INTO AN AREA OF UNCERTAINTY

IDEC SPORT has been keeping up a good pace since yesterday afternoon. Close to the Horn of Brazil, Francis Joyon’s crew is now tackling an area of uncertainty, located between 10 and 20 degrees south. It is likely they will be slowed down, but so far all is going well and they still have a lead of 250 miles over the record pace.

First aerial images of IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, training off Belle-Ile, Brittany, on october 19, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

The big red trimaran has been taking advantage of a favourable wind angle to clock up the miles over the past 24 hours. IDEC SPORT still has the same advance over the time to beat that she had on leaving the Doldrums, 250 miles, in spite of a trade wind that is fairly week for the red trimaran’s little mast. That is why yesterday Francis Joyon joked about whether he would be allowed to restep the big mast for this portion of the race course… before using the small one again after the Cape of Good Hope.

IDEC SPORT 200 miles from the Horn of Brazil
So what about Good Hope? On the direct route, the tip of South Africa is 3400 miles ahead of their bows, but in reality, the distance to sail is much greater. One of the paradoxes of round the world sailing is that to get to South Africa, you first have to sail towards South America. That’s all down to the St. Helena High blocking the route. What you have to do is try to take advantage of the series of lows moving eastwards from Uruguay towards the Indian Ocean. But you have to time it right, without losing too much time or distance until you reach this natural fan, as what you really have to do is find the right moment to step onto this conveyor belt ahead of a front…

600 tricky miles
So that is the problem this morning with IDEC SPORT sailing between 20 and 24 knots close to the Horn of Brazil, 200 miles south east of Recife. Joyon and his men have just seen the latitude of 10 degrees south indicated on their dials. This marks the entry into an area of uncertainty with variable, light winds for 10 degrees of latitude. One degree represenrs60 nautical miles, so in other words a 600-mile strip lies ahead of the trimaran. “On the wind charts, it looks like we can get through without any problems, but Marcel (Van Triest, the router) warned us that it may be more complicated out on the water,” explained Francis Joyon. After the storm at the start and the passage through the Doldrums, this marks the third major difficulty at the start of the Jules Verne Trophy. Three difficulties in six days. Quite a rhythm.

In short
After 6 days and 3 hours at sea, at 0500hrs UTC on Saturday 28th November, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 23.3 knots at 10°10 south, 32°01 West, 200 miles off the Horn of Brazil. Bearing: south (181°). Lead over the time they aim to beat: 250.2 miles.