This is called not counting your chickens before they're hatched! Plain and simple. And yet yesterday morning at daybreak, after a night devoid of squalls, we really thought we'd got away. Ahead of our bows the horizon is furnished with cumulus, a real tradewind sky as they say. The E'ly wind is still light, 6 to 9 knots, but we're calmly waiting for it to back to the NE, with a slight increase in strength thrown in. But here we have it, as the sun is gradually rising in the sky, the wind is dropping off… Deprived of a fan, we're really frying on deck, the slightest area of shade worth its weight in gold. A temporary canopy has been rigged up to protect the helmsman a little bit. Meantime the wind still hasn't kicked in and this blue water at 29°C are cruelly mocking us. However, despite this little air, we are still managing to make headway at 5 knots and it's out of the question to brake Gitana 13's progress and take an impromptu dip!
Under this blazing heat the day goes on, the hours tick by, the crew moving around according to the shade. Meantime, the Doldrums are sneakily moving up to the East of us, this time gripping us tightly in its clutches. Just before sunset, that is around 0100 UT this Friday morning, we were well and truly surrounded by the heavy black clouds, which are so characteristic of this zone of convergence. At 0200, we were subject to our first torrential rain, the very first since we left New York. The wind keeps changing its mind, one minute it serves up W'ly, the next E'ly. Whilst the solent comes and goes between port and starboard, sometimes inflated by 15 knots of wind, but more often, sadly, by a lot less. At the time of writing, that is 0315 UT, I can hear the rain beating down on deck. The repeater beside my screen is indicating pitiful numbers: 1.1 knots of boat speed, 2 knots. We're not out of the woods yet then, far from it. Today, with less than 150 miles, has suddenly been the slowest of all then and we can but hope that this haemorrhage is about to be stemmed.