Brian Thompson on Banque Pop: 580 to the Equator

Brian Thompson on Banque Pop: 580 to the Equator

Thursday December 29 2011 Author: Brian Thompson Location: none selected

One more day to the equator..

It is absolutely fantastic sailing here in the Tradewinds...

Loick and Juan are very happy as we are sailing with minimum risk to the boat, and at 100% of our polars. (our theoretical top speed for the current wind speed and angle).
The rest of our crew are very happy too, working the boat northwards at 25+ knots..the wind is from 65 degrees off the bow at around 18 knots and we have the full main and staysail up. On most boats this would be steady but unexciting sailing, but on Banque Populaire, at these speeds, and with the sheer power in the boat, its really exhilirating...

The seas are surprisingly flat for the wind speed, so there is no spray on deck. There are just a few, small puffy cumulus clouds in the bright, blue sky, and the wind is steady.

Still working hard on the sail trim, so each watch passes quickly, as we move from trimming to driving, and back again. On the average day I would drive for about 3 hours, and each second of those hours is full on concentration. We are trying to maximise our speed and optimise the course within the parameters we put in to preserve the boat for the long haul.

It's a bit like in Formula 1 racing where the drivers and engineers have to manage their tires and fuel consumption during the 90 minute race, so the cars are not always at 100% of their best lap time, but the drivers are still wringing every bit of speed they can out of their cars..so we also push the boat to the max we can, and any limitations are normally imposed by a rough sea state. Here in these smooth waters we can redline it!

After weeks of sub 5C temperatures, ending just 4 days ago, it's now a balmy 25C in the water and 27C in the air..I am not going to complain about the heat, I promise!

It's great to be able to get out of your bunk (no, its not too hot there!) in your shorts and T shirt, and come on deck without having to put on boots, foul weather gear, hats, balaclavas, gloves, etc.. Just sunglasses and hat, and in the night perhaps a wind proof top, as there is about 35 knots apparent across the deck..

Last night was great, no strange lights in the sky, just the moon that is waxing, and Jupiter being the brightest objects in the sky. It's going to be great timing from here into the finish with the moon growing bigger and spending more time in the night sky each passing day..making up for the hours of daylight that are rapidly shortening, as we head North..

Behind us last night were the 2 Clouds of Magellan, which can be best seen in the Southern Hemisphere. They look like faint and tiny cumulus clouds, floating perhaps just 2000metres overhead..They are, in fact, other galaxies, millions upon millions of miles away... Made me at least attempt to contemplate how enormous our universe is..

But right now am thinking more about the 580 miles to the equator, and about breaking the equator to equator record currently held by a certain BRUNO Peyron. His younger brother Loick, is of course skippering the mighty Banque Populaire..tense family Christmas next year? I think not...

Brian
 

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