News : Vendée Globe: Isabelle Joschke is looking for country – sport
The message from the sailor Isabelle Joschke now reads like an unfortunate prophecy: “Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to bring the whole boat back. In waves like these I don’t know how to protect it. It’s brutal”, she wrote. A few hours later on Saturday evening it was clear: she couldn’t.
With 5,000 nautical miles to go, the Franco-German had to give up her circumnavigation after serious damage to the keel. For a long time, the 43-year-old had been in the top ten as the fastest woman at the Vendée Globe, and she even seemed to have the potential to keep up with the top – although her boat was often in need of repair. She was always out tinkering and mending, she said she had felt like MacGyver in between.
But on Saturday the problems got too big. First the hydraulic cylinder with which she could push the pivoting keel against the wind broke, then the replacement also failed. “The Vendée Globe was cruel to me,” said the native of Munich in a video message.
Just get out of the race? That will not do
The exhilaration that inspired Joschke when she circumnavigated the notorious Cape Horn is gone. It was “magical”, “it went from hell to heaven within hours”. The roaring winds, the cold and lack of sleep had afflicted her. “The days after that were like a relief,” she said. Until a new hell opened up.
Because the hardships and dangers are not over with giving up the race, in the vastness of the ocean the sailors cannot simply get out. Usually then the difficulties begin, also for Joschke. Cross winds are dangerous for her boat, she has to somehow reach land, carried by tail winds. Together with her team back home, she tries to find a safe way. But first of all, your course will lead you out into the South Atlantic – away from the land masses of South America.
Meanwhile, the regatta around the world seems to be developing into a tough battle for positions. The Frenchman Yannick Bestaven lost his lead of 400 nautical miles in a slack off the coast of Brazil, at the level of Rio de Janeiro the first six boats were separated by only a few nautical miles, a tiny amount after more than 66 days at sea.
Now the sailors watch each other on their way back to the French Atlantic coast. “We sail like a pack,” said Boris Herrmann. The German has no bad cards for the remaining distance of around 8,000 kilometers: his new foils, which can carry his boat across the water in favorable conditions, are still intact, while his competitors drag damaged or sawed-off wings with them – or not at all over them modern grand piano. It is said that anyone who arrives at the Vendée Globe is a winner. Some now sense the chance to win.