Vendée Globe: As They Enter The Indian Ocean, Anything is Possible

Vendee Globe
Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) took the lead of the Vendée Globe in the Indian Ocean on Sunday night

This Tuesday, 28th November, 9 competitors in the Vendée Globe are already or will arrive in the Indian Ocean. This highway swept by waves indicates the first signs of the Great South Dantesque conditions. A mythical passage from around the world. Where many things are played. Here’s what to expect …

After the long descent of the Atlantic in the Bay of Biscay and along the coasts of Portugal and South America left the blinking made by competitors in the Vendée Globe, Cape of Good Hope marks the entrance sailors in the Indian ocean.

A mythical area that extends over an area of 75 million km2. Because it appears as limits North, India, Pakistan and Iran. But the competitors in the Vendée Globe will roam its most southern part. And it is immense and dizzying. A broad highway of 8333 km. Which begins at the longitude of the Cape of the south of South Africa Needles and ends south e Tasmania.

The Vendee Globe enters the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is a swell of ocean 8333 km from the southern tip of South Africa to that of Australia (navy blue). | DR

In the Indian Ocean all is possible. Less than three days after Armel Le Cleac’h had taken the lead of the race on Sunday night. The skipper of Banque Populaire, leader on Tuesday morning and even managed to dig a small gap on Thomson, even if last night, the British took over 6 miles out of the 30 mile deficit he intended.

“We’re moving towards the Kerguelen in relatively cool conditions of s, recounted Le Cleac’h on Tuesday morning. ” The sea is relatively correct. It’s cold for two days now.  The water temperature should be between 5 and 6 degrees and the ship is about the same. In the longer term, it should deteriorate sharply: there is gale ahead. Depressions descended from Madagascar and are growing quickly by model. It could be asked to undergo this weekend. Normally, we should go to the North of the Kerguelen Wednesday morning. We know we are in the most difficult part of the trail: South seas, fairly hostile conditions … “

On the Vendée Globe last, in 2012, François Gabart eventual winners, had chained the speed records when he ventured for the first time in these inhospitable waters of the Indian: 545.3 miles (1009.8 km ) within 24 hours at an average of 21.1 knots. After a furious ride this wave Ocean, the skipper of Macif sign two new records by reaching the south of Australia: The Sands – Cape Leeuwin and Cape Town – Cape Leeuwin.

It is also in the Indian Ocean that Titouan Lamazou had built his victory in 1989-90, during the first Vendée Globe. In his book Tomorrow I’ll be all dead , he paid tribute to the “land of the shadow (s) is ocean of heart.”

“The last land that still hinder the sea and wind disappear. Nothing can prevent the waves of galloping around the pole with a monstrous regularity. Their pale ridges give off smoke spray. I have a weakness for Indian ocean, although the depressions follow one another. It fascinates me. the sea can be huge, the air is pure, the clear light, it is superb. It’s cold, it’s totally hostile and it feels great loneliness. There is this tension begins. anxiety is latent and it leaves us when we double Cape Horn to move up in the Atlantic. “

“A pig ocean!”

Back from his victorious Jules Verne Trophy in 1997, Olivier de Kersauson described the with with respect in  all the oceans of the world.  “At times the sky is as clear as I still have never seen in these latitudes. Sublime. the northern lights can be unreal beauty. a particular white light, white and cold sun, out of this world. There is no need to go to Mars to feel on another planet. this green and mighty sea with its black highlights makes a world of “nowhere”. ” 

But if the Indian is magical, it can also prove poisonous. This same Olivier de Kersauson, told the ferociously. “This is the largest desert in the world. In a few hours, everything changes. It is not the fact of dying a meridian or a parallel which say we in south: this is when you see birds, water color, density and freshness of the air are not the same not that it frightens, it impresses Here the.. sanction is to get to the bottom, so it’s a little death row is returned there as an area without innocence. respect leads the defensive. ” 

In his account of the Jules Verne Trophy in 1997, Olivier de Kersauson tells his aversion to the Indian Ocean
In his account of the Jules Verne Trophy in 1997, Olivier de Kersauson tells his aversion to the Indian Ocean. | Raphaël Bonamy

“I have always taken a great feeling lively silent, imbued with a natural animosity. There, the Indian a kind of spirit of ideological retribution to the browser. This is the ocean behind enclosed sea. We can measure its power to the weak evidence against him. it would be too long here to do an inventory of all its vileness. the Indian has always put on the rack sailors.  it’s a witch’s cauldron in which is impossible to advance. I always hated it scares me. One can be killed. “

In  Ocean’s songs , the marine reduced the almost definitely “a pig ocean, a hostel bed bugs.” 

Cemetery illusions

Moreover, two years before the cross carried by grace, François Gabart had known doom: a mast on the Barcelona World Race 2010 with Michel Desjoyeaux. And even in 2012, when he was released without breaks on his Vendée Globe, it was not without emotion. “We always described me as an Indian area with quite violent phenomena and especially sea difficult, I was served! We must stand, because it is particularly uncomfortable, even dangerous. “

On the Vendée Globe preceding that of François Gabart, in 2008-09, the Indian had chastised the fleet. Loïck Peyron ( Gitana Eighty ) and Mike Golding ( Ecover ) were there, too, dismasted. Dominique Wavre ( Temenos II ) had left her keel and Bernard Stamm ( Cheminées Poujoulat ) and Jean-Pierre Dick ( Paprec – Virbac 2 ) their rudders. And it is almost at its end, 800km of Australia, that Yann Elies ( Generali ) broke his femur. Finally, Raphaël Dinelli it was lying several times, where he had already capsized in 1996.

That year, the Indian had shown ruthless. Because after Dinelli, it was alternately Thierry Dubois and Tony Bullimore which capsized in a huge sea and 65-70 knots of wind.

Finally, during the 1989-1990 Vendée Globe, Jean-Yves Terlain had not honored its launch in this ocean of misfortune: he dismasted south of Cape Town.

It is also in the Indian Ocean in 1996, Thierry Dubois (among others) had capsized on the Vendee Globe
It is also in the Indian Ocean in 1996, Thierry Dubois (among others) had capsized. | DR

This ocean has logically born as old and rich texts in literature. Like those of Arabian Nights. Real and fantastic voyages of merchant Sindbad occur in this ocean flooded by monsoons and cyclones. And which also inspired Charles Baudelaire. 

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