Life on board at 40 knots

Brian Thompson on what it was like living on board Banque Populaire
Getting around the world non-stop in record time on a boat that can hit 48 knots, has a 35 knot cruising speed and is a colossus - at 40m long by 33m wide, with a 47m tall wingmast and a mainsail more than 2.5x the size of a VO70’s - is no mean feat. On board the Banque Populaire maxi-trimaran the crew looked like ants. For Brian Thompson, the sole Brit among the Jules Verne Trophy winning crew, this was his fourth lap of the planet and his third on a maxi-multihull, his two previous experiences having been with the late Steve Fossett on their non-stop lap aboard Cheyenne and then in the Oryx Quest as skipper of the winning Doha 2006. According to Thompson there was a real routine to their life aboard during their 45 days at sea during the Jules Verne Trophy. With 14 crew on board they ran three four man watches with navigator Juan Vila and skipper Loick Peyron out of the watch system. Thompson was on watch with watch leader Yvan Ravussin (the elder and less crazy brother of Race for Water MOD70 skipper Steve), former Figaro sailor Thierry Chabagny and ex-Mini sailor Pierre-Yves Moreau. Their watch was from 0800-1200 UTC both in the morning and in the evening and would be followed by four hours off and another four on standby. Off watch was when they would get some food and sleep in their bunks, while on standby watch they would have their foulweather bottoms and boots on. “You might spend the first two hours doing some jobs around the boat and then maybe the second hour and a half before you have got to go on watch you’d get some shut eye unless you were cooking a meal,” recounts Thompson of their stand-by watch. While the