Yo-yo in the trimaran fleet
The rankings in the Transat Jacques Vabre are changing all the time at the moment since the first trimarans entered into the Doldrums. The zone is by no means a highway to success – although the wind is very unstable, the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone is not as virulent as forecast. The Italian competitor capsized this morning due to a helming mistake.

At 6h15 today, Monday morning, TIM-Progetto Italia notified Race HQ based at TF1 in Paris that she had capsized. Giovanni Soldini and Vittorio Malingri did not activate their distress beacon as they are perfectly okay. Their shore crew is now trying to charter a boat to tow them to Africa. Located some 400 miles SW of Dakar, the trimaran has not sustained any damage and the crew can wait a few days for their team to arrive without there being any reason to worry. The sea is calm and warm and they have everything they need to survive without any immediate need for outside assistance.

Gitana X is continuing to hug the African coast, sailing down the coast of Mauritania and probably aiming to pass close to Dakar. As for the three boats approaching the Gulf of Guinea, the exit from the Doldrums is imminent. Speeds over the last few hours indicate that there is wind in the sector but that it is moderate and unsteady, but easterly. Banque Populaire has taken command of the controls by curving slowly her track to put a little east in her heading, thereby marking Géant who has preferred to distance herself a little further (20 miles) out to sea, whereas Gitana 11 really had no choice but to gybe last night to come back into the match and particularly to circumvent a new zone of calm beneath Guinea. 
It still looks as though exiting to windward when the SE trade winds start to blow (which should be happening around this afternoon) is the right option, but the duos have to make do with what is dished up. Winds shift all the time, but teams have just one idea in mind – steering a course as close as possible to Ascension Island. Not that easy when the wind is changing from 90° to due north and from 180° to south-east. All in a context where wind speeds change vary all the time from 5 to 20 knots. It is highly likely that the gaps on the Equator will not be that great and that the long beat to windward in the SE trade winds will split the leading threesome. They'll have to take care not to break everything they've got to sail down on one tack, a tack of nearly 900 miles!
All are seeking to gain in the SE to approach the southern hemisphere trade winds with the best wind angle possible. Although Frédéric Le Peutrec and Yann Guichard lost their leadership overnight to Banque Populaire, Gitana 11 should be well-positioned at slightly more than one hundred miles over to the east in relation to the leader. When racing, you always have to keep one step ahead and the tandem on the blue trimaran seems to have perfectly anticipated the change in the wind system ahead. 

Rankings at 10h00 on Monday:

1-Banque Populaire: 2360 miles to the finish
2-Géant: 24 miles from the leader
3-Gitana 11: 40 miles from the leader
4-Gitana X: 610 miles from the leader

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