Eric Bellion in ninth place on CommeUnSeulHomme has good conditions, making 11kts of speed in 15kts of S'ly wind which will build a little to 20kts or maybe just a little more. He is making solid speeds downwind, about 450 miles SW of the Azores.
Conrad Colman has lighter winds and consequenrtly is a little slower than Bellion. The skipper of Foresight Natural Energy is negotiating the Azores Hight and is close to the middle of the system so should see winds increase again later in the day.
Arnaud Boissières and Fabrice Amedeo are climbing north in the NE'ly trades, 140 miles between La Mi Caline of Boissières and Newrest-Matmut at the latitude of the Azores. It is pretty tough going for the duo here, 20-25kts trades with choppy swell making it wet and unpleasant, pounding upwind.
Alan Roura (La Fabrique) is also in the NE'ly trade winds but has a little less breeze but is making 12kts.
Rich Wilson (Great American IV) should get across the Equator later this evening. He was still making eight to 9.5kts in lighter SE'ly winds.
Thirty five miles of lateral separation with the Spanish skipper 23 miles ahead, the battle between Didac Costa and Romain Attanasio does not let up as they pass Recife on the NE corner of Brazil.
Pieter Heerema (No Way Back) has a light E'ly breeze and just touching double digit boat speeds as he negotiates the lighter airs off Rio.
And Sébastien Destremau also still has light winds heading NE off the Argentine coast.
From Rich Wilson's Log
We made good progress into last night. It is 92°F (33.3°C) in the cabin so I had a salt water shower and then freshwater rinse in the cockpit after sunset. It was hugely refreshing.
I have been looking at some of the data that is available now to mariners in anticipation of crossing the Equator and getting through the Doldrums, or the ‘Pot au Noir’ as the French call it. There are satellite photographs spanning the globe taken at different wavelengths to show different things. There is Advanced Scatterometry, which is a real-time satellite based radar to give wind direction and strength. There are the standard hand drawn maps by the expert meteorologists at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Our barograph can help place us relative to the GRIB files that we have been using for our routing.
Fortunately, we have adequate speed access to the Internet to get these with our Fleet Broadband 250 and Iridium OpenPort. The satellite photos are updated every hour, the ASCAT is per 24 hours. When I studied with Jean-Yves Bernot we looked at all of these tools and how best to use them in combination at the Equator. Clearly the latest photographs will help, and an indication of the ASCAT, even though its not hourly as the photos are, may help confirm or not the GRIB files.
Last night I also took my first stab at a haircut. Essentially, go to the stern, and start snipping away trying to make it all the same length, that’s a good start. It feels much better to have it a bit shorter in this heat also. We’ll see after I do round 2 in the next few days how it looks. Of course being alone on the boat, that doesn’t really matter to me!
We have some new birds with us today, I think they are terns, that fly about 50′ above the water, looking for prey, and then will dive dramatically into the water for lunch or dinner when its spotted.