It was with extreme precision timing that the crew of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran carried out the strategy imagined jointly by Marcel van Triest back on dry land and Francis Joyon at his nav desk, in order to get away from the two weather traps lying along their route in the Pacific Ocean. Getting around an area of low pressure took a bit longer than planned, while the passage through the ridge of high pressure did not slow down the multihull as much as feared. Joyon and his crew of five are now on the fast track, which although not all smooth sailing, will take them straight towards the infamous Cape Horn without too many tricky manoeuvres being required.
Hot on the heels of Banque Populaire V
“As planned, we are gradually accelerating,” explained Bernard Stamm. “We’re not yet surfing along effortlessly. The wind is coming from the beam of the boat in general and varying in strength between 10 and 20 knots. With each gust, the boat lifts up her float and glides along on the other. We need to be very cautious at the helm and sheets. It’s very lively, but we mustn’t complain after the two days in light conditions we have just been through.” There was a similar reaction from Clément Surtel, the man, who probably knows the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran better than anyone, having been involved in her creation as Groupama IV. “At least the light conditions meant that I was able to carry out some odd jobs here and there around the boat,” explained Clément, who is looking forward to experiencing his first rounding of the Horn. “It means a lot, of course. It’s a dream and a objective… We have been thinking about it and talking it over with Bernard and Francis, who have been relating various anecdotes…”
IDEC SPORT will gradually be picking up speed as the wind shifts to the SW. It is still within the capability of the boat to reach the Horn within the record time. On her 28th day of racing, Banque Populaire V, the holder of the Trophy, had one of her most disastrous days sailing a mere 200 miles toward the finish. The six men on IDEC SPORT can hardly wait to get back to the high speeds and excitement of the amazing performance achieved by the maxi-trimaran in the Indian. “For hours, we kept up speeds in excess of forty knots. This boat is fantastic and capable of anything,” summed up Surtel.
Christmas in the Atlantic
The seascape is changing with each watch, which is carried out respecting the same schedule by Joyon’s men. “The time spent at the helm is limited to 30 minutes because of the cold,” explained Francis. “The wind generated by the boat has been bitterly cold since this morning. We have put our gloves, hats and fleeces back on and we have turned on the heater in the cupboard where the foulies hang.” They are back into the traditional Southern seascape with the milky, cotton-wool clouds and seas that allow them to speed along smoothly. IDEC SPORT will be diving down there as far as it is possible to go while watching out for ice, “maybe down to 59 or 60 degrees south,” added Joyon. It is therefore still quite possible that they will round the tip of South America on Tuesday and will be celebrating Christmas in the Atlantic.