The first five Vendée Globe boats have passed Cape Horn and are beginning the final leg through the Atlantic, back to Les Sables d'Olonne, while the remaining 22 boats continue to battle the Southern Ocean, trying to hold it together until calmer waters. As Pip Hare (Medallia) puts it, "just get to Cape Horn, just get to the Atlantic, and then we can start sorting [problems on board] out."
One notable thing about this fleet is that the secondary pack has remained remarkably close together so late in the race, with only 200nm separating fifth through eleventh places. Although having the competition breathing down one's neck takes racing to the next level, the choice of a route closer to the Argentinian coast or farther out to sea may finally provide some much sought-after separation. In the next few days, watch for some make-or-break tactical decisions for these sailors as they enter the Atlantic.
One competitor who has certainly not benefitted from the tightness of this race is Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) who, despite sailing a truly impressive race, has slipped from fifth to eleventh place due to myriad equipment failures, the latest victim being the ram that controls her canting keel. The keel will be stuck centerline for the remainder of the race, a huge blow for MACSF speed potential.
To follow the race tracker, visit vendeeglobe.org/en/tracking-map