Instability in the air
This Thursday, the situation is still complex for Giancarlo Pedote and the leading group in the Vendée Globe. The reasoning behind this is the very shifty conditions offshore of the Brazilian coast, between Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Indeed, the NE’ly trade wind is not well-established and a plethora of little squalls are causing the boats to stall. “It’s very complicated at the moment. It feels like I’m already in the doldrums”, laments the skipper of Prysmian Group who, at this stage of the race, would obviously prefer to be hurtling along with his foot to the floor in steady trade wind. “There are a huge number of clouds above my head as well as on the radar. The wind sometimes accelerates to 18-20 knots and then eases to 5 knots, whilst shifting up to 60° at the same time. As a result, I’m not sleeping well as I’m constantly trimming. At times, I wake up to a boat on the wrong tack, so to avoid that I’m hardly getting any rest because ultimately it’s never the right moment to get a little nap”, explains Giancarlo, who hopes to quickly rediscover a bit of calm so he can recharge his batteries as best he can. “When the wind isn’t fluctuating too much, I extend my sleep phases to 40-45 minutes, and up to as much as an hour sometimes. That said, I’m really not sleeping very well as we’re still sailing close-hauled and at this pace, I have to apply myself as my playmates without foils are managing to get a little more grip and are able to power up again earlier”, continues the Italian sailor. Right now, he’s gambling on a route further over to the east than the leaders. “I’m trying to hold onto more pressure than my playmates, even though it’s tough to make any forecasts at the moment. Added to that, I’m also on a direct course towards the access point I’ve set myself for entering the doldrums”, explains the skipper.