After the Canaries and the Cape Verde Islands, the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran is preparing to enter the Doldrums. The effects of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which did so much damage to Joyon and his men in November will be felt in around twelve hours. Joyon, Surtel, Gahinet, Stamm, Audigane and Pella have not been hanging around since they left Ushant four days ago. Off the Cape Verde Islands they have just had a magnificent day sailing 725 miles averaging more than thirty knots in 24 hours. This morning, the Equator is only 660 miles ahead of their bows. The trade wind is blowing at between 20 and 25 knots and is set to continue for most of the day allowing the red and white trimaran to keep up this pace.
There is then the uncertainty associated with the Doldrums. In November this area dealt a blow to IDEC SPORT on her recent attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy. It expanded in front of Joyon and his men, dashing any hopes they had of getting to the Equator with a decent time and more importantly of making it to the South Atlantic lows. A little luck would be helpful in this area, where they have to deal with calms and sudden wind shifts. They currently have a lead of around a hundred miles over their virtual rival, the title-holder, Banque Populaire V, as they prepare to enter the Doldrums.