Jangling nerves in battle to beat headwinds

Grant Dalton, skipper of Club Med, leads The Race by 1,000 miles but is taking no chances going into final stage

Nest stop: the equator, except we hope it will not mean being slowed by Doldrum light winds. The Race was meant to be a non-stop event and we are one of only two of the original six starters that have not stopped so far.

Nest stop: the equator, except we hope it will not mean being slowed by Doldrum light winds. The Race was meant to be a non-stop event and we are one of only two of the original six starters that have not stopped so far.

It is good to see that Cam Lewis is racing again but, after a second repair pit-stop in Wellington to fix the main cross beam, he has also seen his crew reduced to nine. It seems ages since we went through the Cook Straits and it is hard to believe that he still has 4,000 miles to go before rounding Cape Horn.

We also hear that Tony Bullimore has stopped again. He is in worse straits with his crew, as three are leaving. The two Frenchmen, Armand Coursodon and Olivier Cusin, are suffering from back injuries and an infection following a bang to the mouth and a chipped tooth. Rob Salvidge has said he is leaving for "personal medical reasons" but my guess is that he has had enough.

That leaves only seven to race Team Legato, but, then, there were only seven aboard when, as Enza, and in the hands of Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston, she set a new Jules Verne world record time for sailing round the world.

One of the crew then was Ed Danby and he is with us as we sail up the last of the South American coast and back into the northern hemisphere. It seems amazing that it is less than 50 days since we were going the other way and we are already north of the point where Steve Fossett decided to call it a day in PlayStation.

Not that it is yet easy. The last four days have been horrible, 36 hours of them sheer hell as we battled through gale-force headwinds. These boats are great when reaching and running off the wind. But 109 feet of catamaran beating into a gale of headwind is not a happy affair and, in that respect, this has been the worst part of the trip. We always knew it could be and it means your nerves are on edge all the time. We have been very careful in preparing the boat to be strong enough but you feel every bang and the nerves are jangling when you hear a creak and think to yourself: "That's a new one, where did that come from?"

We have some more of that to come when we go through the trade winds north of the equator, but, with less than 4,000 miles to the finish in Marseilles, we also know we are entering the last stage.

Club Med has done over 20,000 miles and the most serious injury we have had is one twisted ankle. Our only physical problem has been weight loss. You always lose weight in the first 10 days and then, as the rhythm settles, you start wanting to eat more and more. Every stray crumb is pounced on as we eat everything in each day's ration. It would be nice to have some more, and the taste explosion of something as simple as a stick of chewing gum the other day was amazing in its intensity.

Still, we are stretching our lead out to 1,000 miles again over Loick Peyron in Innovation Explorer and we know the slipway to the motorway home is not far away. But we want as big a lead as possible as we do not want to have to push too hard over the final miles. You do not set fastest lap time voluntarily at the end of a grand prix. Anything can happen and we want as big a cushion as possible. The opera isn't over until the fat lady sings, and she is not even in the car yet.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
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: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all