From records to victories, the Maxi Banque Populaire V carries on expanding her collection of brilliant exploits, which can sometimes be source of great pride. Thus, for the first time, Banque Populaire goes down in the history of one of the most prestigious racing events, a sailing myth: the Rolex Fastnet Race.
By covering the 608 miles distance between the Solent and the famous Irish lighthouse in 32 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds, Loïck Peyron and his men are dropping a record set in 1999 by ... Loïck Peyron himself.
Bound to British accuracy, it was twelve on the dot last Sunday when traditional canons freed the fleet of 300 boats in the Solent. In front of competitors’ bows of all sizes: 608 miles of an exceptional journey and a quest, the Fastnet Rock in the Irish Sea. On board the Maxi Banque Populaire V, the largest sailing boat engaged in this unique armada, the objective was clear: to be the fastest and keep competitors, albeit smaller but still menacing, in awe. More used to challenge the clock without any other opponent that time itself, the confrontation sailing mode was a rare but very exciting opportunity that the thirteen men on board did not fail to seize: 'We had already seen that our competitor, Gitana 11 was doing fine at the Record SNSM. Once again, they were not far away from us, even on our back. This has forced us trying things we probably would not have ?without this motivation. We really raced and we learnt a lot about the boat. '
Once the Fastnet Lighthouse was passed in the lead this Monday morning, the maxi trimaran completed the course at 8pm 48 minutes and 46 seconds (French time), after 32 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds of a race conducted in... English weather conditions and whose lack of strength was rather unfavourable to the establishment of a new reference time: 'We started with very good weather which allowed us to make a nice start in the Solent. We sailed upwind on the first half of the race. We had proper English conditions with light wind. And then fortunately, turning once again the Fastnet - a nice lighthouse we definitely see a lot lately - we finally got 30 knots of wind to go down to the finish line. '
Happy to finish and always ready to give vent to his legendary enthusiasm Loïck Peyron remembered 'his' history with the Rolex Fastnet Race and the paradox of the day: 'Today is a bad and a good day for me! The record set in 1999 with Fujicolor was just beaten. Since then, it had never been bothered. The good news is that it is the great crew I get to set the tempo to that has beaten it. It is not going too far! It really is an incredible pleasure to sail with those exceptional men on board this great machine. When you have an orchestra like this, music can only be good '.
In a few hours, the Maxi Banque Populaire V will go back offshore to set sail towards her home port of Lorient and her base. Out of water in the week, she will undergo a complete check-up before starting to prepare for her major offshore adventure, the Jules Verne Trophy which Loïck Peyron and his men will attack later this year.
Maxi Banque Populaire V time on the Rolex Fastnet Race 2011: 32 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds at an average speed of 18.5 knots (awaiting validation by the WSSRC)
Previous record established on the race by Fujicolor in 1999: 40 hours and 27 minutes
Record established on the course set by Playstation in 2002: 35 hours 17 minutes 14 seconds
Maxi Banque Populaire V website