Vendee Globe : Decision time for Dominique

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Dominique is currently crossing the Intertropical Convergence Zone, better known to sailors as the Doldrums, a colloquial name for the low-pressure area that encircles the earth near the Equator where the northeast and southeast trade winds meet. The area is several hundred kilometres wide and is characterised by patches of dead calm punctuated by sudden squalls, storms and violent gusts of wind.

"This year, the Doldrums are active," said Dominique. "There are two layers of cloud making the situation quite complex to read. I have been working on how to get through this zone for several days now as my exit strategy will dictate the next stage of the race. I have also been working on the routing for my entry into the Southern Ocean as my decision in the Doldrums will have an impact on the long term as well."

Dominique's current position puts him among friends on the leaderboard. He has known Jean Le Cam and Mike Golding for many years and gets on very well with them both. "Mike's yacht is by the same designer as mine, but one generation younger and Jean is sailing Loïck Peyron's old boat which is also an excellent design," he explained.

While in the ranking the trio appears close together, the yachts are out of sight of one another. "We can't actually see each other and we haven't spoken, but I did communicate with Jérémie Beyou to tell him how sorry I was to hear about his keel. What has happened to him brought back some very bad memories I must admit," said Dominique. "Thankfully I can report that all is well on board Mirabaud. All my sails are in good condition and I haven't broken anything major."

Without slowing the boat down, Dominique spends approximately two hours a day on maintenance and fixing anything that needs attention. "I am very lucky to have a yacht that has been so perfectly prepared by my team, it really shows!"

'Slip, slop, slap' as the sun can be as dangerous as the storms

The temperature on board Mirabaud has changed quite drastically over the last few days and Dominique is currently enjoying a heat wave! "After the westerly, the weather warmed up very quickly," said Dominique. "I was ready for it though, I have two fans down below to keep the air circulating and on deck the wind keeps me cool."

Dominique is not a fan of hot weather as a rule, but this warm spell is not bothering him. "I am well protected by a hat and long sleeves," he said. "These conditions are expected at this stage of the race and we come well prepared!"

The heat wave may not bother the offshore sailor, but a notable increase in cargo ships is keeping him on his toes: "I have never seen so many in this part of the globe," he said. "For sure we have increasingly sophisticated equipment with which to identify them, but I honestly think that there are more ships now than ever before. The swell in numbers means I have to be on high alert and very careful indeed."


20/11/2012 - 12:00 GMT
1 Banque Populaire - Armel Le Cléac'h 0.0 nm
2 PRB - Vincent Riou +26.1 nm
3 HUGO BOSS - Alex Thomson +27.2 nm
4 MACIF - François Gabart +27.5 nm
5 Virbac Paprec 3 - Jean-Pierre Dick +27.5 nm
9 Mirabaud - Dominique Wavre +165.5 nm

Bernard Schopfer

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 November 2012 )