17 November 2016 - 06:31 • 7920 views



While twelve skippers have now made it out of the Doldrums, the rest of the fleet is suffering in extremely variable winds with violent squalls and calms. Thomas Ruyant was the tenth skipper to cross the Equator, while Arnaud Boissières is stuck in the middle of this messy Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.

Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine): “I’m just arriving in the Southern Hemisphere, in time for my early morning coffee. I’m trying to divide my race up into stages. I got out of the Doldrums, but things didn’t really get moving that quickly afterwards. I wore myself out in the Doldrums, particularly on the last night. But since then, I have managed to get some rest. The trade winds are gradually appearing, which means ideal conditions for a nap. It’s pleasant sailing at night, while during the day it’s sweltering. I’ve got a little fan on my nav desk to get some movement in the air. We’re going to have to dive south, but it’s not looking easy to get to the Cape of Good Hope.”


Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline): “I’m still in the Doldrums. I was under gennaker and the wind just swung around and I found myself heading north. I had to furl the sail to get back in the right direction Now, I’ve got 25 knot headwinds as I sail southwards… I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a huge squall alongside me. So far they haven’t been that big, but this one looks powerful. I have another day of this to get through. In the Doldrums, it’s not even worth thinking about anything. Even with satellite imagery, you can’t plan ahead.”

Enda O Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager Team Ireland):It’s been a frustrating day of little or no wind.   At one stage, I did a complete 360ies. following the breeze around.  Indeed sometimes it’s harder to sail in light airs than a storm. I would like to be closer to the fleet and feel a bit left behind. Sure there have been some on board issues, but not enough to explain the gap. Here Albert Einstein is my mentor and a man I admire - so much so that I have not followed his rules. Einstein defined a ' criteria' for madness as repeating the same thing again and again - and then expecting something different.  By these criteria over the past week I qualify. It must be my West of Ireland sense of the contrary.  Namely if black is white - if for no other reason just to be different - to set out to prove that white is really black!! All the advisers and conventional wisdom said get west for better wind conditions - yet each time I went east – and am now at least a day behind where we should be!! To boot, for reading I actually have an Einstein book, brought on board for the voyage where this ' madness' is highlighted - a personality trait that often lands us in trouble.”