Thomas Coville is back in typical weather patterns and making headway
Thomas Coville, the French solo skipper who is attempting to sail around the world in record time, has made it back to a steady Easterly wind (around 15 knots) this morning after a stormy Sunday. The Sodeb’O skipper is now continuing due south at a fair pace to make up the deficit.
It would seem that the Doldrums have kicked in today and it’s shaping up fairly well: “The Doldrums are finally very far north, well before the equator and fairly narrow. Thomas could hit the tradewinds of the southern hemisphere quickly without being slowed too much,” explained team member Thierry Briend. He added “Sodeb’O is back in a classic weather situation for this region and should make the equator tomorrow as planned. For the time being they’re making headway with the wind on the beam and should then have to sail close-hauled as they approach the Saint Helena High.”
Thomas writes from onboard: “The wind has kicked in again but we’re sailing against the SE’ly swell and it’s really not comfortable! Yesterday I was fighting like a wildcat, it was exhausting – constantly battling through squalls with the wind doing exactly what it wanted. It was really full on at times and it was hard to know if I should dump all the sail or chance everything and go head down into it without knowing what was behind the black curtain!”
“It rained the whole day. It was incredibly wet and the feeling of being in the middle of an abnormal natural phenomenon gets you by the heart strings and doesn’t want to let you go. You no longer know which is the way out and it just goes on and on. At the back of your mind you suffer the frustration of the time ticking by…Time slips away and everything that you’ve built up beforehand disappears?I didn’t ease off the pace one iota though.”
“I took each cloud as if it was the first and by last night I was done in. It was pitch black and moonless, and the shadowy light of each squall came towards me like a ghost. The mainsail halyard was poised to drop. I had nearly 600 m² of sail above me to deal with if it all went pear-shaped. A real game of calling its bluff!”
“As the day broke this morning, I looked behind me and saw an enormous mass of cloud forming, which went right up into the sky. I was on the other side, I’d passed it. Or rather, it had let me past! It took up a lot of energy and time I know, but deep within me I felt quietly happy to have negotiated and got through something difficult. I’m here for that and nothing else this morning. See you soon, Tom.”