Stamm crosses the Equator, and Emma has another odd encounter in the middle of the ocean

Today, Bernard Stamm crossed the Equator and began to pick up the winds again. With luck he is shaking off the grip of the Doldrums. Behind him, Emma Richards has moved up to 2nd and is positioned further west than Thierry Dubois, over whom she has stretched her lead. After a tough few days, this filip is contributing to the ‘feelgood fodder’, she says in her report, below.

Even further to the west, Graham Dalton is going wide in the hope of punching through the Doldrums without halting. He said yesterday that he as ‘feeling very confident’ about this tactical decision. Emma is not so convinced, but he has been closing on distance to go. Time will tell.

There are no big surprises in Class 2. Brad Van Liew is leading despite suffering greatly from the flu since leaving La Coruña. He had some fast reaching in the trades and is now slowing a little as he passes the Canary Islands. Behind him, Kojiro Shiraishi and Derek Hatfield are engaged in a very close tussle, as the two 40s outdo the larger 50s.

Back to Emma, though. Yesterday she had another funny encounter at sea. This is her report today:

‘Its funny: yesterday I saw some teltale tradewind clouds, little fluffy cumulus, all lined up. I was sure the wind would just slowly increase and come round as my weather info tells me! Wrong. I just missed it and it has changed on my doorstep and I have a horrible feeling both sides are looking better and they’ll leave me for dead.

‘I am patiently waiting (well, kind of) the updated grib files. As my Sat B has not worked since the big storm I have been relying on only one source of weather info which is not ideal by a long way, but my only option. Of course the position reports are great ‘feel good fodder’ but those few miles mean so little until we are out of this light stuff! This is not exactly a safe 2nd place, but I relish it while I have it and push harder to keep it!

‘Yesterday was pretty good, though. I had fairly steady winds, and a tug passed in front of me and piped up on the radio. I had a great chat – nice to have human contact like that. He said how lucky that he hadn’t motored thru one calm patch. It must have been the easiest crossing yet. He came from the west not the north!!!

‘And the funny thing was he asked if we wanted anything. Were we short of supplies or anything? Unfortunately, I had to decline (although I KNOW he would have had a fridge and freezer onboard and a cold drink would go down a treat in this sauna). I explained that we were racing and it was not within the rules.

‘Where are you heading? Cape Town, then onto NZ, Brazil and back to Newport. Wow, at least you’re not doing that crazy s**t like those singlehanded guys. I would never go down south like that. Madmen!

‘Err well, its like this.. I said, and explained the race. It amused me, anyway. It turns out they are from Cape Town and go there after they have delivered this tug to Monrovia from the Bahamas!

‘Better go handsteer again, the wind has died again with dawn.

Em xx’