Roxy Gets a Fright

Most of the boats in the The Vendee singlehanded around the world race are blasting across the "Roaring 40's" (referring to the southern latitudes). Some are now bouncing into the "Frightening 50's", made so by the danger of icebergs and constant gale force winds.

The ever-positive and charming Samantha Davies on Roxy saw her first ice monster yesterday and was half inspired and half scared out of her wits:

Yesterday I saw my first iceberg! It is a sight that tears your emotions in two - half of you is in awe of such an amazing sight, with such intense blues and whites, this peaceful bit of nature floating in the middle of nowhere - whereas the other half is terrified!

Can't blame her for that. The first time I saw one of those widowmakers (in the Atlantic north of Nova Scotia) I remember being literally "weak kneed" with fear. The one thing solo sailors depend on is knowing their charts will warn them of danger. Icebergs are like floating, uncharted islands. Particularly at night, the thought of slamming into an iceberg is enough to keep the most level-headed sailor on edge.

Anyway, the Vendee is in its most critical period, where equipment failures and less than skillful sailing separates the men from the boys & girls. The leaders are starting to pull away, as they always do in the southern ocean. The risk takers are sailing south toward the ice but on the shorter, faster route. And the folks without good equipment (or good luck) are hobbling along to Freemantle under a variety of jury rigs, their dreams of victories dashed.

As usual, the French are one, two, and three.