IDEC SPORT: Cape Horn by Tuesday?
Published on December 16th, 2015
(December 16, 2015; Day 25) – The big question for the 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT is knowing at what point to begin a series of gybes in order to get across a transition zone between an area of high pressure and a low. This decision will affect a lot of things, but skipper Francis Joyon hopes to be back up with the pace of Banque Populaire V by Cape Horn. This would mean rounding the infamous cape by Tuesday.
“We’re currently getting around the north of an area of low pressure that is stretching out a bit with some light stuff,” explained Francis Joyon. “We’re still in the WNW’ly air stream for the moment, but soon we will have to weave in and out. We’re going to have to carry out a series of gybes to get around the low and then wait for the moment, when we can dive south to an area of high pressure.”
Between the two “to go from one system to the other is a bit complicated: light airs and maybe even some upwind sailing,” acknowledges Joyon. “We’re going to have to weave our way down to this high, but once we have reached the steady winds, we will be able to head diagonally down south towards Cape Horn. The trickiest part is in 24-30 hours from now, as we dive due south to get through the patch of calm weather where it is narrowest between the low and the high.”
Cape Horn is the next target on the minds of the six sailors on IDEC SPORT, as Banque Populaire V rounded it on her 31st day at sea. How does the skipper of IDEC SPORT feel about that? “It can be done. There is some uncertainty about the transition zone, where we could lose or gain a lot, but for the moment our estimated time for reaching the Horn is slightly under seven days.”
So, to sum up, we can say that on board IDEC SPORT, they are expecting to suffer a bit in the short term in terms of the figures… but it should not be too bad. Which track are they watching the most? Banque Populaire’s of course. “Loïck (Peyron)’s track is shown on our chart and we’re watching that closely, while at the same time standing back and looking at the overall picture in terms of our times at each of the major capes,” added Francis Joyon. “That’s why we weren’t that upset at the end of the Atlantic, as we knew they suffered a little in the Pacific and lost a lot of time on their way back up the Atlantic. We remain very optimistic.”
What’s life like on board? “It feels like we’re down in the Tropics. It’s 15 degrees and that feels incredibly hot after the cold weather we had in the Southern Ocean, when we had ten days without any sunshine. This summer weather has reinvigorated us.”
The deficit in comparison to the record holder, which has been bouncing up and down, is now moving in the right direction. At 2130hrs yesterday evening it was 345 miles and now it is a fraction of that. The reason for that is IDEC SPORT is still sailing at thirty knots and even if her VMG is not as good on this tack, Joyon’s men are taking advantage of the fact that Banque Populaire V had a rather poor day on her 25th day of racing. With each gybe back to the starboard tack (heading south), IDEC SPORT should gain miles more quickly than ever.
As of 21:19 UTC
Distance to finish: 9817.29 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 608.22 nm
Distance ahead of record: -66.95 nm
Source: IDEC SPORT
Background: IDEC SPORT has entered to claim the Jules Verne Trophy, a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, starting and finishing between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.
Francis Joyon (FRA), skippering the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran, crossed the start line on November 22 at 02:02:22 GMT, and his 6-man team must return by 15:44:15 UTC on January 6, 2016 to beat the current record set January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on Banque Populaire V of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
MORE: Also starting on November 22 (at 4:01:58 GMT) for an attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy was the 40m VPLP-designed Spindrift 2, led by Yann Guichard. The 14-person team must return before 17:43:51 GMT on January 6, 2016 to beat the record. Here’s a tracker showing both teams: http://volodiaja.net/Tracking/
IDEC SPORT CREW:
Francis Joyon (FRA)
Bernard Stamm (SUI)
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)
Alex Pella (ESP)
Clément Surtel (FRA)
Boris Herrmann (GER)