Step by step towards the equator

The Ocean Race fleet is climbing the ladder towards the equator step by step. For GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, this was combined with a successful race to catch up after getting caught in the wind shadow of São Vicente on the first night of the second leg and falling 30 nautical miles behind. On the second night, the team with skipper Robert Stanjek as well as Sébastien Simon, Anne-Claire Le Berre, Phillip Kasüske and onboard reporter Charles Drapeau worked their way back to the competitors, even managing to move up to fourth place among the five boats.

“We have worked our way back up, we are in contact with the fleet. That’s great,” said Robert Stanjek as Team Malizia’s position lights came into view during the night. “Seb has positioned us a bit windward of them so we are in a perfect position to control the action. I am very happy that we can now compare ourselves directly with another boat. That is very good. Just sailing by the numbers is difficult. Great to have a boat close now.”


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Navigator Sébastien Simon also looked happy looking at the instruments, “After a night with almost no wind still in the lee of the volcanoes of Cabo Verde, we felt the pressure again this morning, the trade winds. Now we have a long downwind to the Doldrums ahead of us,” he reported. He expects the crew to reach the light wind zone around the equator around 29 or 30 January.

The conditions with light trade winds and calm Atlantic waves not only provided an opportunity to observe the wind shifts and make use of them with concentrated manoeuvring work, but also to do some other work on board. Phillip Kasüske, for example, readjusted the propeller blades of the hydrogenerator. “I changed the pitch of the blades a bit because we are not going that high speed at the moment. We need the hydrogenerator to recharge our batteries. Let’s see if it works better now.” What is needed is the energy not only for the navigation and hydraulic equipment on board, but also for science. Like every team in The Ocean Race, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe has a small laboratory with them. Water samples are constantly taken on the black yacht, filtered and the microplastics in the water measured.

The sailing goal is never out of focus: „Our A2 seams to give us a nice deep angle and almost the same speed of the leaders. With gybing nicely on the big shifts we managed to fight a few miles back sitting in 4th position now. Looks like everyone is investing in the west for an ideal doldrum crossing“, reported Stanjek, looking forward to enjoyable sailing days: „It’s getting warmer with every hour sailing south. The Trade winds are wonderful!“

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