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Race 2 – Day 15

Invest Africa - Helen Jones

23 SEP 2013 - Race 2

The Doldrums! We'd been warned about the tedium of the ITCZ, and now we're experiencing it first hand. No wind, calm waters, zero progress. The day has however not been without some interesting and exciting moments.

At dawn we came within shouting distance of Team Garmin on CV27 as they were reluctant to give way to us as we scooted past them. All this ocean to play with and we end up waving to our friends on the competing boat … who'd 'ave thunk it! They've slowly been getting further and further away on the horizon as the hours pass by and both boats have languished in the still conditions.

The afternoon has been stifling and the boredom has been broken up by singalongs, the occasional fish swimming past and chats about classic movies … a few of which we've struggled to recall the names of … highly frustrating! And the evening's activities have begun with the amusement of watching Joao struggle to return to the stern of the boat after heroically (and ungracefully) diving off the back to retrieve someone's sock that was floating away. All in a day's work! Neeraj Pathak.

The tempo has changed. Slower, more gentle movements on the helm. We attempt to walk around the boat like a cat burglars on the low side. Any small jerks could disrupt the delicate balance of the half filled sails.

Even the passing dolphins are slower, more lethargic in their elegant rocking horse punctuation of the waves, only their fins visible above the water. No acrobatics today. They would be out of place in this tranquility.

There is a slight air of frustration amongst the crew. The sound of flogging sails is a distress call to sailors. No attempt to coax them back into life really seems to work. We try to sail towards small patches of ripples on the water, or solitary clouds sheltering small pockets of wind.

But they remain like a mirage, tantalisingly close, yet just out of our grasp. Sleep is also hard to find in the sweat-box down below. Several people have now traded their bunks, for sail bags in the rope locker. Where the hatch has been opened to allow a tiny breeze to creep into the boat.

But there is also a special magic about the Doldrums. The ocean is sleeping. It's glass like surface allows our white sails to reflect into the deep blue, in a kaleidoscopic star burst, down into the 6km depths below. Today's sunset was the most amazing golden fireball, turning a magnificent copper, before the standard pinks and purples.

But I must leave you now, Craig and Rich have just rigged up our new “air conditioning system” of fans in the accommodation... so it's time to find my jumper!

Helen Jones