The fog has lifted and the race begins
8. Nov – des Sables d’Olonne, France
Shortly after 2.00 pm, about an hour after the scheduled start, Miranda said her final goodbyes to her trusted teammates and along with 5 other females and 27 male sailors headed into the distance on their independent voyages around the world. Clearly visible now as the fog lifted thanks to light winds out of the South South-East, the impressive vessels speed away from the sun-drenched city behind them. Many of the most technologically advanced ships exposed their foils and took an early lead while Miranda began with a steady pace as she optimistically starred at the horizon ahead. Anticipating the strengthening of the wind with nightfall, she trimmed her mainsail and crossed the first clearance buoy in 31st position.
Meteorological forecasts predicted the winds will take a turn to the North West, and require a crucial series of tacks before Miranda and her competitors strategically head southwards around Cape Finisterre and cross the shipping highway. In these conditions it is important to stay alert to avoid oncoming ships and fishing boats that cast their nets.
To stay on course Miranda will continuously rely upon her DELMA Oceanmaster along with high tech meteoritical and navigation equipment.
Into the Southern Hemisphere
26. Nov – S. 0°00.003′, W. 29°26.944′
Nearly 3 weeks at sea, shortly after midnight, Miranda left the Brazilian archipelago of São Pedro and São Paulo behind as she crossed over the equator, propelled by a strong squall, a not so subtle reminder that she and her vessel are at the mercy of nature. While this was a significant milestone for her as a participant in the Vendee Globe, it was her 9th time personally crossing the line, and at least the 9th occasion for the Campagne de France.
As distance continues to expand and contract between Miranda and her competitors, she enjoys the solitude and even the technical challenges of life at sea. A few days earlier she was at the mercy of the Doldrums, an intertropical convergence zone known to be shrouded by practically no wind, which required nearly two days to ride out. Managing her course with conservative maneuvers and cherishing the speedy passage of time with so much to consider, Miranda is grateful to be sleeping well and for her ability to take in nutrients despite the oppressive heat around the equator. She relished in a visit from a petrel who took refuge in her cockpit for some time before taking off for Africa or South America which surrounded them, however out of sight. Her focus now is on the sail angle as she forges on into colder days ahead…
Campagne de France image credit: Bertrand Duquenne