Some sleep finally

Sea flattens as Thomas Coville and Sodebo prepare for the Doldrums

Thursday February 3rd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

Date Lat Long Spd Crs Spd Spd Dist DTF v IDEC
      Instant   4hr av 24 hours      
03/02/2011 11:00 09°53.48'N 027°11.44'W 28.9 185° 24.7 23.5 564.8 21 914 126.9
03/02/2011 09:00 10°47.49'N 027°08.82'W 24.1 185° 23.4 23.2 557.4 21 968 121.3
03/02/2011 06:45 11°43.43'N 027°08.81'W 25.2 187° 20.1 23.3 558.3 22 024 118.4
03/02/2011 05:00 12°21.70'N 027°05.84'W 19.4 175° 21 23.6 565.2 22 062 115.3
03/02/2011 03:00 13°07.84'N 027°06.07'W 22.8 184° 22.2 23.8 570.7 22 108 115
03/02/2011 01:00 13°37.38'N 026°54.92'W 23.9 194° 25.3 24.3 584 22 138 126.8
02/02/2011 23:00 14°25.51'N 026°43.00'W 26.7 192° 24.8 24 575.4 22 187 120.7
02/02/2011 21:00 15°17.62'N 026°35.26'W 27.4 190° 24.1 23.9 573.7 22 240 110.7
02/02/2011 19:00 16°05.98'N 026°24.60'W 20.6 194° 23.8 24 576.5 22 289 109.4
02/02/2011 17:00 16°52.12'N 026°16.45'W 23.4 191° 24 24.1 579.3 22 336 110.9
02/02/2011 15:00 17°38.26'N 026°01.15'W 23 203° 23.7 24.2 581.5 22 383 109.7
02/02/2011 13:00 18°23.92'N 025°46.75'W 23.7 194° 24.1 24.4 585.6 22 430 110.6
02/02/2011 11:00 19°10.55'N 025°35.09'W 21.5 194° 24.6 24.4 585.5 22 478 106.7

Thomas Coville and Sodebo continue to scorch their way south down the North Atlantic this morning crossing 10°N and having extended once again marginally over pacesetter Francis Joyon and IDEC on their bid to break the singlehanded non-stop round the world record. At the latest sched Sodebo was 127 miles ahead of her virtual competition and increasing.

Next stop is obviously the Doldrums and given Sodebo's due south course, it could be that Coville has picked his spot to make the crossing already - at around 27°30W, pretty much exactly where Joyon was. At present the satellite wind radar images indicate that the Doldrums area is centred over the Equator and Sodebo should encounter them at around 2°N.

Make or break is likely to be the South Atlantic, as competitors in the Barcelona World Race and Banque Populaire on the race track ahead of her have found over the last month. On this part of the course Joyon was extremely fortunate and was able to 'cut the corner' of the St Helena high, making the turn towards South Africa at around the latitude of Rio. Looking ahead at the weather next week, Coville doesn't appear to have the same good fortune, but equally the weather for the South Atlantic is looking a whole lot more promising than it was for Banque Populaire and the Barcelona World Race. Next week the high will be in the southeast quadrant of the South Atlantic and Coville has until Wednesday to make it into the Roaring Forties before the door closes and the high unites with another area of high pressure in the southwest South Atlantic - more the Barcelona World Race scenario.

“Even our course is satisfactory and the result positive, the descent [down the North Atlantic] has been strenuous,” says Coville. “The swell sends the boat right and left and in these conditions it is not easy for the autopilots. You have to pay attention to go quickly and at the same time be super safe.”

Last night Coville noticed the boat make a change of course and found the genniker up against the mainsail in 20 knots of wind. The end of the roller furler had come away. Sodebo is back in shape again now and she is sailing in a flatter sea now she is approaching the Doldrums. After two days more or less without sleep, this has finally allowed Coville to turn in.

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