As they end their 30th day at sea, Cape Horn is only 300 miles from the bows of IDEC SPORT. Since the middle of the night, the progress made by Francis Joyon and his men has slowed in an area of lighter winds. This makes it rather tricky to estimate at what time they will round the cape and leave the Pacific.
Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel and Boris Herrmann are beginning their 31st day. The six men have been fighting their way across the oceans for a month now on the IDEC SPORT trimaran. The result is so far positive, as they are 230 miles ahead of the record time set in 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew of 13 aboard a boat that was 8m longer than IDEC SPORT. That in itself is quite an achievement.
This morning, IDEC SPORT is only 300 miles from the legendary Horn. At what time will Francis Joyon’s men cross the famous longitude of 67°16 west? That is the big question for today, as since the middle of the night, as expected, they have been slowed by an area of low pressure to their south. Speeds are close to 20 knots than 30 and they are having to work hard to gain each tenth of a mile on their way to the Horn.
At the Horn this evening
Rounding the Horn will mark the end of the Southern Ocean and the return to the Atlantic. There are two factors to consider here. On the one hand, it feels like their on their way home and secondly, it will all be determined in the Atlantic, “where luck comes into play and there is the need to sail well,” as Gwénolé Gahinet explained yesterday.
During this same session, Francis Joyon explained that rounding the Horn was for this evening and will involve sailing close to the coast of Patagonia. To remain ahead of Banque Populaire, they have to be at the Horn by 0042hrs UTC tonight. So, this morning they have 18 hours or so to cover 300 miles, requiring average speeds of 16.6 knots on the Great Circle route. But whether they are a few hours ahead or behind won’t change much. Whatever happens today, the outcome of this attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy will be decided in the final third between the tip of South America and the finishing line between Ushant and the Lizard. And they are still right to remain hopeful.
After 30 days and 3hrs of racing, at 0500hrs UTC on Tuesday 22nd December, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 20.1 knots at 57°16 S, 76°56 W, 300 miles from Cape Horn. 232 miles ahead of the record pace.