On the edge of the doldrums, the fleet are experiencing rain clouds that can have a severe effect their local wind
After two days of relatively straightforward sailing for the Volvo Ocean Race crews, life on deck and below is starting to get interesting again.
On the edge of the doldrums, the fleet are experiencing rain clouds that can have a severe effect their local wind. “There are numerous wind shifts and changes in wind speed and it is very hard to make sure that we have the right sail up and are heading in the right direction at all times,” explained Steve Hayles from Tyco. “Sail changes take time and it is even more frustrating to pull off a difficult change only to find that you need to change back a few minutes later,” added Hayles.
Temperatures into the 30s, combined with the humidity, makes life pretty uncomfortable and as the fleet close in on the equator, the thermometers will continue to soar.
From a navigator’s perspective, the coming days could prove the most crucial of the leg so far as the first crew to break free of the Doldrums will escape into the south-east trade winds. “There are plenty of miles to be won and lost in such fluky conditions and we are all acutely aware that every mile won and lost at this stage could prove very important down the line,” commented Hayles.
Over the last six-hour period, illbruck, still the lead yacht, has lost seven miles to Assa Abloy although both are continuing to maintain healthy average speeds of 10-11 knots.
Team SEB continue to suffer as their local breeze has swung around the compass several times and dropped off to 3-4 knots.
Position Report Day 16, 0400 GMT