The Doldrums outside the Doldrums – that’s the expression used by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s navigator Simon Fisher. The fleet is currently sailing in a 150nm wide area of very unstable and unpredictable light winds.
But while the five first boats parked up 155nm east of the Vanuatu Island, Team SCA has been making fantastic gains. From 0040 to 0340 UTC the Swedish team gained 20nm. They sailed to the west to avoid these light spots, going from being the most easterly to being the most westerly boat.
Still in fifth place after struggling in the east yesterday, Team Brunel has also made good progress and gained 3nm by 0340 UTC. They are now only 7nm behind Team Alvimedica.
“The teams that can cross this light patch quickly will have a good chance at consolidating their position as they reach the easterly trades and fast reach the rest of the way towards the top of New Zealand’, blogged Abu Dhabi’s Onboard Reporter Matt Knighton this morning.
This could be in fact the last chance for the fleet to use a weather system to their advantage before reaching Auckland at the end of the week. Once escaping this light area, the wind looks reasonably consistent until the finish line, so whoever escapes first will be in a nice position.
“Lumpy seas, cloudy skies, and rain signal the convergence zone we’re starting to enter,” added Matt. “The wind has died from 25 knots yesterday to only 10 knots this morning. Still we’re making good progress and hope that it won’t shut down completely.
“Very hot onboard – you’re sweating even when laying in your bunk with the fan turned on.”
Wind speed: 6-8 knots
Boat speed SOG (15 mins): 7-9 knots
Wind direction: 309º – 333º
Lowest boat speed: DFRT, ADOR (4 knots)
Highest boat speed: SCA (8 knots)
Lowest wind speed: DFRT, ALVI, TBRU (6 knots)
Highest wind speed: MAPF (8 knots)