Record eater

Banque Populaire navigator Marcel van Triest talks us through their extraordinary journey
A small oddity about the recent west to east transatlantic record attempts is that both boats had foreign (ie non-French) navigators - while US legend Stan Honey took this role on Groupama 3, on board Banque Populaire it was Majorca-based Dutchman, Marcel van Triest. Having passed the Lizard mid-afternoon on Sunday it wasn’t until 3am yesterday morning that the 40m long blue monster trimaran tied up in Brest. For van Triest, a veteran of five Whitbreads/Volvo Ocean Races ( Equity & Law, Intrum Justitia, Innovation Kvaerner, SEB and Brasil 1) there were the day to day rigours of surviving on board a vessel capable of travelling at speeds in excess of 40 knots, but his biggest responsibility was making the decision when to go, the machine whirring into action with the sailing team decamping from Brittany to fly out to New York. However his call was good and van Triest says the conditions for their historic record breaking crossing were exceptional. “We didn’t tack or gybe and we only sailed 40 miles more than the direct course. So that is exceptional. Most North Atlantic record attempts involve a gybe to come down again through the Irish Sea. This was all straight lining.” Typically the ideal weather scenario for attempts on the west to east transatlantic record is having a well developed Azores high with a depression rolling eastwards across the top of it, the vessel in question riding on the flat water ahead of the fronts associated with this system. That is not rare, but what is less common is finding a depression that ultimately ends up in the UK rather than spinning off northeast towards Iceland or Scotland. When this latter scenario occurs it can leave a final ridge to get through and this for example prevented Bruno Peyron from claiming the record