Illbruck is the first of the VOR fleet to enter the doldrums
As the first to enter the doldrums this morning, Illbruck is odds on favourite to be the first to leave and pull away in the fresh south-east Trade Winds.
Sporadic squalls and the flurry of associated sail changes gave immediate indication that Inter Tropical Convergence Zone had finally been reached and according to the crew aboard Illbruck they didn’t need the navigators to tell them they’d finally made it.
‘They announced themselves,’ said crewman Jamie Gale ‘with a decent downpour and squall which set off a frenzy of peeling (changing) from one sail to another which continued all day.”
With anything from a few hours to a few days the doldrum period is a tough one for the crews who have to live and work in intense humidity, heavy downpours and squall after squall.
Over the last few hours, Illbruck’s lead over Assa Abloy and Team News Corp has again been cut to 11 miles as they fight the shifty winds. This can be as dramatic as a full lap of the compass and an extra 20 knots of breeze. “Typically the breeze between the clouds has been about 13-14 knots, but that can build to as much as 30-35 knots in as long as it takes to yell “get it off”. If you guess right then you make a big gain, but if you get it wrong then suddenly you are sailing at right-angles to course at 20-something knots,” added Gale.
Position Report Leg One Day 16, 1000 GMT