Brian Thompson* is a crew member aboard the Maxi Trimiran Banque Populaire V, and reports from off the coast of Brazil on day 7 of their Jules Verne record attempt. **
Another hot night here off the coast of Brasil. Sailing downwind with the full main and biggest gennaker. There are a few rain clouds around, but nothing like last night at this same time of day, when we were stopped for hours in heavy rain. So we are making relatively steady progress, at around 15 to 23 knots, depending on the wind speed.
As you might have seen though, our progression towards Cape Town is hardly spectacular, and unfortunately we have more time of going slowly and not in the right direction, before we get a low pressure to send us eastwards. So do not expect us to break any records from the equator to Cape of Good Hope. The dream scenario is to be able to sail directly from here as Orange2 and Idec did, when they set their respective fully crewed and solo RTW records. But that happens rarely and the rest of the time, we have to take the long way around the St Helena High, and now we are even going the longer way than most. Such is sailing, and we are just racing as fast as we can to do those extra miles quickly.
Right now, the moon and Venus are rising in the East, its too hot for a Tshirt in the middle of the night, I have just had a bowl of porridge, and I am on watch in 100 minutes. Later today the sun will be directly overhead, as our latitude will be the same as the declination of the sun - so it will be a very hot one!
What is it like on board? To describe it to a non sailor it would be like a mix between driving in a F1 Qualifier each day, together with a 2 hour gym session daily, whilst touring the worlds most remote islands and undertaking a French immersion course all at the same time. Its certainly a special experience and I have been very lucky to be part of the team. Right now off to change to the genoa to sail round another rain cloud, then it will be on watch, so that’s all for now folks, a demain.
1730 29 Jan, Day 7.25 13S 34W
Its been a bit frustrating not being to get online but is working again!
Just going to do a quick update, as there is a queue!
So we are now having fabulous sailing down the coast of Brasil, except for a slow and very intensive period escaping from a squall system last night. The wind is 15 to 18 knots from the East with a wind angle of 105 to 110, we have full main and genoa (known as the solent on board) and are just on the edge of flying the main hull most of the time.
Apart from in those squalls last night, the main trimming is changing from the curved foil in the leeward hull in the regular breeze to the main daggerboard in the central hull in the lighter patches when boatspeed is less than 20 knots. Otherwise its intense driving; keeping the boat just in the groove, and trimming the traveller to keep the main hull just kissing the water.
These are the days to enjoy and remember for the long period in the south to come. The stars at night are absolutely incredible; I thought it was good near the Canaries, but even clearer now with new things appearing in the south as we head south at 10 degrees of latitude a day. Last night it was the Clouds of Magellan, other galaxies we that we can see from our planet. Thierry Chabignet was joking that maybe out there is another boat trying to sail around its planet..
Otherwise, people are having washes and shaving in these calmer conditions, Jeremie and Manu have gone left what they call Magnum PI by leaving a moustache. Some thought it was more Mariachi band
*British sailor Brian Thompson has broken 25 world sailing records. His feats include sailing with Steve Fossett for 11 years, the 2001 EDS Atlantic Challenge, 2003 Transat Jaques Vabre, the volvo Ocean Race on ABN Amro One, skippering the 'Artemis' IMOCA 60, the Vendee Globe in 2009, to name just a few. Brian is also an Ambassador for Toe in the Water charity.
**Banque Populaire V set off this morning from the Port du Chateau in Brest and crossed the start line off Ushant at 11h11m45sec (UTC) for the Maxi’s first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. Pascal Bidegorry and his 13 crew have to be back in less than 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds in order to beat the record time established by Groupama 3 in March 2010.