rubber boots.
For the first time during the race I feel the desire to eat something tasty, which I do not have onboard. I have no idea what, it’s nothing special, simply something different from what I always eat. This is just a random idea I quickly swipe away because I need to keep enjoying the food I have.
More and more rainclouds are running across and they are getting bigger. The last one was rather huge, and had brought a 36-knot gust on top of the 25-knot base for at least 10 minutes. You can’t just show off with your big sails here… I thought of the guys in the VOR, who sail in large crews, steering the boats by hand, they are indeed able to do vast distances. We lose quite a lot on the autopilot, and also on the lack of hands to change sails every time necessary. All this work is too much even for crews. Everyone would get exhausted if they reacted to every single situation, every single chance to adjust settings. Once I was really curious to be part of such a team, but it was a long time ago, this is the time for youngsters.
It’s gotten dark, I can’t see anything. However, I can see that the Sun started towards East on the horizon and the Moon is flashing weakly from behind the clouds. The sky is still full of running clouds. There is 26 – 28 knots of wind from NW, which is perfect for me, I can sail directly at the Cape on one tack between 14 – 25 knots of boat speed. Our base speed is 14 but Miss SOH goes wild when gusts come together with high seas and starts surfing at 22-25. We’re going faster than the routing as the wind is stronger and comes from a better angle. This is how it had been until the morning but even then, it just decreased slightly. Some rainclouds had run over us on their way, giving us a mixture of snow and rain during the day. First I changed the J3 back to the J2 but it was still too little, right now the A3 is on duty. It’s a good thing I kept it hoisted, I just had to furl it out. I’m really thankful for the wind for having been more northerly so that I can approach the cape directly. It does have occasional spins but basically it takes me to the right direction. At the moment we’re on 145° TWA, sailing at 11 – 13 knots. 170 miles to the cape.
Unfortunately I’m done with all of my good readings. Now I’ll either start re-reading something that I’ve already read, or I’ll have to choose something that initially interests me less and might become more fascinating later on. Not that I have too much time for reading, this is just a little “dessert” for me besides the grinder mill.
I can see very tough clouds on the East, they require caution. These are not simply clouds that will come and go, no, these are following each other in an endless system. Paradoxically the wind is moderate for now, yet I’m careful to play my highest cards. Even though I put the A3, the main has one reef in it. In this area so close to the mountains, especially in such an unstable state, there might be 15 – 20 knots differences easily, it is possible that a 40-knot wind comes on us instantly. I don’t want to leave it to the luck.
I am at the exact place just now, where 40 miles away from the land, the ocean’s depth becomes less than 100 from 2000 m, in 10 miles. Within the present circumstances it’s not giving me any complications but if the weather is bad, when 6 – 8 metre waves run out above the shallow water, they turn into over-falling waves which could make a boat capsize even lengthwise.
For a short time, big drops of rain was knocking on the deck of the boat, which is rare in this area. Here it’s always drizzling in subtle-size drops. You don’t even realize it until you’re completely soaking wet. At flash-light during the night you can see it spraying densely and constantly.
The big question is: when should I gybe? For now I’m sailing toward the rocks above the cape. If I changed tack now I would pull an enormous negative. Within the next few hours the wind should change and slightly decrease, I will be able to sail at better directions. Until then I’m getting closer and closer to the coast, waiting for the change.
The waves have become short and aggressive, probably due to the stream and the sudden change of water depth. The wind suddenly turned 15° and that decided it: I gybed. Now we’re sailing towards SE. I’m going to go 40 miles this way, then I’ll gybe back. This tack is more peaceful than the other one.
It’s a memorable place I’m heading towards. The Diego Ramirez islands are ahead of me, the area where 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, I had enough time to take pictures. That photo I took here is still in the official media collection of the Vendée Globe.
62 days, 70% of the race course is completed so far. Stay with us, Cape Horn is coming soon! Based on Nándor’s calculations he could reach the great cape on Monday, some people say it might even happen on Sunday.
VENDEEGLOBE 8 JAN. 2017 ENDÉE LIVE (EN) DE 12H00 TO 12H15 UTC TODAY
– NANDOR FA (EN) = AUDIO (12H05 UTC) PARIS VENDÉE GLOBE MEDIA HEADQUATER
VG LIVE LINK: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/web-tv (replay available)
Vendée Globe official: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en
8th January tracking shoots – SOH77 PREPARING FOR THE CAPE HORN PASSAGE in 24 hrs
Latest SOH77 short message: Jan. 07, 21:20 UTC, pos: 56° 42′ S, 078° 52,1′ W, 387 SM
Less than 400 nm to go. Cape Horn pos: 55° 58′ 48 S″, : 67° 17′ 21″ W
6th January since 60 days racing on the oceans – Nándor is heading to CAPE HORN
Log: 5th Jan. 20:40 UTC, it is daylight.
It seems beautiful when you look at the chart, but the ride is just horrible in reality. Earlier there was a strong Easterly wind in this area, and I still have it’s waves that are coming against me. Huge steep high seas, punching the boat no matter what I do. At night I had to bear off 10° because the boat was getting such enormous punches, I couldn’t let it keep happening. Life is extremely difficult and slow onboard within these high seas. You can only move in the same rhythm as the boat’s movements, otherwise you can’t move as you want, muscles are not enough for that. The only stable place is the beanbag. Everything requires huge efforts. Outside in the cockpit, 9 out of 10 seconds are about grabbing on and holding onto something. I do what I have to do, then I pull myself inside the cabin. Picking up the hydro-generator alone takes 10 minutes. I get dressed completely, crawl out there, one move to pick it up, then getting inside and taking off the drysuits. Writing on the keyboard is a special art of aiming now, every second letter is different from my intention.
I’m going forward, that’s the main point. Half an hour ago I changed the J3 for the J2 because the wind had decreased to a steady 20 knots, the boat sat down and was banging like hell. Now we have 20-22 kts from the South, 2 reefs down, J2, boat speed is 13-14 knots. We have 970 SM to go until the cape, which means I’m inside the magical 1000 SM radius. Conrad is on the right track again, I was very happy to see that. I wrote him a greeting e-mail, he deserves it, it was a cruel fight, hopefully he’s over it.
I should eat something but I’m just sitting and staring, my legs don’t want to go. I thought I’d switch on some good music to cheer myself up, that might help me get started. Well, the music plan didn’t happen but I switched on the radar instead. Soon I’ll reach the area where icebergs were detected above the exclusion border, and the radar is the only reliable eye that is able to see within any kind of conditions. It’s gotten really cold and I got suspicious, I went out to look around. I couldn’t see anything but in such humid cold air you can’t see too much, not even if there’s something there.
I have a feeling that the B&G miscalculates True Wind Speed. It can only measure Apparent Wind, and then it calculates True Wind from that. This is a little bit misleading, since I have to know the real wind speed in order to hoist the correct set of sails. These levels of wind speeds are far outside our comfort zones and even our zone of senses, I need the instrument to see the exact number. I remember when I lost my A7 gennaker, 31 knots was blowing according to the instrument, which would have been on the limit of that gennaker. I still think back on that moment several times, as I’m standing there and I can see: that was not 31, it was much more!
By night the wind had somewhat decreased and so the waves had become more clear. Less is coming agains us, fundamentally they’ve adjusted to the direction of the actual wind. We speeded up as we get less punches. Until now, they’d slowed the boat quite hard. I am able to stand up and walk in the boat now, although I still need to hold on. My great state of mind got even better when I put on a new dry pair of socks. I’m still very cold, but at least now I know I did everything I could for my feet to be less frozen. Inside the cabin it’s 6°C, the ocean outside must be the same.
I put together my dinner: chili con carne, and tea with honey. I deserve it. The only thing for which I wasn’t able to create a daily routine is washing my teeth. I have to eat so unsystematically during day and night, never at the same time, that I can’t adjust the teeth-washing to any of the meals, not like at home when it’s every night after dinner. Of course I strictly wash them every day, but I can’t tell which part of the day, it’s always different.
The wind dropped to 13 kts without any reason. Suddenly I didn’t even know what to do, this was not what was supposed to happen according to the routing. I turned slightly towards wind and pulled on the sails. Later it’ll probably turn more behind me and will remain around 18-20 knots.
Position: 6th Jan, 04:40 UTC, 55° 20′ S, 93° 09′ W,
870 SM to go until Cape Horn, we’re all right.
Ship’s Log on 4th – 5th January
14:40 UTC, in the morning.
During the night and in the morning I was sailing in NE breezes, which has been decreasing slowly but steadily. This means I must be close to the transition zone. I kept myself occupied by completing the reparation works that Peter wrote me, he send me an e-mail about how to reconnect the plotter with the B&G system, so that the GPS signal would appear on the instruments again. I found two cables that were long enough to reach the processor from the chart table, approx. 3 metres. I detached the back of the instrument wall and searched for those two ends that had to be connected to the new cables. I fixed the cables next to the processor carefully and connected them to the given points. Miraculously, it worked! I could see the data on the instruments. I was extremely happy, as this gives us much more safety when necessary.
I’m in the transition zone. This light wind is very rhapsodic, it varies between 4 and 10 knots. I must manage to get through the zone with this little breeze somehow, at least 20 miles to reach the real wind. We go, we stop, we go, we stop – this is the program for now. Meanwhile, there is a strong current that is running East with me, which wouldn’t be a problem as it’s going in the good direction, but right now it’s not favourable for me to reach the wind.
The organizers notified me about new icebergs, I can load the data from the central server. I logged in, downloaded the data, and it was indeed fascinating! In front of me, way above the exclusion border there are several icebergs drifting – 5 icebergs to be precise. I’m going their way so it will be crucial to keep the radar on. The temperature has fallen significantly, this could be because I’m near the 55th latitude, but it could also be due to the icebergs nearby.
17:20 UTC, we stopped and I don’t see a good future for now. My routing is of course progressing because it has wind, but I don’t. I downloaded the forecasts for today and it’s not any promising. The edge of the wind is about 30 miles away from me. The problem is if I don’t reach it within the next 2 hours, I could be frozen in here for longer. It’s not fortunate to qualify the situation. There’s no wind, the sails are luffing and clapping in the never-ending waving, the whole boat is suffering. It’s really frustrating but there’s nothing I can do. Until now I’d been outside trying to steer the boat so that it would get less force. 5 knots of wind arrived from a totally wrong direction, we could sail half an hour with it, then it died. The sky cleared completely, then became overcast. At the moment an enormous lane of darkness is approaching, I’m waiting curiously what is going to happen down here on the surface. I can see the air is moving seriously up there, but so far it has’n come down. My routing dot has left me treacherously. I’ll have my revenge later, when I’m sailing again I’m going to run a new routing and will throw this one away.
One’s happiness is so relative! When I was sailing at 18 knots I always felt negative when it had dropped to 16. Now that I’m not moving anywhere, or at maximum 2-3 knots, I can be so happy when our speed goes up to 4. So far, all of the bad moments had become the past, which are now indifferent memories only. This one is a bad moment but soon it will be part of the past too that I’ll forget. It’s not worth letting myself brought down by such things, I have to react to these things just to the extent that it’s worth.
I really wanted to complete the race within 90 days, but I don’t see any chance for that. Okay, it’s going to be 90 plus 1-2 days… so what? At least my record will be easier to break by the emerging Hungarian youth.
I’m going South at the moment, although due to the stream this is more of a SE direction. The clouds have sat down on the surface of the ocean, distance of visibility is about 100 m, fog is falling, I have 9 knots of wind from North. I’m sailing on starboard tack in this light breeze at 3-4 knots to S – SW, at the same time the stream is taking me E – NE, so my resultant speed is 1,5-2 knots. But even this light breeze is dying. Every single clap of the sails is a frustration impact to my nerves. But I bear it! I just hope the sails can bear it too!
On the 5th at 03:00 UTC the wind arrived to “foggy Albion”. I can’t see anything, but that doesn’t matter. I’m moving towards South. As soon as I’m inside the wind zone safely, I will tack and start digging in the right direction. Hurray, we’re going!
Position: 5th January, 05:10 UTC, 55° 28,7′ S, 100° 59,8′ W, We’re all right.
VG tracking 4th Jan. Poz: Jan. 04, 04:20 UTC, 53° 29,2′ S, 103° 22,9′ W, Nándor is checking everything, all parts of th boat inside, outside, preparing for the Cape Horn passage – which seems on 9th Jan by the routing.
VG LIVE 3rd January – with Nándor Fa – Spirit of Hungary skipper
audio of the Live coverage is available here:
Written version of Nándor’s interview in the English VG Live Show can be read below the images. ↓
“Good morning and good afternoon, I don’t know if it’s afternoon already. I’m okay, I had a beautiful sunrise and I’m sailing in light upwind. Nice, clean weather, all seems to be good now.”
Nándor, you’ve had some pretty tough weather over the last few days. Were the conditions worse than you expected? [Andi Robertson]
“Yes, it was tough, at the same time when Conrad went into the cyclone. The cyclone came on us where we were. I was on the east side and Conrad was on the west side. It was tough for both of us. I was more lucky because I had only 40 – 40+ knots of wind and I could sail on about 80° True Wind Angle. It was a good progress, but it was really tough and took more than half a day in there. It was not so bad as long as I had wind. It was worse after that, when the wind died very quickly. The front had passed me, and after that I was here with two small sails – 3 reefs down and the stay -, without wind in 6 metres of waves, that was terrible for the boat. Everything was slamming, it was really tough outside, I could hardly move in the cockpit because it was moving so much and it was so violent. So until yesterday noon it was really bad and difficult, since that time I’ve been sailing well. It is OK now.
Fortunately I have no problems now, not that type of problems. I’ve had some problems for a long time and these are electrical problems and software problems. Outside, I make a check day-by-day and sometimes hour-by-hour, I control everything and try to avoid any major problems. Right now it seems to be all right, physically. Some of these electronic problems I cannot solve, so I’m working without them. I lost some GPS antennas and it is tough at the moment but I still have one and it is working. Of course I spent hours to solve these problems.”
Do you get frightened in these stormy conditions? [A.R.]
“Yes, I’m always frightened about losing something. This is a non-stop kind of tension inside. Every day, every time, every gust, you are expecting something wrong to happen and you are afraid to lose something. That is all, nothing more. Normally I am not afraid of anything, but down in the south, anything can happen and if I’m afraid about anything, it is to have a major damage which wouldn’t allow me to keep going.”
We’re nearly 60 days into the race. How do you feel? [A.R.]
“I can feel the 60 days, this is two months. For a while I’ve been feeling it but that’s all right, no problems. It was just yesterday that we started and the progress is good, we’re moving and everything is all right. Now I feel these two months because it was a long time ago when the last time we were on land, and sometimes not physically, but mentally I am tired a little bit. But I know why I’m here and what to do. So this is just a kind of feeling sometimes and that’s it. Normally I do my job and no problem.”
What’s on the job list, what do you have to fix, when you get time? [A.R.]
“My inverter was on the list. This is an electrical charger, which made 220 V for me on the boat and it stopped immediately after the start. I was working on it but it doesn’t want to work, so it’s hopeless. I’m working on the GPS issue and there is always something. As I mentioned day-by-day I have a look around, I take my wet-weather gear and go out and check everything until the tip of the bowsprit because anything can happen. As I heard Conrad lost the pin in the forestay, that can happen. Sometimes I could see my pin was halfway out, so it is a constant checking, it is a non-stop job.”
“It’s been tough for Conrad, he’s had some problems.” [A.R.]
“Yes. We changed letters with him before he went into the cyclone. I was worried for him because I could see that he’s in the really wrong place. And still I’m worried about him because it is a hopeless fight he’s doing. This is a huge fight, I really feel him. I told him in my last letter I would rather see him in front of me than in that situation. Unfortunately he could not avoid it. So he’s fighting and this is a really difficult fight I don’t wish to anybody. I really feel solidarity with him.”
3rd January – the complicated Pacific, not like its name
SOH77 news 2nd January 19:10 – Nandor’s short sat-phone report about his strong sailing conditions: ” I had a terrible night and morning. Conditions are becoming more moderate just now. I was caught in a 40-knot squall, it was extremely bumpy and uncomfortable. I was going almost up against it. Right after the squall, all of a sudden it was all gone and I found myself without any wind, within 6-8-metre high seas. It was unspeakably horrible in the morning. Now I have some wind again and I can start sailing, so things are coming together. Additionally, the sun is shining. I am all right, I feel good, soon I will be back on track. I’ve fallen out of the routing, I’ll have to plan a new one.”
News – Storms in the Pacific Ocean – Vendée Globe 2016-2017
Two depressions are affecting the competitors in the South Pacific. Rich Wilson was the first one to sail in the trough of a depression coming from New Zealand. It was well forecasted by the models and the group made up of Eric Bellion, Fabrice Amedeo, Arnaud Boissières, Alan Roura and Rich Wilson sailed northwards for 2 days to avoid the strongest winds. Four other competitors are likely to be affected by the front within the next 24 hours.
For Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman, the depression they are sailing in does not completely correspond to the weather models from yesterday. It is more active and slightly further east than expected, which has complicated the task of the Kiwi skipper. Winds are blowing in a range from 45 to 55 knots with gusts in the 70s until 1700hrs UTC in the Southwest quadrant of the depression, which is the exact place where Conrad was early this afternoon. Conditions should then improve from the
end of the day. These are probably the hardest conditions encountered by a competitor so far in the 2016 edition of the Vendée Globe. For Nandor Fa, conditions are not much better. The wind is not as strong as for his former crewmen in the Barcelona World Race, but the direction is not comfortable. The wind angle to the boat is about 90° and the speed probably around 40 knots with gusts of more than 50 knots. …
read more: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/news/17713/storms-in-the-pacific-ocean
Fa Nándor official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfHungary
VG official site: vendeeglobe.org
Vendée Globe LIVE TV 2017. jan.01. – benne élő kapcsolás a SOH77 kommunikációs csapathoz – skype
VG LIVE TV link: http://dai.ly/x570rsj (minden adás visszanézhető
Just received the bad new about Enda’s boat dismasted – horrible news! SO SORRY ENDA!
2017 1st January SOH77 hot message from Nándor Fa to his shore team:
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE Spirit of Hungary onboard.
“I’m sending two screenshots so that you can understand what’s happening here. One of them displays my suggested routing until Cape Horn. It looks really strange but I examined every single mile of it. According to the weather forecast this is the right way to go. The little orange boat is me and the purple line is the route I’m supposed to sail on. Both of these positions are for tomorrow night.
The other screenshot shows the cyclone they’ve been talking about. It arrives tomorrow night, by then I’ll be ahead of it where you see the little purple rhombus shape, or maybe even further. The cyclone is going to catch Conrad unfortunately, he will have uncomfortable upwind. I’m curious to see which way he choses to sail the situation. I’m crossing my fingers for him because he’ll have tough conditions, it’s not funny. We exchanged some e-mails, he was sad to have lost his J2. It’s a big loss, although he’s not going to miss it now, only on the way up on the Atlantic. Happy New Year to Everyone! Safe sailing to all our skippers. Oh, and it is less than 2000 miles to the Horn, 1930 SM to go!”
Poz: Jan. 01, 14:40 UTC, 51° 43′ S, 120° 50,9 ‘ W, HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Fa Nándor – new year’s sat-report – in Hun language – SOH_FA©mixpress in Hungarian languages