What an Ocean, this Indian! After a month racing, I finally made it there and it did earn its reputation. The wind is strong but mainly it is very irregular and can double from 20 to 40 knots without any warning sign. Last week, there were gusts of over 50 knots and my boat tipped on its side twice. One of my rudders broke because of the violence of the impact. Replacing a rudder out at sea is a dangerous manoeuver, more complicated than anything I have ever had to do up until now.
Here when the sea is calm, there are still 4-meter troughs and I had only done this manoeuver at the dock, with my whole team. The main problem was to remove the damaged rudder. It was a real 8-hour battle but I am super happy I did it because I saw myself call the race management to tell them I was quitting a hundred times. But instead, I am still here, with a boat in good shape. This has been the great lesson of the week, to never give up. I’ve had my share of problems but everybody faces them at some point and I particularly think about Kito who had to abandon ship. You can’t imagine a worse scenario, it gives me the chills. Sailing solo is crazy, but doing it in these seas, it’s a total adventure!
On board, I feel better every day. I won’t say I found my footing, but I feel increasingly more capable of doing it, of making it until the end of this round the world race. I am always more self-confident and avoid comparing myself to others. It means that I don’t look at rankings and that I am not trying to find out how someone or another would do this or that in my spot. I do things my own way and it frees me completely. It allows to congratulate oneself for certain things and to not always be comparing.
I am always more self-confident and I avoid comparing myself at all costs. It’s an attitude that works at sea but is also valid on shore. We spend our time comparing ourselves, particularly on social media. What a waste of time.
Tomorrow I will have to lay low because the forecasted depression is serious with winds up to 60+ knots. It’s the biggest I come across since the departure. I choose to sail north of the Kerguelen Islands. This end of the world archipelago fascinates me but I will have to come back some other time to visit it because I won’t see much of it this time. This route is a bit longer but it’s not much compared to a round the world race. If all goes well, next week I will be close to Cape Leuwin. It’s the only Cape I’m missing, the only one I’ve never passed, and it’s in Australia, a country dear to my heart. I will be very happy when it’s on my rear board. Before then, half of the Indian Ocean is left to cross and this ocean is not for everyone.
Post published during the Vendée Globe for the partner « La Croix », 15th December 2016