Brian Thompson and crew need max concentration to get through the doldrums as quickly as possible and into the SE tradewinds
Update received from British yachtsman Brian Thompson (48) onboard Maxi Trimiran Banque Populaire V during their Jules Verne Trophy Record attempt:
06:00, 27 January 2011 – 0520N 2956W
Now 320 miles from the equator, and just getting into the start of the doldrums, known as le pot au noir, on Banque Populaire.
Its still dark here, and the on-watch crew of four are driving, holding the gennaker, traveller and mainsheet. That’s everyone with a job. The other four of us on standby are watching the radar for squalls, grinding the sails back in when they have been eased, and ready to furl the medium gennaker in a strong squall.
We also have the full main and staysail up, and in the 15 knots of wind we are doing 25 knots. Seas are flat and it’s a smooth ride on board. Skipper Pascal Bidegorry is up and down between Juan Vila at the nav station and the deckteam, getting us through the squalls with the help of satellite pictures, radar and good old fashioned eyes.
So that is 10 people ready to trim the sails at a moments notice. The other four are off watch and sleeping, generally only called upon for an emergency or a major sail change such as peeling between our three gennakers.
So today will be a busy day, and hoping to get through the doldrums and into the SE tradewinds that lie to the south of us. Maximum concentration to get through as quickly as possible and not to be caught out in a sudden gust.
So that is today on BPV, hot and humid, with alertness level 5.