" I love the South. I love the raw power of the waves, the sometimes terrifying fury of the wind... I am already restless to return, homesick for a place I have not yet left."
These words are taken from a blog post I wrote at sea while approaching Cape Horn nearly three years ago. Even as the waves crashed around me and my breath condensed in the cold air around me, I dreamed of coming back.
Today I am a lot closer to that dream as the Vendee Globe announced the sailors that have been accepted for 2020 and I'm on the list!
Getting here has been a real team effort and I have been supported by the incredible team at Ethical Power. There's a lot more work to do to get to the startline next year but we've got a great team, a good boat and a year to go!
Another crazy leg on that epic Solitaire du Figaro. A few questions with Conrad who finished in 22nd place:
Overall are you happy with this leg?
Yes because it demonstrates that I'm progressing in this style of racing. I had my best start of the season, front row, full speed, every sailors' dream. Afterwards however I suffered as I have systematically in light wind downwind conditions which doesn't suit the sails that I have or my temperament! Coupled with a packet of weed on the keel that I took too long to find, by the end of the first night I was at the back. From there it got worst. I was out of sequence with the tides and caught in no wind.
However I didn't give up and controlled my emtions which allowed me to analyse the rest of the route and make the good decision when arriving at the tip of Normandy.
The final leg towards Roscoff, I was in the pack with the best sailors in the fleet and performed well to hold on to my ranking.
Conrad reports after the second leg of the Solitaire:
"The Solitaire URGO Le Figaro is a legendary race and I am starting to understand why. On that stage we passed the coastline of three countries and we had very light, delicate and tactical conditions and also very strong conditions, gusting 40 and sustained 30 knots, and really we had something for everyone.
In many ways I enjoyed sailing the boat a lot more on this second leg because we had such a variety of conditions, and it was really a big challenge, a puzzle to try and solve. So that how it was. The result is not so good and it is extremely disappointing for me. I had a decent first leg but I was penalized twice by adverse current, I had to fight the tide to get to the buoy at the end of Brittany and I then had to fight it to get back to the finish. As I was coming down I could see the boats zooming the other way and I knew it would be terrible for me.
For me I came here to sharpen my skills, in my career I missed a step. My whol...
My latest big scary challenge will start in a few days: la Solitaire du Figaro Urgo. This extremely competitive one-design solo class bills itself as the “birthplace of legends” (good to see they don’t take themselves too seriously!) as every winner in the modern era of the Vendée Globe has graduated from this class and current and former Figaro sailors dominate most other offshore classes. Out of the 47 boats participating, I'll be among the 12 rookies doing their first "Solitaire"!
The Figaro is a brutal series of short sprints in coastal waters where the ability to get a good start is essential, reading local effects takes precedence over big picture navigation and the boats are simple and bullet-proof and don't really reward mechanical knowledge on the part of the skipper. Basically, the toolbox that I have built up over the last 12 years and three races around world counts for little next to the Figaro specialists.
La Solitaire du Figaro will start in a few days and while...
The first race of the season, the Sardinha Cup has 3 stages: the Warm Up, a 24h race, followed by 2 four day long races separated by a few days.
The warm up took place today, 31st of March. In very light winds, our 2 Figaro rookies, learnt a lot in a very experienced fleet. They finished in 30th place, leaving plenty of room to improve in the coming races.
Conrad Colman - Skipper " For our first ever Figaro race, Seb and I knew we had a lot on as we had a new boat and a new fleet to tackle. In contrast to the long ocean races that we are used to, the Figaro is a short fleet race where boat on boat tactics come to the fore and wins and losses from navigational strategies hinge on metres, not miles.
We were not disappointed. We came to learn and got schooled in the process! We were a little conservative at the start, got stuck in traffic and were slow in the light conditions due to some mast settings we are still working on. However, we had periods where we were very f...
Quelques nouvelles du front alors que le "crazy kiwi" s'est embarqué pour de nouvelles aventures en Figaro. Pour ceux qui ne connaitraient pas, les Figaros sont des bateaux monotypes (ce sont tous les mêmes) de 10,85m équipés de foils.
Pour naviguer et continuer de progresser tout en continuant à chercher des sponsors pour le Vendée Globe 2020, Conrad a décidé de participer aux courses du circuit Figaro en 2019. Cette aventure est possible grâce à son sponsor Ethical Power, une société anglaise spécialisée dans le financement et développement de projets d'énergies renouvelables pour les entreprises.
Avec leur soutien, Conrad a loué le Figaro 3 n°40, et les dernières semaines ont été bien occupées à découvrir le bateau et le prendre en main en rade de Lorient. Les premières impressions sont bonnes même s'il reste beaucoup à apprendre et découvrir d'ici la 1ère course de la saison: la Sardinha Cup, du 26 mars au 13 avril au départ de Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie. Cette épreuve se c...
The first sailor to complete the Vendée Globe round the world race without reliance on fossil fuels.
Conrad Colman completed the legendary Vendée Globe, 2016-17 solo non-stop around the world yacht race after 110 days at sea.
He not only overcame countless challenges along the 45,000km race course, but he became the first person in the races history to complete the racing circumnavigation relying only on renewable energy sources (solar and hydro) to power his vital on-board systems.
Sailing the only boat in a fleet of 29 that was 100% powered by renewable energy, Conrad demonstrated that renewables are a mature solution for the race course, as for the powergrid.
He assembled both prototype and off the shelf elements to build an energy system that could function reliably in the most isolated places on the planet, even when pumelled by 100km per hour winds and pounding seas.
Having shown that renewables are a competitive advantage, his competitors are now adopting the same sol...
The sun beats down unrepentantly, only this time I’m not flapping listlessly in the doldrums but ripping across the dry landscape of Spain towards my next challenge. I have traded the intense isolation and daily struggles of the Vendee Globe for new challenges, mainly lots of presentations and interviews to make up for those 110 solo days at sea.
Since running down the pontoon with a flag in my hand I have run all over the world; frequent meetings in Paris and London and side adventures to Plymouth, Glasgow, Geneva and Auckland mean that I have accumulated more miles since the race than during it! It has been a great opportunity to share my story, meet the people that followed my journey around the globe and meet new ones who are keen to embark on the next adventure.
Speaking of new adventures, I am starting a new job this week where I will be working for the race organizers of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante. My job will be to decipher the ocean racing strategies of some of the best...
It's been only a week since Conrad stepped back on land. A week on a cloud, trying to understand all the miles traveled, all that has been achieved. The same questions arise " Are you waking up a lot at night? Are your legs adjusting to being on land?" and the answers don't change " No, I sleep well, don't wake up at night, and I've felt stable on the ground since I arrived". The Kiwi skipper had to dig deep into his ressources and now sleeps like a baby, finally relieved of all the stress he endured during the race and especially in the last weeks.
It is hard to come around all that has been accomplished in 110 days at sea, solo, fighting to finish this Vendée Globe. After the intense satisfaction of crossing the line despite losing the mast, there are still some regrets about this 10th place. It seemed so close and yet so far, 700 miles from home and a few days before the finish. But the race was memorable and the lap is complete. It was the objective at the start so one ne...