Solo, non-stop circumnavgation
AS THIS ISSUE was going to press, Kiwi sailor Conrad Coleman in his yacht Foresight Natural Energy was lying 15th in a fleet of 29 vessels competing in the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, a solo circumnavigation race sailed non-stop.
The race is sailed every four years, and the 2016–2017 edition started on Sunday, 6 November. It starts and finishes in Les Sables-d’olonne, in the Vendée département of France, and is a serious test of individual endurance.
It presents significant challenges; most notably the severe wind and wave conditions in the Southern Ocean, the long unassisted duration of the race, and the fact that the course takes competitors far from the reach of any normal emergency response.
Coleman in sailing an Open 60 designed in 2003 by Auckland-based designer Angelo Lavranos. Lavranos says most of the yachts competing in the race are a generation or two ‘newer’ than Foresight Natural Energy.
The leaders are the Dali Foil-equipped boats which are about two tonnes lighter and, as expected, are well ahead. The record for the race is about 78 days and the 24-hour record is 570 nm.