After eight days of racing, Francis Joyon and his crew of five had to deal with a serious weather hurdle this weekend, which led to them losing what they had gained over the record time in the North Atlantic.
As their router, Marcel Van Triest indicated at the start back in Brest, the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran had no other choice but to cross an area of light winds, where the patch was narrowest on Saturday. This zone marked a transition between the southern trade winds, which were weakening and a mass of hot air circulating down below the Bay of Rio.
After a sleepless and stressful night on Saturday, Joyon and his troops finally picked up a fresh breeze from the east yesterday allowing them to continue to make their way south and get away from the sticky patch of light conditions. Practically four years earlier to the day, the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V skippered by Loïck Peyron had managed to zoom around the St. Helena high, so that temporarily yesterday evening, the theoretical advantage once again shifted to the Jules Verne Trophy record-holder. Idec Sport has however since clocked up the miles to get an advantage in her favour, thanks to her position to the east of that of her virtual rival. The trimaran is now turning her bows towards the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa, hoping to speed along the South Atlantic highway, where a series of low-pressure areas is circulating in the Forties.