Around 7:20am (Paris time) on Sunday morning, the 11 day 21 hour 48 minute and 18 second* point was reached since leaving Ushant for the crew of Maxi Banque Populaire V when they sailed across the Cape of Good Hope.
This brought them to the end of the second intermediate segment of the 2011 Jules Verne Trophy while also allowing them to shatter the time the was previously set. With some 8,245 miles behind them, Loick Peyron and his men set a second record to their list of successes in a few days, and are now sailing in the Indian Ocean.
The first of the three Capes that have to be crossed on this non-stop round the world race is already behind them since early morning. After a tough start, a rapid descent to the Canaries,a slight slowdown in the Doldrums, an equator crossing made in record time, followed by a straight acceleration with a nice bypass to avoid the center of the St. Helena Highs, the Team Banque Populaire has just hit a new reference time.
By improving the time established by Franck Cammas by more than one day, the intermediate period is thus busted by the incredible power of the blue trimaran. Sunday being a busy day at the Paris Boat Show, Loïck Peyron took advantage of an extraordinary video conference to come back on the impression provided by this new accomplishment:
'This record is almost indecent! A few decades ago, twelve days was the time set by Charlie Barr to cross the Atlantic, a record he held for a long time. And today, it is almost the time it took us to get to the Southern Africa. However, we should not forget that we are sailing on an extraordinary machine. Banque Populaire is an amazing tool that uses the intelligence of men and the work of a team. What we have just achieved would not have been possible three years ago. We had to optimize the boat and earn on an incredible experience.'
Also reached earlier on, during his stand-by watch, Brian Thompson came back on these 12 incredible days of racing since leaving Ushant:
'We are all really happy with our position and the time we have on the record. Everybody is in good shape and it is a very pleasant atmosphere on board. It’s great to be sailing altogether ahead of Groupama’s record. We have the perfect weather and Loick, Juan and Marcel, on the shore, have taken us on an excellent route, always in the wind, and on deck we have worked hard at sailing fast and safely. We have an excellent watch rhythm looking like choreography of people at every change! We have achieved 25% of the current record time, which maybe even more if we are quicker than 48 days! It is very exciting!'
Now sailing in the Indian Ocean, the Maxi Banque Populaire V is now heading towards the Kerguelen Islands. Still benefiting from a westerly wind, the Maxi trimaran is faced with a difficult sea requiring the sailors to slow down a little bit. The instructions given by the skipper are clear: we do not exceed 30 knots!
'We finally jibed a few hours ago and we are now sailing on starboard. We did not maneuver since the Canaries, which is also a record! The sea is very rough and we have to fight at the helm to slow the boat down as it is very intense for her right now. We are going along a front and should be arriving around the Kerguelen Islands by tomorrow night. '
Particularly spoiled by the weather for the past twelve days, Loïck Peyron and the weather cell forecast a slowdown in the next hours. Still stirred by the same stream, they are expecting a more difficult passage around the Kerguelen Islands, added to the sensitive presence of ice on the control screens:
'The sky is blue on one side and gray on the other! The objective is to get closer to the front and wait for it to turn. The conditions will relent and it will become very light near the Kerguelen, we do not know yet whether we will pass them by the north or south. What is known is that the water temperature is almost negative in the West. There is a big area oficebergs after the Kerguelen. We will head north enough to avoid it. We should reach Lewin in less than a week; and we will probably leave the Indian Ocean in six days, with probably a new record at stake. However, it can be really light at the Kerguelen and a bit more difficult behind. It is first of all the state of sea which makes us being in advance, and for now it is going against us. It should normally get favorable to reach Lewin.'
*Subject to approval and ratification by theWSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council).