Solo, non-stop cir­cum­nav­ga­tion

Boating NZ - - On Watch -

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.

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