How to survive a day in the Doldrums

4,058 views  |   January 14th, 2020 

In today’s blog the crew of Challenger 2 find themselves in the dead calm of the centre of the high pressure. Forced to turn the engine on to make way, the crew go in search of different ways to keep busy.

Flat seas and becalmed



The Doldrums

 Light winds and having to motor. Wind instrument’s arrow restlessly spins 360 degrees. Steering 085 compass course. Everyone sleeps tight to the calming buzzing of the engine.

A number of recent successes: Stephen mended the water maker so showers are a possibility again; we have completed the first thousand miles; a turtle was spotted all the way out here in the middle of the ocean; first drone flight with wonderful footage taken and Carey almost lost his sleeping bag, though managed to recover.

Bets are now being taken on our arrival to Horta, still 1378 Nm to go. Soon to pick up some westerlies that should take us all the way to the Azores.

Spectacular view of the stars on the long awaited clear sky!

Lazy day for everyone except the Mother watch!

All in order.

Jane, Karl and Alex.


Sent back from Challenger 2

Proof of life – this image was emailed back to us from onboard Challenger 2 (hence the low quality)



Skipper’s Log

Date: Monday 13th Jan, 2020
Time: 12:00 GMT (0900 Boat Time)
Position: 32.33’N    57.51’ W
Destination: Horta, Azores
ETA: 2nd Jan
Sailplan: Full main & stay, motorsailing
Apparent wind: 8kts
SOG 7.9kts
Fuel : 3 full, 1 in use
Water : 2 full, 1 in use 1 empty. Watermaker not working
Gas : 2 full, 1 in use, 2 empty

We had a lovely day’s sailing yesterday in increasingly benign seas, increasing sailplan &  with the wind dropping to 15 – 20kts apparent, making a steady 8 – 9 kts.

The mothers had a thorough clean and sort of the fresh fruit & veg (the remaining melons were the only serious casualty of the blow) and order has been restored. Sadly the watermaker has suffered and after running for a short while once the weather had improved, decided to give up the ghost. Stephen is currently puzzling away at it & we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we can find and fix the problem. In the meantime it’s salt water for washing up & laundry.

As expected the meter ran out of 50ps at midnight and we had to start motorsailing. The wind direction is light & variable as we negotiate our way across the narrow band of high pressure windlessness & I’m hopeful that later today it will start to fill in from the west. Currently we are making direct course for Horta as the gribs show the wind hole shifting to the west through today. We will take the opportunity to get some rest, recuperate from the bruises, clean & sort & start looking forward to the halfway party.


Position at noon 14 January

Position at noon 14 January


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Posted by: First Class Sailing


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