After 59 days on the race, I am now only a few miles away from the pole of inaccessibility. It’s the place, at sea, where you are farthest from all land. If I were to have a big problem today, I would probably need at least a week to reach an island and it would probably Tahiti, which is located approximately 2,000 miles to my north, it means 4,000 kilometers! It’s funny because that’s where the name of my boat comes from: Rua Hatu*. It is a Polynesian divinity of the sea and I think she is watching over me right now.
There have been a lot of problems for my competitors during the past months and so far I have been spared, it makes you become mystical! Each withdrawal brings me down. I am disappointed for Enda (O Coineen) and I am also sorry that Alan (Roua) was overtaken after his rudder broke. I spent Christmas with them and that moment will stay in our minds for a long time. I feel empathy for the others but I eliminate the fear that it might happen to me rather quickly. I don’t want to live with the idea that there is a container half submerged waiting for me somewhere on my route. We live with a gun to our heads and it will be the case until we cross the finishing line.
When I see all the glitches the others go through and that nothing bad happens to me, I tell myself that I am with the god of the sea! It’s very surprising. You need crazy pragmatism and at the same time, to be completely reckless. We depend on a microprocessor, a poorly tight screw, on so many details! I am conscientious about everything but there is a part over which I have no control so if there is nothing I can do about it, I’d rather leave it aside and not think about it.
I just went through another storm with huge waves and a strong wind. The boat is a submarine, permanently covered by tons of water. Everything is drenched on board, I don’t have a dry fleece left and yet I am enjoying it a lot. I am having a lot of fun. I am on a black run under the ski lift, it’s a real playground. I got rid of the vision of others. In the beginning, I was sailing like Michel Desjoyeaux, Sam Davies or Sam Goodchild who are my role models. I was all uptight but now it makes me laugh.
I try some adjustments, juggle around and see what works or not. I am in a pioneering spirit, a state of mind of discovery. You have to trust yourself.
Depressions used to scare me but today I love to battle with them and it’s actually the only battle that really interests me. People keep talking about my ranking and it bothers me. Arriving 10th is a beautiful performance but my only satisfaction is to be part of this pack, surrounded by great sailors. Moving up or down in the rankings will not affect me as long as will not have left the southern seas. These are earthling reflexes, which do not have any value here, at 50º south. Cape Horn is still 5,000 miles away and the only number that matters to me is this distance, which decreases day by day.
* COMMEUNSEULHOMME is the race name, but the boat is registered under Rua Hatu.