HAMPSHIRE yachtswoman Emma Richards has regained second place in the Around Alone race, but has entered the calm of the Doldrums.

Emma, in her 60ft yacht Pindar, is now 40 miles ahead of Thierry Dubois in Solidaires.

The Frenchman had taken second place from Richards, who is based at Hamble, last week but the 27-year-old has clawed her way back as the yachts travel down the African coast.

They now have to deal with the Doldrums' notorious calm, which can leave a yacht almost motionless for days.

Emma told the Daily Echo: "Every single mile is hard work.

"The wind is all over the place when there is any and each time you think there is a clear patch so you can nap for half an hour, you never get to sleep before something wakes you first and you have to trim sails or tack the boat."

Both yachts are still trying to catch the race leader Bernard Stamm in Bobst, in the second leg of the round-the-world competition.

He is out of the Doldrums and is close to crossing the Equator around 140 miles ahead of Richards.

The yachtswoman left Torbay in Devon on October 14.

The 12 yachts in the competition are heading for Cape Town, South Africa, a distance of 6,880 nautical miles.

Emma finished the first leg from New York to Torbay in 13 days, 14 hours and six minutes to become the first woman to complete a solo west-to-east transatlantic crossing in a monohull.

Scots-born and originally from Helensburgh, she is the only Briton and only woman in the nine-month five-leg race due to finish next summer in Newport Rhode Island.

The yachts are expected in Cape Town around November 9.