At 2200hrs yesterday evening, Francis Joyon’s men passed close to the Falklands. This morning they have picked up some more wind and speed. To beat the record, they have to sail at least 500 miles per day towards the finish, so it can still be done.
The Horn is now behind them, but the men on IDEC SPORT will always remember it. We saw the joy of the new Cape Horners, Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet in the photos sent back yesterday. No doubt they will all have been thrilled to see the Falklands too, as they sailed close to the islands, only ten miles or so away.
This morning Francis Joyon and his troops are heading east at more than 30 knots (32.5 at 0520hrs), thus matching what they joked about yesterday referring to the boat as “30 knots or nothing”. The weather situation is far from simple. They have to make the most of the wind associated with the lows coming out of Argentina, while attempting to make good headway northwards… and avoiding the sticky patches of the St. Helena high to starboard. So, for the moment, IDEC SPORT has to climb the stairs towards the north carefully changing tack.
A goal of 500 miles per day
After the tricky rounding of the Horn, the numbers have been up and down concerning the advance or deficit in comparison to the record-holder. 48 hours ago, IDEC SPORT was 250 miles ahead, while this morning they are 240 behind. When we see how fast hundreds of miles can be gained or lost, this does not represent much. Particularly seeing that Loïck Peyron’s crew had a very good day in this part of the voyage. These variations confirm how difficult the task is, which makes it all the more exciting. We should not forget that in the history of the Jules Verne Trophy only one out of two attempts ever succeeds.
They now have 6500 miles left to sail and need to do this in 13 days, if they want to smash the record. That represents clocking up at least 500 miles per day towards the finish, or in other words around 21 knots of VMG. In the South Atlantic, this is not going to be easy, as the situation remains complex, but further north, the situation could be more favourable, meaning we can look forward to a fortnight of suspense.
After 32 days and 3 hrs of sailing, at 0530hrs on Thursday 24th December, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 32.5 knots at 52°15 S, 55°15 W, 90 miles east of the Falklands. 244 miles behind the record.