It must be very difficult to stay awake when it’s near flat calm. Maybe you don’t need to – any change in the strength and direction of the feeble breeze will probably wake you.
I took a look at the tracker on lasolitaire.com a few minutes ago, and the main bunch was scattering like chickens when a fox enters the run, most of them heading into the Bay. Checked the wind map and realised what had caused the flap – they’re sailing into a zone of very light, variable winds.
I noticed another thing – the chart shows most boats in the pack doing 2 knots or less, but the leaderboard still shows their speeds at 4 knots or more. Obviously, the leaderboard updates lag the map by quite a lot.
I tend to think of the Figaro as a heavy weather race, excellent training for the survival conditions of the southern ocean leg of the Vendée Globe, but the opening leg of the 2012 race is turning out to be a test of how well skippers can interpret grib files and local weather forecasts – and how good they are at concentrating when seriously sleep-deprived. If race sponsor Eric Bompard Cachemire had given each of them a zipped turtleneck pullover they could probably spend a few minutes photographing themselves wearing it at the moment.