Attempting to break the Jules Verne Trophy record, the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V crossed the southern tip of the Americas and with it the last of the three capes, on the 23rd December at 7:50:30am (Paris time). This comes after 30 days, 22 hours, 18 minutes, and 48 seconds at sea.
By posting a time of 10 days 15 hours seven minutes and 15 seconds on the Pacific, Loïck Peyron and his men leave to Bruno, the elder brother of the skipper, the absolute record for the distance. The close proximity of a return in the Atlantic and the prospect of accelerating prevail on any award for the fourteen sailors on board.
That's it! After hectic days and conditions that did not leave any time for resting, the men of the Maxi trimaran were waiting for this famous and mythical Cape Horn as a reward. After the wind returned and the high pressure ridge yesterday, good news falls on board. However, the rookies won’t get the right to get their souvenir photo, the sea conditions being too rough close to the rock and a very strong wind implied an offshore passage for the giant multihull.
The symbol was still there with half of the crew getting into the sought-after circle of Cape Horners. From the beginning, a month ago off Ushant, the interval time between Cape Leeuwin and the way out of the Pacific is the first one not to fall into the hands of Loïck Peyron and his crew, the crew of Orange II Bruno Peyron remain holders with eight days 18 hours and eight minutes, it is to say oneday 20 hours 59 minutes and 15 seconds better. For the wink, we can note that on board, Florent Chastel* remains the fastest man crossing the Pacific. Otherwise, it is a troop leader in good shape that commented on the event of the day:
'It was not possible to sail closer to Cape Horn, sea conditions are already not bad here we are, and are even stronger next to the Rock. The fresh applicants are granted Cape Horners and they are thrilled! Conditions now allow us to get going on a little bit more than what was possible a week ago or ten days, because today we have only one day in advance. '
Get going, the word is out and back after being confronted with ice depression at first, followed by a ridge and the absence of wind in a second, having put aside any notion of performance. But on board, we know that there is still an ocean to cross before the Grail and no one would think to put aside the critical management of the machine. Their role is to look at the clock but above all to continue protect the boat as they have done so far.
With winds recorded at up to 40 knots last night, the elements reminded them of the facts. Until tomorrow, the sailors will continue flirting with the border of the Pacific pursuing a road heading east, to South Georgia, waiting for the opportune time to jibe. Then will ring the deliverance bell back in the Atlantic and return to a north route to the Equator:
'The wind will ease off all day today and reinforce tomorrow, North West of a depression centered on South Georgia. Once we will have gibed, we will be able to get to the North and warmer conditions. I might reach the Equator faster than I have ever done. It should be done in better times than Franck Cammas and his crew, and the all-time record held by Bruno, my brother. '
A potentially ideal scenario for the coming days, as Marcel van Triest, onshore router detailed at mid-day: 'They will have a sea relatively tough and will have to make this detour by South Georgia. Tomorrow morning, they will jibe an head north. This will be the day of the big changes. For now, they should be very fast until Uruguay. Then there will be a transition off Brazil. They should reach the Equator in seven to eight days, which is a very decent time. In the end, it is not impossible to approach the 45 days ... '
Record to beat : To become the new record holder, the Maxi Banque Populaire V has to be back no later than Monday, January 9, 2012 at 5pm 15min and 34s (Paris time).
Reference time : Groupama 3 (Franck Cammas) - 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds
Cape Horn crossing time: 23rd December 2011 – 7pm 50 minutes 30 seconds Average seabed speed since the start : 26.7 knots Lead on the Cape Horn crossing record : 535 milles
Sailing time since the start: 30 days 22 hours 18 minutes 48 seconds or one day six hours 16 minutes less than Groupama 3 in 2010.
Pacific crossing Time: 10 days 15 hours seven minutes 15 seconds or one day 20 hours 59 minutes 15 seconds longer than Orange II, which holds the record of this stretch in eight days 18 hours eight minutes.
Lead/delay at 4pm: 552.1 milles on the record's time
Just passed Cape Horn at dawn local time, though being over 100miles south of it, there was no chance to see tip of South America.
Brian Thompson, Maxi Banque Populaire V -
This is my fourth time around, and although it would have been great to see the land, I am just happy to be back in the Atlantic Ocean, with the boat in fine shape, and a good weather forecast for the next few day.
We had a celebration of a delicious and perfectly chilled bottle of Champagne Mumm, some chorizo sausage and our last two loaves of bread. A feast indeed. We almost certainly now have the record for the widest rounding of the Cape by any racing yacht, to go with our likely furthest south for any racing multihull at 62S!
But of course, the serious, big one today, is that we on Banque Populaire have sailed faster from Europe to Cape Horn, rounding all the three 'Great Capes', than any vessel before…30 days and 22 hours...that is one day and six hours ahead of Groupama 3.
Now sailing East still, as we are not going to make the classic turn north at Cape Horn, but continue on this latitude to take advantage of the strong downwind conditions of a low pressure to our East. Once closer to the low, we can gybe and get a long way North in its good winds.
Currently we have 35 knots of wind and we are sailing with two reefs, small gennaker and staysail at 30 to 35 knots of speed, temp 6C..back to a normal day at the office in the Southern Ocean!
Normally rounding Cape Horn indicates a dramatic change in the weather - flatter seas, clearer skies, warmer waters, but for us no change for a couple of days. But they should be fast days, where we can put some miles in the bank over Groupama3, and that's what counts..
Going on deck now for four more hours of high speed surfing!