After 21 days at sea and an Indian Ocean on which Francis Joyon and his men smashed all the records, IDEC SPORT is already approaching New Zealand. Now, they have to cross the Pacific, hoping that it won’t be too pacific.
Boris Herrmann was right. Behind the visor of his helmet in constant spray, with the boat doing 40 knots, the German sailor said yesterday, “It’s quite incredible. We’ll be covering Australia and New Zealand in two and a half days!” This prediction proved to be right. On Sunday morning, IDEC SPORT is 160 miles from the longitude of New Zealand. With the records from Agulhas /Leeuwin (South Africa -Australia) and Agulhas – Tasmania (the Indian Ocean record) under their belt, Francis Joyon’s crew is has slowed slightly since midnight on her first miles in the Pacific. This is all very relative, as they are still above thirty knots. It’s just that after three incredible days of 800 miles, the pace is now around 750 per day.
Every minute counts
Today (Sunday), we can see that they are 200 miles behind the record-holder, Banque Populaire, although IDEC SPORT (at 161°49 East) is further east than her virtual rival (160°24). That is to be expected. As at this moment, Loïck Peyron’s crew was on the direct route, 450 miles further south than IDEC SPORT. No need to go into the geometrical projections and how the earth is round, but the distances are calculated in terms of distance to Cape Horn (around 4000 miles away), so the closer you are to Antarctica the shorter the route. However, it is only on paper that the ideal route can be found, as at sea, you have to examine the weather. IDEC SPORT has had to head towards the NE, as there are lighter winds to the south. More importantly, the weather patterns are not very clear in the Pacific, with the possibility of a patch of light winds blocking the way in a few days. Francis Joyon explained yesterday that they could either head back up north or sail in the deep south (which may be too far south).
That is the situation at the start of the 22nd day of sailing. Ahead of the big, red trimaran another symbolic moment, the move to longitude west. In around one day from now, IDEC SPORT will cross the International Date Line. They have around 24 days to make it to the finish to be within the record time. “Every minute counts,” said Francis yesterday when interviewed for French TV. Looking at their pace, it seems everyone has understood.
. In the history of the Jules Verne Trophy, only four crews have taken less than eight days to cross the Indian Ocean between cape Aghulhas (South Africa) and Tasmania: the two winners in 2012 and 2010 and the two currently attempting to beat the record, Spindrift and IDEC SPORT. Only IDEC SPORT has taken less than seven days.
. The five best Indian Ocean times (*)
IDEC SPORT / Francis Joyon: 6 days 23 hrs 04 minutes on 12th Dec 2015
SPINDRIFT / Yann Guichard: 8 days 04 hrs 35 minutes on 12th December 2015
BANQUE POPULAIRE V / Loïck Peyron: 8 days 07 hrs 22 minutes on 12th December 2011
GROUPAMA 3 / Franck Cammas: 8 days 17 hrs 39 minutes on 25th Feb 2010
ORANGE II / Bruno Peyron: 9 days 11 hrs 04 minutes on 17th Feb 2005