As anticipated, Banque Populaire has dropped south, having put into a couple of hitches south over the last 24 hours. Currently she is just over 100 miles south of the Prince Edward Islands, or approximately 350 miles south of Jules Verne Trophy record holder Groupama 3′s position when she was at this longitude.
These gybes south have cost some miles of the 40m trimaran’s lead over Groupama 3′s pace. At the 0945 sched yesterday, this reaches a peak of 1838 miles ahead, but has since dropped to 1725 – so still a substantial lead and probably better than the crew, led by Loick Peyron, might have dared hope.
As mentioned in our reports over the weekend, Banque Populaire has been forced to head south due to an area of high pressure barring her way. They are currently to the south of the high awaiting the northwesterlies to build with the onset of the next front. The depression, this front is associated with, is moving quickly and while the maxi-tri has already demonstrated herself capable of maintaining incredible average speeds, it looks like even she won’t be able to keep ahead of the front and will fall into the southwesterlies behind the front by Thursday. This isn’t ideal because even a trimaran as large as Loick Peyron’s blue monster still doesn’t particularly enjoy sailing through the lumpy seas created behind a Southern Ocean front when the wind backs from the northwest into the southwest.
Even so the next few days are continuing to look fast and we can expect more records to fall by the time Banque Populaire passes her second of the ‘great Capes’ – Cape Leeuwin, the southwesternmost corner of Australia – sometime on Friday.
At mid-day today crewman Thierry Chabagny described conditions: “The wind is sustained and has risen a little. Currently there is 27-29 knots of wind from northwest and our course is very close to due east. The sea is not too large. The boat is going well. Conditions are set to freshen a little, so we will may change sail at the front and go to the small gennaker to keep a more constant speed and have less violent acceleration to maintain our little boat. The conditions are ideal, except that the sky is low, it’s foggy, you can not see much and it’s getting really cold outside.
“I had to cross the boat with the gloves on a while ago .Being down here in the south, made us feel the difference in temperature of both air and water. The water is 7°C, the air is 8-9, but with 35 knots of apparent wind out there, you quickly get cold and we know we are still far from the worse in the next 48 hours. ”
Of last night’s gybe Chabagny said “It was enough because every manoeuvre is hard work. Loïck [Peyron], and Juan [Vila] try to time them so they occur at the same time as watch changes so that there are more people on deck and that all goes smoothly.”
Courtesy of the Daily Sail. For the full story, visit www.thedailysail.com