He gybes to the south
Vendee Globe, solo, non-stop, around-the-world-race sailor Jonny Malbon, who is undertaking his first single-handed race, is starting to learn how to get the best performance out of his new generation IMOCA 60. Whilst the first week was about survival, the second week has been about finding the best routing solution to chase down the leading pack, gybing south towards the infamous Doldrums, already wreaking havoc with the front runners.
Malbon commented from onboard Artemis Ocean Racing II, “It has been great onboard for most of the time. I am learning a lot about the boat, a lot of it the hard way – trial and error. That makes life exhausting as it involves sail changes, stacking, and manoeuvring. It has been great fun over the last couple of days picking some miles up on the others and gaining a position or two briefly, and that has really driven me on.”
“None of the weather models have borne any resemblance to reality. This makes planning anything very difficult, but worst of all it leaves the day wide open to worry and check and double check all the routing solutions. This is very time consuming and very unrewarding when you come away with no real answers, predictions or routes! Anyway I think I have cracked it; rather than barrel west to get in line behind the others I have gybed back to the south. We shall have to see if it pans out over the next few days.”
Currently lying in nineteenth position in the fleet, Malbon is now 348 miles behind the leader, as the front of the fleet compresses through the fickle and unpredictable conditions of The Doldrums, which lie just to the North of the Equator. Malbon will be hoping to take advantage of the impact of The Doldrums on the leaders, whilst equally hoping that Neptune gives him a swift passage through the Intertropical Convergence Zone to the Equator, so that he emerges into the Southern Atlantic in a strong position, from where he can continue to push his boat further and faster.
As Malbon concluded, “It’s going to hurt a little over the next few days as we get to the point where I want to enter the Doldrums. I’m prepared for that and understand that all the work I have done catching Dee and Steve, might suffer a bit. That’s life I guess. I can’t wait to get in to the same stretch of water with similar conditions and see what we can do.”