Re-start in the desperate Doldrums


MAPFRE skipper describes life in the Doldrums in one word – “desperation”. And you can see why when you check the tracker this morning.

At the 0700 UTC position update, all seven boats had closed to within 12 miles of each other.

Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic emerged in the strongest position, furthest west (closest to the finish) and with her bow slightly further north (closer to where the new wind is expected to fill in). But it could all change with one cloud. That’s how desperate a situation it is.

“Desperation is probably the only word to describe how we feel sailing through these doldrums,” Fernandez wrote yesterday.

“Anyway, things are going ok, I guess, sailing on speeds around 2 knots and happy when the heading is inside the 45 degrees from course. It is the same for all of us though so we are trying not to complain too much and try to move forward.

“One of these moments a gust will come, then another one and suddenly we are off, but we have to say, these doldrums are being seriously painful.”

That is unless you are David Witt and Scallywag. After trailing the fleet by big distances for most of the last week, Witt has closed right up over the past few position reports, to the point where he is just 12 miles off the leader.

All that said, he’ll need to close the gap a little bit more as the first boat out will get the new wind earlier and accelerate away.

“We have to find a passing lane between here and Hong Kong,” Witt said.

“If we can keep making gains over the next 250 miles or so of this light stuff, then we’re in with a shout of being right there,” said navigator Libby Greenhalgh.

“It’s the story of our life,” Witt said. “All or nothing!!” 

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