TACKING UP THE BRAZILIAN COAST
The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran is continuing her slow climb back up northwards off Rio de Janeiro. In order to get around the St. Helena high, Francis Joyon and his men have to get close to the coast of Brazil tacking upwind in light NNE’ly winds.
The boat only rarely exceeds 20 knots in these conditions, which is nothing, when we see what the boat is really capable of. This is forcing the crew to change tack from moving NE’wards towards the finish and back to the NW towards the coast of Brazil, making little gain in terms of VMG. After a whole day of pushing hard in these conditions, Joyon and his men only made 225 miles headway towards the Equator, their next goal. A few more miles and they should start to feel the effect of the trade wind on the starboard side of the boat. IDEC SPORT will then be able to head more efficiently towards the north and close the gap on the Jules Verne record-holder, Banque Populaire V, a deficit of almost 1000 miles this morning. On the 38th day of racing, with 4800 miles left to go, the South Atlantic has already cost IDEC SPORT six days since rounding Cape Horn on 23rd December.