Sagarmatha of the Southern Ocean - Sail Magazine

Sagarmatha of the Southern Ocean

Sherpas call Mount Everest Sagarmatha, “the mountain so high that no bird can fly over it”. Western sailors know the Vende Globe—a non-stop, solo, around-the-world race sailed on wildly powerful, lightweight 60-footers—as sailing’s Mount Everest. Study the attrition rate in this year’s race—19 of the original 30 boats dropped out, many in the stormy waters of the Southern Ocean—and you realize
Author:
Publish date:

Sherpas call Mount Everest Sagarmatha, “the mountain so high that no bird can fly over it”. Western sailors know the Vende Globe—a non-stop, solo, around-the-world race sailed on wildly powerful, lightweight 60-footers—as sailing’s Mount Everest. Study the attrition rate in this year’s race—19 of the original 30 boats dropped out, many in the stormy waters of the Southern Ocean—and you realize this isn’t hyperbole. There were stories that scare even the world’s best offshore sailors. Deep in the Southern Ocean, Yann Elis was swept the length of Generali’s deck by a giant wave, breaking his left femur and cracking several ribs as he “encountered” various bits of deck kit. Elis crawled to his bunk where he waited two agonizing days to be rescued by an Australian Navy vessel.

sagarmatha

A couple of weeks later, fellow Frenchman Jean Le Cam (VM Matriaux) hit an unidentified object 200 miles west of Cape Horn, tearing his keel bulb from its strut. VM Matriaux capsized, with Le Cam inside. Vincent Riou (PRB) sailed to his rescue; he plucked Le Cam from the icy waters on his fourth try but fouled his rig on VMMatriaux’s keel strut, and lost his mast (he was awarded redress for his heroics). Other top sailors—among them Mike Golding, Seb Josse, Lock Peyron—were forced out in less dramatic but no less painful circumstances.

Yet the Vende’s outcome was magical for sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), winner of the 2000–2001 race. Damage at the start forced “Le Professeur” back to Les Sables d’Olonne for 40 hours, but he quickly closed down the 600-mile gap to the leaders. On December 16, in heavy conditions south of Cape Leeuwin, Australia, Desjoyeaux ticked off 466.6 miles in 24 hours—the race’s high-water mark—and surfed into the lead, which he commanded for 45 days until crossing the finish line on February 1.

Desjoyeaux not only took the overall win, becoming the first person to have won two Vende Globes, but set a new course record of 84 days, 3 hours, and 9 minutes, averaging 14 knots and taking more than 3 days off the previous record; impressively, this year’s 28,303 mile course was 1,150 miles longer than in 2005 when the former record was set.

“I won this Vende Globe before the start with the choices I made, with the team and the experience I have built up,” said an elated Desjoyeaux. “I may have done it eight years ago, but it’s still incredible.”

While birds can’t clear Sagarmatha, Le Professeur has ascended it. Twice.

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more