Thomas Coville is seven hours behind Joyon's time as he enters the Southern Hemisphere

At 14:22 GMT yesterday, Thomas made the switch into the southern hemisphere. It has taken the solo sailor just over seven days to make the North Atlantic descent, at an average speed of 16.3 knots.

Last year, during the same period, Francis Joyon took a few hours less – six days and 17 hours, benefiting from conditions believed exceptional by specialists who scan the world’s seas on a permanent basis.

Thomas really had to battle for the last 48 hours with the Doldrums very high north and paradoxically not very active. This seems due to an enormous cloud mass to the south of the Cape Verde islands. This zone of cloud has upset the generally well-established north-easterly tradewind, thus hampering the descent of Sodeb’O from Brest.

“Yesterday I was fighting like a wildcat, it was exhausting! Constantly battling through squalls with the wind doing exactly what it wanted.”

Doubtless a 2,500 – 3,000 mile run now lies in store with headwinds and a relatively steep chop. Unfortunately Thomas will just have to make do with it before heading into the Indian Ocean. For the time being, the wind seems stable across the whole of the South Atlantic, with Sodeb’O likely to need around nine days to make the upwind descent with slightly eased sheets before making the turn.