Classic route needs cool heads

Grant Dalton, the skipper of Club Med, has restored his lead on the way to Cape Horn

It's been a bit wild and woolly for the last 24 hours, but we are now back on track, heading south in the Southern Ocean and on our way to Cape Horn. We are on the traditional classic route from New Zealand and down to 51 degrees south. To go round the Cape we have to go to 56.

It's been a bit wild and woolly for the last 24 hours, but we are now back on track, heading south in the Southern Ocean and on our way to Cape Horn. We are on the traditional classic route from New Zealand and down to 51 degrees south. To go round the Cape we have to go to 56.

The Pacific is less violent than the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean in the south is just a nasty place. The 50-knot squalls come through like bombs, but here they do not seem to have quite as much horsepower in them.

Which is good as we have quite enough horsepower in Club Med. We are back to doing our 500 to 550 miles a day. The rhythm of four hours off, four hours on standby and four hours on watch rolls by. We are back with the speed, the noise and the water coming over the deck. We are back to dry suits and cups of tea that fill with cold salt water spray before you can drink them. We are back to the world we know, and we really enjoy it.

I think it was my idea to route The Race through the Cook Straits which separate the North and South Islands of New Zealand. I'm not so sure it was a good one. It was a time of mixed emotions. It was amazing to see everyone, including some of my family, and I admired the way so many boats came out in what was quite difficult weather. Most of all I was really pleased that New Zealand had now seen this amazing boat.

But it cost us a net 170 miles of our lead over Loick Peyron in Innovation Explorer. We were not surprised they did not stop for repairs of new sails. They put on a good, if rather elaborate act, beforehand, I suppose to lure us into thinking we could stop and they would then sail right by. We were never going to fall for that.

Where he did gain is that we were caught for a while in a patch of calm. When you can see a rival gaining 20 miles every hour it is very stressful.

Now we are back up to 680 miles ahead, the boat is fine, the crew is fit and injury-free and we have probably four days of settled weather to take us to the Horn.

I never cease to be amazed at the input of our on-shore weather router, Roger Badham, in Sydney. He is in constant touch with our navigator, Mike Quilter, and I wonder if he ever sleeps as he seems to be sending new thoughts and information every hour.

Once we are round the corner we will need every bit of help we can get. The Atlantic may not be as physically demanding as the Southern Ocean, but it is a tricky section of the race as we go up the equator and then across the entry to the Mediterranean and the finish in Marseilles.

We have been watching what has been happening to the Vendée Globe fleet through the St Helena High, which also trapped some of our rivals going south, the Doldrums and the Azores High.

We have also been amazed at what Ellen MacArthur has achieved. It is fantastic. Even if Michel Desjoyeaux pulls away in these last few days, and achieves what he set out to do and win, he will only have won that battle. Ellen will have won the war.

We want both. I now think we will complete the course in under 65 days, so we should be in Marseilles on about 4 March.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific