Before the night, it was grey, grey, grey all day as we were in between then depressions. Then, as in the lyrics of Camelot – ‘for one brief shining moment’ – we had sunshine and the temperature shot up to 18 centigrade. I jumped at the chance to have a shower and shampoo in the cockpit, since it’s been 2 or 3 or 4 weeks since my last one somewhere off Brazil! I thought it would be interesting to see part of the process, so I made a little video of it.

Get seawater from our sink faucet (it’s too dangerous at these high speeds to try to get seawater from scooping a bucket over the side of the boat – it could catch and pull you right over the side). Fill our solar shower bag with fresh water and leave that in the sun to warm up. Then put your head in upside down in the seawater bucket, shampoo in the hair, and when all lathered up and ready for rinse, rinse in the seawater bucket, then rinse again with the fresh water from the hanging solar heated bag. Repeat for the rest of your shower!


We also participated in Vendee Live for the first time. We were able to get the connection and do the live video interview via satellite with the studio set up at the Vendée Globe headquarters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. I enjoyed that immensely, and one of the reasons was that they had as an Expert Guest Michel Desjoyeaux, the only two time winner of the Vendée Globe. Before my Vendée Globe 2008, in the winter, Michel had engaged in a long, technical, email exchange with me which helped me immensely. And it was internationalism at its best since I sent him my questions in French, and he answered in English. The great French sailors have nicknames, and his is Le Professeur, for both his wide knowledge and his willingness to share it. This was the perfect example. So in the Vendee Live, I got to speak to Le Professeur, whom I regard as Mon Professeur, and it was a great pleasure.

We sailed into the night with 2 reefs and the fractional gennaker, and when there was a surge in windspeed to 25-30 and a few gusts higher, I rolled up that sail and we went to the staysail, and with that amount of wind, we basically go as fast as with the gennaker which is 4x bigger. So we have the same speed for much, much less effort on the part of the boat and sails and mast and rigging.

Yet what happens often happened again, and once the gennaker was rolled up and staysail set, then the breeze dropped to 20, and we were slow. Sometimes, when there is such a surge of wind, it gets a bit scary, and I forget about the notion of Reverting to the Norm, which basically means that if you have a long term average, of anything, and then you have some different results for a while, still, over the long term, you will return to the average. So if I could have hung in there, and waited out the surge and the fear, when the wind then Reverted to the Norm of 20 knots, we would still have had the bigger sail up and would have covered more miles through the night.

For me, when the boat is tearing along at unheard of speeds, and I’m alone, and it’s dark, and we’re a thousand miles from land, it’s hard to push aside the fear. So we lost some mileage last night. But I did get a better sleep!

44° 22’S x 102° 43’E
104° True
15.1 knots
True Wind Speed
22.3 knots
True Wind Direction
2 reefs in mainsail, fractional gennaker
Air temperature
57°F / 13.8°C cabin cockpit
Sea Temperature
54.6F / 12.5°C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
637 2603 484 11,182 1560