After a gruelling light wind zone and additional counter-current that drove the boat partly backwards, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe escaped the doldrums in the third leg of The Ocean Race and turned onto the highway in the Southern Ocean. As second-placed crew, skipper Benjamin Dutreux and the crew of Robert Stanjek, Sébastien Simon, Annie Lush and onboard reporter Charles Drapeau made it onto the first low in the Southern Ocean. Almost to 40 degrees south, the black yacht felt its way south to pick up speed and race through the waves at average speeds around 20 kn since Tuesday night.
At the top, Kevin Escoffier’s Team Holcim once again set the best marks. The Swiss-flagged yacht moved furthest east in the doldrums, then sailed further south than all the other teams and has already built up a few nautical miles lead. But GUYOT environnement – Team Europe is very happy with the performance of the yacht and the crew so far.
“Currently we are sailing with the J0 and one reef in the main. In a gybe we had some trouble with the headsail, but have cleared everything up,” explained Robert Stanjek in a report from on board. “We put all the weight in the stern to get through the waves well. It’s nice to make a bit of distance here. Luckily it’s not the brutal conditions that were forecast so we’re sailing quite well and not overpowered.”
With the coast of South Africa left in the wake, the vastness of the ocean spreads its beauty. “Now we’re off. From now it’s getting colder, darker and the waves getting bigger. We saw some whales spouting their spray. That was very cool,” Annie Lush reported.
Navigator Sébastien Simon has a view of the wind zones: “We’re looking for the low pressure. The same low pressure that staying with us for all the Indian Ocean. The risk is to meet some big waves and strong wind.”