At the start of their 21st day of racing, Francis Joyon and his elite crew are preparing to leave the low-pressure system that propelled them so far at high speed, allowing them to sail for eleven days on the same tack and to set several records in the Southern Ocean. As they cross theInternational Date Line and move to degrees of longitude West, IDEC SPORT is tackling a transition zone, meaning that a gybe is imminent to join another low heading towards the Cape Horn.
“We’re already in the Pacific, although it’s hard to grasp. The low that has been with is ggoing to stop here. We’re heading towards the north and then gybing to come down onto another low further ahead,” explained Francis Joyon today with the trimaran heading towards the NE in NW’ly winds that are growing lighter. “We’ve already gone to full sail. We haven’t seen that for a long time. We’ll use the gennaker during the night until we get to the low and hoist the smaller sails again.”
At 52° S, 500 miles SE of Stewart Island to the south of New Zealand, they are all enjoying this short breather. “Even if we’re completely confused about the dates and times, and we’re in No Man’s Land, we know we’ll shortly be getting closer to Brest!” added Bernard Stamm. “It’s incredible to have sailed such a straight line. Everything fell into place for us. After this transition zone, we’ll pick up some more wind and get back on a SSE’ly heading. It’s looking good all the way to the Horn, even if we’ll have more manoeuvres to do,” added the Swiss sailor.
Francis, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Sébastien Audigane have stabilised their lead at around 950 miles over the time set by Banque Populaire V five years ago, when she was sailed by a crew of 14.