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?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot