It was on Sunday 22nd November that Francis Joyon and his crew of just five set sail from Ushant to begin their round the world record attempt, the Jules Verne Trophy. After a record voyage down to the Equator, the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran faced a very uncooperative South Atlantic, as they had anticipated at the start. After very unstable conditions, they had to deal with relatively slow speeds in transition zones, which prevented them from getting a record time at the Cape of Good Hope. Joyon, Gahinet, Stamm, Pella, Herrmann and Surtel are adapting to the situation. While they have not achieved the amazing speeds you would expect ahead of a low pressure area, they are diving south to cut the distance to the next capes in the round the world voyage, Leeuwin in SW Australia and then the Horn at the tip of South America. The rather uncomfortable situation for IDEC SPORT has not changed much over the past 48 hours, as they remain stuck between two areas of low pressure, with the one to their west unable to catch them and offer strong winds. In mist and with a sea temperature of three degrees, the maxi trimaran is down in the middle of the ice zone, in amongst the icebergs and growlers. This means that the crew has to keep a permanent watch, while analysing closely the latest satellite photos sent to them by their router, Marcel van Triest. “We have played our joker and it didn’t work out,” freely admitted Francis Joyon, when questioned about the 750 mile gap separating them from the virtual position of the Defender, Banque Populaire V, which four years ago, was once again fast in this part of the voyage sailing at around 33 knots. Loick Peyron was sailing close to the French Crozet islands, while IDEC SPORT hasn’t yet passed the Prince Edward Islands.
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