A day short
As the image above indicates, the present weather scenario was the final nail in the coffin of the present two attempts by Spindrift 2 and IDEC Sport on Banque Populaire V's Jules Verne Trophy record.
While she rounds the west side of the Azores high, Spindrift 2's speed is down to 15 knots but over the course of today and into tonight as she heads north the wind will gradually build and slowly veer into the southwest. Once the southwesterlies have fully established the forecast has them taking the world's largest racing trimaran all the way to the Ouessant finish line. This should have her across the finish line sometime on Thursday, around a day short of Banque Populaire V's 45d 13h 42m 53s time from their 2012 attempt.
The present conditions have favoured Francis Joyon and the crew of IDEC Sport, who have managed to close in on Spindrift 2, coming in with southeasterly pressure to the south of the Azores high. While they too will experience a light patch, this morning the former Groupama 3 tri was still averaging speeds in the low 30s, at times 20 knots faster than Spindrift 2...
Yesterday the IDEC Sport team provided an update: As we have said over the past few days, the Jules Verne Trophy record is not going to be beaten this year. The small areas of low pressure and the large highs spread across the Pacific and South Atlantic in particular, have dashed the hopes and ambitions of the two contenders, IDEC Sport and Spindrift 2, in spite of their determination and hard work. However, the competitive spirit remains with the desire to get the most out of the racing machine right up to the end of this voyage. There is also the desire to share the friendship that has developed between six world-class sailors over all the miles they have sailed together. There is also the competitive spirit which can be seen as they try to find the best way to get to the finish with the various obstacles that lie along the route. Aboard IDEC Sport, after 43 days of intensive sailing, they have the same desire to sail the final 2700 miles of the theoretical route, as they had back on the first day, as they are determined to get the best time possible off Ushant.
“They don’t know how to play it cool and take things easy,” Francis Joyon joked looking at the stubbornness of each of the five members of his crew, as they continue to push the IDEC Sport maxi trimaran as hard as they can. “During the night we had some very chaotic conditions,” he added. This was not something we could see in the figures that appeared during the night as the boat speed was rarely below 30 knots. IDEC SPORT is continuing at high speed, but on a route that is far from being direct.
“The Azores high is forcing us to head towards the norhtwest America. This morning we were less than 950 miles from the Caribbean,” explained Joyon. This meant that they were not making very efficient gains towards the finish, but based on the latest forecasts, that will suddenly all change when Joyon and his men pass the western edge of this large area of calms to go straight into the strong westerly air stream. “After that our performance will depend on the sea state,” continued Joyon. “But we should be able to stay on the edge of the deep lows in a wind range that we can deal with.”
As for their ETA, that still remains vague. IDEC SPORT has often proven her ability to surprise everyone exceeding the forecast routing times. We are currently looking forward to seeing the boat finish off Ouessant sometime on Friday, 8 January.