Not only do the Doldrums effect the pace of B&Q but it is also physically debilitating: 'I'm losing a lot of fluids - I'm trying to drink a huge amount because it's just so warm on board, particularly when I'm charging the batteries - the cabin turns into even more of an oven! I've got lots of salt sores all over my hands and my arms, which appear when you get sweaty for a long period of time. There's no escape from it...'
The effects of the Doldrums, and B&Q's course to the west of Joyon's track, means Ellen's advantage has been halved to just under 8 hours but it is expected that B&Q will cross the Equator well in advance of Joyon's time of 9 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes. B&Q must cross the Equator before 16:33:44 GMT on Tuesday (7.12.04). However, it is predicted she could cross between midnight and 0300 GMT which means, Ellen could take as much as 16 hours off Joyon's time. But expect to see further losses on the Omega clock as Joyon's track [he crossed the Equator further to the east at around 26 degrees west] will stay inside to the east of Ellen's track for the next couple of days...
The Royal Navy's HMS Iron Duke en route from the Falklands Islands to the UK, contacted Ellen's shore team today to set up a rendezvous...The 170 ship's crew under the command of Commander Peter Carden, have been tracking B&Q's progress south and the Type 23 Frigate and sent out their Lynx helicopter to scout for B&Q making contact at approx 1615 GMT this afternoon... The Royal Navy has promised to send the photos on...!