Banque Populaire on track for 45 day record

The Loick Peyron-skippered maxi-tri has been averaging 32 knots for the last 24 hours

Thursday January 5th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Date time Lat Long VMG Crs Spd Spd Spd Dist DTF DT G3
          Inst 4hr 24hr      
05/01/2012 06:00 47°41.90'N 033°57.54'W 27.8 60° 29.1 30.8 32.3 774.6 1 150 1 328.70
05/01/2012 03:00 46°36.39'N 035°36.14'W 19.9 30° 27.4 31.9 32.4 778.1 1 231 1 291.60
05/01/2012 00:00 45°29.11'N 037°17.42'W 31.7 48° 34.4 31.1 32.3 775 1 319 1 246.60
04/01/2012 21:00 44°27.93'N 038°58.16'W 31.7 53° 32.9 32.3 32.2 773 1 407 1 203.80
04/01/2012 18:00 43°24.68'N 040°42.21'W 32.8 43° 35.6 32.9 31.7 760 1 501 1 159.40
04/01/2012 15:00 42°14.33'N 042°19.37'W 33.1 46° 34.8 32 29.8 715.6 1 596 1 112.50
04/01/2012 12:00 41°02.23'N 043°50.10'W 29.5 42° 31.3 31.1 26.9 646.1 1 689 1 069.00
04/01/2012 09:00 39°53.26'N 045°14.63'W 31.7 45° 32.7 32.5 25.9 621 1 779 1 033.00
04/01/2012 07:00 39°04.36'N 046°11.11'W 31.9 37° 34.4 32 25.1 601.4 1 841 997.8

As it continues to blow dogs off chains in the UK, so Banque Populaire has been enjoying brisk, but slightly more clement conditions out in the central North Atlantic as she continues to hurtle northeast. She still isn't on course - currently laying the Faeroe Islands rather than Ushant - but over the course of today the wind will start to veer from due south into the southwest and the mighty 40m tri will take this shift, continuing on starboard gybe, and start putting some more starboard into her heading, easing her around the north side of the zone of high pressure centred between Portugal and the Azores. Her course is likely to take her close to the Fastnet Rock around tomorrow lunchtime.

The only downside of her coming more on to a course that will take her to Lizard-Ushant finish line is that she is likely to speed off ahead of the front she is currently to the east of. With this the wind speed will drop from around 35 knots to closer to 20 and in turn this will cause a drop in the impressive speeds she has been maintaining over the last 36 hours - pretty much sitting on 31-33 knots average, or around 770-780 miles/day. It should be remembered that at present her crew are deeply into 'boat preservation' mode and don't have their foot fully on the throttle. In similar conditions, this same boat, under her previous skipper Pascal Bidegorry notched up the present outright 24 hour record of 908.2 miles in a day (or 37.8 knots average).

So with 1150 miles to go and an ETA at the line during Saturday night (fingers and toes crossed), this will see Groupama 3's Jules Verne Trophy record of 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes and 52 seconds drop to somewhere around 45 days 6-8 hours mark. This will not be a demolition in the same way Francis Joyon achieved, slicing off giant chunks of the solo non-stop round the world record time, but nonetheless still a very respectible performance.

Yesterday afternoon skipper Loick Peyron commented: "The sea is flat - there is just a small depression behind us, our hip, with not much wind on one side and much on the other. Our course will take us a long way north and past our favorite spots of the Fastnet and the Scilly Isles. We still have two and a half days to go, so we have to stay focused. 'Fast but not furious', is our motto on board. The difficulty when you have a boat like this beneath you is that you have to know when to slow down. Occasional braking is an art, especially on major routes like this."

Peyron paid tribute to designed VPLP and Banque Populaire's previous skipper, Pascal Bidegorry. "A lot of work has gone into this over the past three years, particularly in terms of sailing and I just arrived after this development had taken place, ready for this world tour. What is impressive is that on this kind of voyage multihulls often start showing cracks, but on this there is no sign of structural weakness. It is a boat sailed by people who know their jobs and on board some members of the sailing team participated in the design. We know that the boat's potential is greater than what we have done because we have sailed further in order to maintain our equipment. The only way to go faster than this is to reduce the distances."


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