Less than a week after crossing the Cape of Good Hope and their entry into the Indian Ocean, the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V have crossed the Cape Leewin at 9:29am on Saturday 10th October, getting once again a new reference time between these two Capes.
Banque Populaire is attempting to set a new around the world non-stop sailing record for which the holder is awarded the prestigious Jules Verne Trophy.
After 17 days 23 hours 57 minutes and 18 seconds at sea since leaving Ushant, Loïck Peyron and his crew off the coast of Australia, are now sailing in the Pacific ocean, improving the time of Groupama 3 by 3 days 14 hours and 24 minutes and creating the best performance of all time .
Now more than three days in advance of the referenced time of the Jules Verne Trophy, the fourteen sailors aboard the giant trimaran greeted respectfully Cape Leewin, the second imposed Cape after Good Hope and before Cape Horn.
Recognizing the performance and obviously happy to see things going under the best possible conditions, Loïck Peyron appreciated this new act during an exceptional live video conference to the Paris Boat Show. 'We are obviously very pleased with this new record and the time itself is significant. It's like € 9.99 ... everything is done under 17 days 23 hours and not quite 18 days or 11 days 21 hours and 48 minutes for Good Hope.
These numbers are symbolic. But for now, conditions are not that favorable, the performance of this boat, however, is incredible! Yvan Ravussin was at the helm when crossing Cape Leewin, so it's a Swiss record! '
For Brian Thomson, this time to reach Cape Leewin is almost indecent : 'I had daydreamed before the trip about getting to Oz in 20 days, and how incredible that would be, but less than 18, just amazing, I never even considered it possible..'
Tricky 48 hours ahead
Far from dwelling on the day’s event, the skipper is already turned towards the future.
In this matter, the next few days will be tough. The Pacific Ocean in which the trimaran is now sailing won’t be that ‘pacific’. With a westerly wind gaining in intensity in a choppy sea, the boat is progressing between two different systems. On one side, a storm standing in front of them and on the other, an anticyclone which would impose a slowdown, a decision has to be made: performance and sailing ahead the clock was chosen.
'We are done with the Indian Ocean and have crossed the border with a pretty cool storm. We will jibe before the end of the day and get into the storm and a very choppy sea. We have to follow that path, because otherwise we will face a no-wind area in the anticyclone. However it might become a bit busty... By letting it advance a little, we should have the sea in the right direction.
'For the moment, it is not really swell that we have but little waves which frequency does not allow us to accelerate. By heading south a little, we should encounter an easier sea but the next few days won’t be fun. We will theoretically go down and relatively not far from the Macquarie Island, south of New Zealand. The conditions will be tough enough for the next 48 hours, and appear to be the strongest we will have to face since departure. '
Offshore of Australia, the toughest part of the race, since leaving Ushant on 21 November, is about to be faced by Loïck Peyron and his men.
But as Brian recalls : 'To finish first, first you have to finish' and we can be reassured that the crew will take good care of their mount !