Less than 500 miles from the equator
Today, positioned in 7th place in the Vendée Globe, Giancarlo Pedote is enjoying some great sailing conditions as he makes headway less than 100 miles offshore of Recife (Brazil). “We have some rather smooth seas with a very gentle 1.5-metre swell. The boat isn’t slamming, just flying along perfectly. There is around 15 knots of breeze with small gusts at 17-20, then small lighter patches at 12-13. The more northing we make, the more it will veer, but for now it is established at between 110° and 120°, which is enabling me to target the entrance to the doldrums”, explained the skipper of the 60-foot IMOCA in the colours of Prysmian Group and Electriciens sans Frontières this Saturday. Like his rivals, the Florentine, who is now less than 500 miles from the equator, has decided on a waypoint which he deems to be the best possible route into this intertropical convergence zone. However, it’s a passage point that is likely to change according to how this infamous ITCZ develops. “The doldrums can change very quickly, in just 24 or 48 hours. For now, according to the images we have, it doesn’t look too nasty, but in this zone where forecasts are never very accurate, you have to take them with a pinch of salt”, pointed out Giancarlo, who isn’t the type to count his chickens before they’re hatched. “Fingers crossed we’ll slip through as best we can and then quickly hook onto the NE’ly trade wind. The latter seems to be nicely settled into position and actually looks rather solid between the 6th and 8th parallel north, but nothing is ever set in stone. In the doldrums, it’s always a bit of a lottery and at sea, nothing ever goes the way you expect”, indicated the Italian sailor, who is pulling out all the stops to get his steed making headway so he can get closer to home as quickly as possible. “When I dream, it’s always of my family. It’s beginning to feel like I’ve been at sea a long time and I have small children. I don’t want to miss out on too many stages. My wife tells me that their milk teeth are beginning to move and I’m eager to see that with my own eyes”, concluded Giancarlo Pedote.