“A big curtain of a squall!”
At the end of last night, the entry into the doldrums was brutal for the six sailors on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Morgan Lagravière, who was on watch during this express transition between the trade wind and the convergence zone, described the scene: “It came just as day broke and the half-light gradually became brighter. We began to see the first squalls appearing on the radar. We were only mildly suspicious but then the moment we fell under the influence of the squall, the wind picked up and we got nailed by a serious header and, fairly swiftly, we had to rush to the sheets to prevent the boat from heeling over too far! It rapidly became a case of action stations! We had to roll in the headsail, the large jib, so we could switch to a sail better suited to sailing close-hauled. It all happened in the blink of an eye. We didn’t have the time to ask any questions and a few minutes later we all had a good shower, making the most of the end of the squall!”
An exit this evening or overnight
Since this squall rolled through, the wind has vanished from the zone in question. And this is the case for miles around. As a result, the team aboard the blue flying maxi-trimaran have no other option than to just grin and bear it and try to exploit the slightest puff of air in the sails to free themselves from the clutches of the doldrums.
“We have very calm weather, clear skies and small cumulus, reminiscent of summer, not the colours synonymous with a classic doldrums. So for now, there are no black squalls and none of the usual wind. We still have 60/70 miles to go in the light airs before we discover the winds of the southern hemisphere so there’s still a very long way to go. We’d like to hook onto the wind that’s ahead of us, as the more miles we tick off now, the more they will multiply later, creating a concertina effect. Right now, we’re in the middle and it’s very, very calm weather. We’ll get all the possible sail area aloft to extricate ourselves”, admitted Franck Cammas this afternoon.
This 14 January won’t be one to remember with any fondness on this attempt, but aboard the boat, the six members of the crew know how to get things back in perspective and cast their minds forward to the next stage of the programme in the South Atlantic, which is still shaping up to be very interesting. Today, they have had to endure a great deal, but if we look in more detail at the route carved out by Idec Sport, the current holder of the trophy, it is tomorrow that their virtual adversary begins to stall…
Jules Verne Trophy Info
Position of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild on 14 January at 16:45 UTC:
Deficit in relation to the record: 12.9 nm
Speed: 2.6 knots
Numbers to note:
Passage across the line: 10 January 2021 at 01h 33' 46'' UTC
Deadline for beating the record: 20 February at 01h 3' and 15''
Crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild:
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
David Boileau, trimmer bowman
Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
Yann Riou, trimmer media man
Marcel van Triest, weather router
Yann Eliès, replacement crew
Record to beat: 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.