Transat Jacques Vabre sailors Giovanni Soldini and Vittorio Malingri have capsized 400m south-west of Dakar

Whilst navigating through the Doldrums in manageable but variable conditions, Italian team Giovanni Soldini and Vittorio Malingri capsized on the ORMA trimaran TIM Progetto Italia 400m south-west of Dakar (Senegal) at approximately 0715 GMT this morning. The boat was sailing at average speeds and Giovanni had switched to autopilot for the time it would take him to trim the sails.

But the electronics failed and the trimaran luffed too quickly for the skipper to take the helm and control the boat, which slowly lifted up and capsized. Both Giovanni and Vittorio Malingri were unharmed and have not set off their EPRIB distress beacon. Their shore team are currently working out a solution to get a tow out to the boat.

Conditions in the area were favourable as the sea was flat, and the wind wasn’t too strong even if it was quite variable. The team has a stock of food and fresh water for the time being and so will stay with the boat until the eventual towing vessel is on the scene.

Other brief news from 0900 GMT positions: Banque Populaire (Bidegorry / Lemonchois) has come back with a 40-mile lead over third placed Gitana 11 in the lottery of the Doldrums. Géant (Desjoyeaux / Destremau) is positioned 24m behind the leader and to their west with all to play for amongst these three trimarans for the final victory. There are now four ORMA trimarans still racing out of 10 starters.

In the IMOCA Open 60 Monohull fleet, the duel continues for the lead, as Virbac-Paprec (Dick / Peyron) have responded to the charge yesterday by Jourdain and MacArthur on Sill et Veolia and have regained a 5.4m advantage over Sill et Veolia nearer to the rhumb line between 27-28 N, as they navigate southwards in an easterly breeze through a fairly inactive Doldrums maintaining average boat speeds of 13 – 14 knots during the night.

The chasing pack, headed up by Bonduelle (Le Cam / De Pavant) in third have been able to close the gap to 90 miles, not enough to really threaten the leaders but there are still 1,450m left to run. The south-east Trades are very well established and so the fast passage to Brazil is just over the horizon.