Kingfisher is currently wallowing in the doldrums, over a day behind Geronimo

 Although Kingfisher, Ellen MacArthur’s 110ft maxi cat, crossed the Equator in the early hours of the morning leaving her in a position just ahead of Orange at this stage of the challenge, she’s still wallowing in the doldrums, over a day behind Geronimo.

Reports from the boat this morning show an average boat speed of no more than 3 knots and looking at the weather charts, the chances of any thing more in the near future, look fairly slim.

Looking on the bright side, Kevin McMeel and Andrew Preece (first timers round the world) have been temporarily saved from the traditional Equatorial ceremonies. However, rumour has it, come daylight and a bit more wind, the boys are in for a double helping of punishment!

While the crew continue to concentrate on squeezing every inch of speed from their boat, Ellen is contemplating the next move. “Not only are we lacking wind for the moment but we have a very difficult decision to make for the South Atlantic situation. There are a possible two doorways which could be open – and there is no guaranteeing either. The most sure option is to follow the coast of Brazil in a northerly breeze before ‘hanging a left’ and heading over towards Cape Town. This will mean though we are forced to sail a thousand miles further than our rivals.

“The second option could be to cut through the South Atlantic in general and try to catch a front passing through the southern sector. But it’s a long shot – and every hour we spend here with less breeze means we are one step further away from that open door.

The air is warm, and at night quite pleasant – but the temperature saps energy away, anything physical and you are soaked. We must make the most of it though – in days rather than weeks the temperature will be falling and, once again, in an incredibly short space of time we shall be dreaming of even a little heat from the sun. It’s a trip of extremes – just 7 days ago we were freezing, sailing in a bitter northerly storm. Now we are at the boiling point of the earth.”