Theta behind, the trade wind ahead
This Saturday, following a bracing night, the first half of the Vendée Globe fleet – which includes Giancarlo Pedote – is continuing to make headway southwards and is gradually leaving behind it the tropical low pressure system Theta, which has generated winds in excess of 65 knots to the south of the Azores. The sailors have had to round the western limit of the weather system in a bid to avoid the worst of the conditions in terms of breeze as well as sea state. “We’ve just passed the storm. The passage aboard Prysmian Group has gone pretty well. I’ve been navigating by relying on the barometer, which has given me a fairly precise idea of my position in relation to the centre of the depression. I carved out a gull wing-shaped wake within the system, then I got a little closer to hook onto more pressure. Right now, we’re gradually hooking back up with a northerly breeze, the Azores High in the process of reforming”, explained the Italian skipper this morning during a discussion with his team. Indeed, though a Vendée Globe is synonymous with nearly three months of solitude, it also involves various communications with land, made possible by the magic of satellite links. There are compulsory links with Race Management and the communication department, those with the sailor’s shore teams and media teams… and of course their nearest and dearest who listen to them and reassure them throughout the round the world race. “Like a number of my fellow competitors, I use WhatsApp with a special number”, explained Giancarlo, who has one main email aboard and two different means of satellite telephone communication, namely Inmarsat C (also known as a Standard C) and Iridium, together with the compulsory mobile Iridium stowed away in the survival container, so that he can still communicate in the event of a serious incident. It is via these telephones or the Fleets that the sailor, like his fellow competitors, communicates with land. “I regularly get in touch with my wife, Stefania, then my children and my shore team. I don’t have any other contacts as I don’t have much time to chat. Perhaps it will be easier once conditions are milder”, concludes Giancarlo Pedote, who right now is eager to hook up with the famous trade wind.