Leaders Arrive at the Doldrums

The skippers of the 54 boats in the Mini-Transat Race are approaching the Doldrums in a variety of ways, they’re spread out over a wide area and each has their opinion of the best method of crossing what the French call "Le Pont de Noire, the "Bridge over Blackness." They are now 400 miles from leader to laggard and spread 230 miles laterally across the fleet.

British skipper Brian Thompson, in the radically designed and appropriately named I Must be Mad, has lead for the last four days and is currently 28 miles ahead of the Leg 1 winner, Yannick Bestaven in with Ronan Guerin in L’Artisanat third four miles in arrears. But Thompson has opted for a Doldrums crossing further to the west than the rest, banking on the patches of calms and squalls being narrower there.

The Brits are having a particularly good leg so far on this 2,900 miles to Bahia in Brazil with Simon Curwen in fourth place with QDS and Samantha Davies in Aberdeen Asset Management being the top female skipper, at ninth, but the whole of this leg can change at an instant when they face the brick wall of the Doldrums.