The nav effort

Photo: BPCE
Navigator Juan Vila and router Marcel van Triest on Banque Populaire's amazing record
Unlike Groupama 3’s Jules Verne Trophy attempt in 2010, when the prospect of breaking Orange 2’s record was in the balance until they were back into the North Atlantic, on Banque Populaire’s lap, a fast initial passage down the Atlantic, causing them to lop 2 days 16 hours (or 18%) off Groupama’s time, set them up. Aside from a disaster occurring, such as the boat breaking or a collision, the possibility of their not breaking the record never really came into question, even through their lead over Groupama’s virtual progress plummeted from a high of 2364 miles when they were in the Indian Ocean, to just 528 miles after their painful Pacific crossing. Certainly Banque Populaire is longer and more powerful than Groupama 3 - in addition to the team and her designers, a tribute must be paid to her original skipper Pascal Bidegorry for his key role in the boat's conception – but another vital part of the 40m trimaran’s successful Jules Verne Trophy attempt was her nav team. This was handled on board by Spain’s Juan Vila and ashore by weather router Marcel van Triest, previously the maxi-tri’s navigator, who was on board, for example, for their west to east transatlantic record in 2010. The Banque Populaire Jules Verne Trophy attempt was the first time Vila and van Triest have worked together, although they have raced against each other on countless occasions, both around the cans and around the world. “We talked several times a day on email and sometimes on the phone as well,” says Vila, whose illustrious career has included four Volvo Ocean Races, winning on illbruck in 2001-2 and four America’s Cups, victorious in Alinghi’s afterguard in 2007, but three years later losing on the Swiss big cat, alongside Banque Populaire skipper Loick Peyron. “All the difficult strategic