Fifty per cent on the good gybe, Thomas Ruyant
Although he is more than a hundred miles from the two leaders, Thomas Ruyant knows that the final days at sea will be similar to a stage in the Solitaire du Figaro, a race in which he has already competed several times. Above all, the final race sees him as much on starboard as on a port tack, where he will be able to use on his fully working foil.
“I’m in a southerly breeze and the wind is strengthening and stabilising. It feels good to be downwind! The breeze should take on a south-westerly direction as it strengthens. I endured through a tack which lasted almost eight days on starboard: it was a tough period for my morale! Now we have VMG; it’s easier.
Surprises are non-stop! There has been regrouping on all levels since the start. It’s good, it makes for tight races, even if we were hoping for a slightly straightforward end to the round-the-world race. Now we’re going to do it in “Figaro stage” mode! It’s a tight race… Woa, sorry just had a near broach, it keeps happening because we still getting puffs of air and the sea is a bit short. We nosedived, but the boat has put itself back in place all by itself.
I’m not under spinnaker because it’s windy! There are twenty knots of average wind: I’m sailing under a main gennaker. And it’s coming back… No, it’s coming back! I’m in the cockpit to manage all that. That’s it!
I’m full of mixed feelings because I really want to make it to the finish but at the same time, I need some time to get back to those up front… And I want to make the most of my last days at sea. Having to sail on the starboard side was tough mentally, so I need to sail on the other side!
I’ve eaten rather well since the 8th November start, but these last few days have been quite terrible: I’ve only got freeze-dried food left! With a bit of fresh food… And as it won’t be a cool end to the Vendée Globe… We’re going to have some downwind breezes and gybes to do in the right place. I’m going to try to fight for a place on the podium but there’s a big match! It’s really very tight: everyone will be very close.
There is a lot a risk of being totally shattered, because we have just about sailed all the way round-the-world and are on our knees. At the same time, I’ve been able to sleep well since the doldrums. But the body has to keep up. I feel that I’m stiff, I’m not going as fast to set my sails, I am not going as fast as I did at the beginning… But my head is still in place and I’ve rested well these last few days.
We are going to arrive with a South-West wind, so we shouldn’t be cold. But the final stretch can be quite windy! The weather is good here and we haven’t seen rain for a while… We’re not going to pass far from the Azores: we’re going to be speeding by and I’ve still got 50% port tack and 50% starboard tack left so enough to keep busy and have fun with up to the end!