The doldrums (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) have been a challenging pot of darkness for sailors throughout centuries. Getting stuck there has been really dangerous. Here’s how it’s been onboard Ariel2 in Transat Jacques Vabre.


Its been 2 weeks since the race started and we are looking to finally escape the Doldrums. We got as close to 28miles from Pip and 35 miles from Alexis last night but the bungee cord between us finally snapped in the early hrs of this morning with Pip and then Alexia being realesed from the wet windless torture that i hope they had to suffer last night too. Good wriggling girls!

As for last night for us it was one of my worst night sailing experiences ever. Biscay is wee buns compared to last nights action. Heavy and I mean heavy rain was almost a constant with little boat speed meaning that one of us had to drive from outside. Sounds fine right? Wrong! Between the rain you are changing sails sweating then comes the rain and a cool down draft from above too, so one minute too hot and the next too cold.

Then comes footwear. You run up bare foot to help furl a big sail. Your feet then never dry because the next time you run up in shoes then they are soaked. Sounds like I’m moaning and I am. Again I just think that I’m lucky to experience these Doldrums that you hear about and now I have my own stories to tell. Hopefully as I write you are gone but not forgotten! Wind has just gone to ESE and we are moving.

Dee Caffari used to skipper this boat when she was called Aviva and Haribo was a massive feature on board. Its been the go too bag for the Doldrums for me too. Thread bare mainsails seem another feature this boat loves too!🤣

As for other things that happened yesterday we had about 50 smallish Dolphins doing some of the best jumping I ‘ve ever seen and then early afternoon I got to witness one of the rare things you get to see out here. A whale did a massive breach about half a mile to windward . There must have been about 5 around the suface and I got Ari up to prove I wasn’t seeing things. 

Next up should be the Equator at some point tomorrow. Its nice to be closing in on having 3 digits to the finish instead of 4 too. Life at an angle begins again now for next couple of days. At least this means no sign of the 3 lemons on the B&G’s!

 I also now know the best way to descibe our mainsail and In the race village some boats had mesh branded mainsails up daily. If any one is looking one we may have one free of charge in about 5 days time!
Hope everyones had a good weekend and Congrats to the boys on Apivia who finished 🥇in the early hrs. Great work fellas!

Ps.   Its so hot on these boats around here can IMOCA make it a rule that every boat has aircon?😂🥵🥵

In a sauna


🇫🇮Sadepilvet suojas hyvin auringolta mut nyt kun ne väistyi on aika paahtavaa🥵Varsinkaan kun tuulta on vain 7kt mut onneks liikutaan ja hyvään suuntaan. Kaksi valasta bongattu, toinen oli komeasti hypännyt, Mikey kerkis näkeen😲Sadekuuroja osunu kohdalle, ei onneks pahoi puuskia👍

🇮🇪Rain clouds were protecting us from the sun but they’re gone now and it’s HOT. Only 7kts of wind. Thankfully taking us to the right direction. Spotted two whales. Mikey saw a one big jump. Rain showers but luckily no bad gusts.

Mikey expains the strategy


🇫🇮Ensimmainen yo doldrumeilla alkaa olla takana, yksi kunnon ukkospuuska, salamointia ja tuulensuunnan seka nopeuden vaihtelua, mutta reipasta etenemista oikeaan suuntaan.
Kuutamo oli hieno ja toivottavasti sita ei taman purjehdusreissun jalkeen tarvitse ikina ihailla isopurjeen lapi.

🇮🇪 First nigt in doldrums soon behind. Once thunder and lightning with rapid wind changes. But heading the right direction ok speed. Moonlight was awsome. Hopefully we do not ever again after this race have to watch that through the main.

Last night was a hold my hands up moment and say that was a bad call. The wind was more aft than it should have been and I gently perswaded Ari that we needed to change gears. So the A5 got furled, we went head to wind and went ‘Full main’ which we hoisted with no further damage! Then we set about the A3. Again limits were set and less than 1 hr later the wind goes forward 40 degrees and is over 20kts. So it gets furled and we start fast reaching with the J2. Perfect…..for about 1hr! Wind then goes back onto forecast direction and strength but we didnt do the A3 to A5 change back. Result was we lost the miles we gained yesterday!  So at first light we have changed back to A5 and this will be our set up for the doldrums I think. We can tight reach in light winds with this and sail deep in big breeze. Its also fractional so our mainsail issues have zero effect.

This is my first time this far south or trying to cross the Doldrums and its safe to say that every day is now very much a school day out here. Seeing the others ahead on how they have dealt with it makes the next couple of days a bit easier. We feel for Charal ! They have been properly caged for 3 days almost now. Best thing they can take away from it should be that the boat is super fast and seems reliable so got to be a positive for next years VG.


Also great to see Alex and Neal arrive safely this morning into Cape Verde. Still amazed they have saved the boat and have no doubt they will re group and be back stronger. The positive guys,to take, should be that the French still dont know how quick you are straight out of the wrapper !😉
Wish us luck for a fast next few days 🤞🏼⛵️💨 –

Read about the doldrums and racing through it.

Ari explains the condition of the mainsail