IDEC SPORT: Equator crossing on New Year’s Day

Published on December 31st, 2015

(December 31, 2015; Day 40) – The IDEC SPORT 31.5m maxi-trimaran has finally found the SE’ly trade wind they were looking forward to during this race for the Jules Vern Trophy. This has allowed the crew to maintain high speeds since yesterday afternoon in the warm, summer air off Brazil. Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Boris Herrmann, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet and Bernard Stamm will be finishing 2015 in a way that sailors enjoy at the helm of this superb racing machine under bright skies sailing along the magical coastline of Nordeste.

The six men on IDEC SPORT will be making the most of this great adventure sailing around the world’s seas. Still to come, the second crossing of the Doldrums, which do not appear to be very active at this longitude, with the SE’ly trade winds meeting the strong NE’lies, followed by the lows moving across the North Atlantic. There are still many great moments ahead and the fight continues. It will be 2016 and they’ll be back in the North Atlantic.

“We’re currently under a mass of clouds, which is sucking up the wind, but it looks bright ahead and we’ll soon be back up to speed again.” Francis Joyon could not hide his pleasure at seeing the big, red trimaran back at high speed since yesterday afternoon. “We got above thirty knots during the night and once again had those unique feelings you get from this boat, which cuts through the water so well, helped by her foil.”

It is clear that this has reinvigorated the troops, with Alex Pella and Francis confirming that. “Although we never really felt that down either” added Joyon. “I think we all kept our feelings to ourselves during those darker days without wind.” IDEC SPORT has since returned to an efficient route heading north and her current speeds should enable her to cross the Equator on Friday 1st January between 1700 and 2000hrs UTC. “The trade wind has strengthened and our routing looks increasingly favourable,” declared an upbeat Francis Joyon.

They are taking each day as it comes paying attention to the trimming and boat speed, while looking ahead to the near future, expecting very heavy weather for the finish. “It is true that at these speeds we quickly go from one system to another,” explained Francis. “In 4 or 5 days, we will be back in the sort of weather you are experiencing in France. The NE’ly trade wind should bring warm weather, but the Westerlies after the Azores are violent at this time of year. We are in fact some very heavy weather for the finish off the tip of Brittany.”

The crew of IDEC SPORT, far from the celebrations taking place ashore for New Year’s Eve, is having to ration the gas that is used to heat water for meals and there are no more little bottles of whisky left after they celebrated rounding each of the three major capes, so this evening looks like being a very quiet affair. In terms of New Year’s wishes, they will be asking for good weather, hoping that the North Atlantic will be as kind as the South Atlantic was nasty towards them.

As of 21:00 UTC
Distance to finish: 3669.33 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 649.02 nm
Distance ahead of record: -1049.75 nm

idec pos Dec31


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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 04:01:58 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:

Francis Joyon (FRA)
Bernard Stamm (SUI)
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)
Alex Pella (ESP)
Clément Surtel (FRA)
Boris Herrmann (GER)

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