by Matthew Thomas
As the first rays of sunlight start to peak above the eastern horizon, out intrepid duo is now ahead of ‘Groupe Setin’ and about 200nm west of the Canary Islands. They’re still sailing in light air as they battle to get across the high pressure ridge.
People often think that the light air is a time for rest and recuperation, but it really isn’t. As JJ Provoyeur put it so well after his BOC Challenge. “It’s easy to sail in the Southern Ocean, it’s blowing and you’re sailing fast! It’s the Doldrums that’s the worst, you have to try and take advantage of every single puff!”
For the “Two Pips”, they’re doing exactly this, trying to use every single zephyr to help them wriggle out of the high pressure ridge and into the wind on the other side.
For the leading pack of Class40’s, who have already negotiated the ridge, it’s most definitely a time for recuperate. At time to eat well and catch up on sleep, so that they can continue pushing. The leading duo on ‘Le Consevateur’ have built their lead to over 240nm and at this point are streaking towards the doldrums.
‘Arkema’ currently lying 2nd in the Multi50 class has managed to gain back some miles on 1st placed ‘FenênetréA Prysmian’ and ‘Ciela Village’ has completed her pit stop and is back racing.
We’ve always been told that the multi’s are faster than a monohull, but that is clearly no true right now as the leading Multi50 is actually behind the leading “Group of Three” IMOCA boats, now lead by Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col on ‘PRB’ who overnight have managed to pull ahead and are now 25nm ahead of ‘Groupe Populaire VIII’.
Just off Recife and free of the doldrums, ‘Macif’ leads ‘Sodebo Ultim’ by 122nm and is slowly pulling away in the reaching conditions as her foils give her a clear advantage. With a little over 1,500nm to the finish and having made 566.5nm over the last 24 hours, it currently looks like they will be in Italjaï by the weekend, just in time for some well earned Caipirinhas!