For the first time ever in the non-stop solo round the world Vendée Globe race's history, a competitor has gone through Bass Strait to avoid a storm in the Southern Ocean.
Frenchman Jean Pierre Dick (St Michel-Virbac) is the first Vendée Globe skipper ever to race through the Bass Strait. He was 45 nautical miles north of Devonport - half way across the north coast of Tasmania at 0400hrs TU this Wednesday. Dick was making 16kts and exited the Strait, and the shelter of Tasmania, at 0900hrs TU.
The French skipper has elected to sail a course over 400 miles north of the rhumb line, usual track, as he seeks to avoid a violent storm which is now passing to the south of him. A helicopter flew over Dick, a solo skipper who is lying in seventh place on his fourth successive Vendée Globe and has twice won the two handed Barcelona World Race around the world, in his first sight of other human life since he left Les Sables d'Olonne (France) on Sunday 6th November.
Quotes from the skipper:
“It's quite emotional going through the Bass Strait. It's very impressive with the wind getting up to 40 knots. I'm now going down towards New Zealand to get back into the Southern Ocean. You only get this sort of excitement in the Vendée Globe. I saw the coast of Tasmania and Clarke Island, which looked amazing. There are a lot of wind turbines, which proves that there is a lot of wind here. It's always strange getting back to civilisation, seeing earth and saying that we were in the Roaring Forties just a few days ago. Suddenly you are back in civilisation and it's a bit of a shock.”