Thomas Coville, skipper of maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim', July 4, 2017 NYC ( Photo © George Bekris )

Thomas Coville, skipper of maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim’, July 4, 2017 NYC ( Photo © George Bekris )

 

THOMAS COVILLE Beats the North Atlantic solo record and also comes in under the 5 day mark.

4 DAYS 11 HOURS 10 MINUTES 23 SECONDS *

The World Tour recorder crossed the North Atlantic in less than 5 days. The skipper of the trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ , Thomas Coville, set a new record North Atlantic solo crossing record.
After the world record solo this winter, Thomas Coville becomes the fastest on the North Atlantic as well. The skipper of Sodebo Ultim crossed the finish line at Cape Lizard (South Point of England) today, Sunday 15 July at 7:29 pm (French time).

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ © YVAN ZEDDA / SODEBO

His time was 4 days 11 hours 10 minutes 23 seconds * (subject to WSSRC validation): a historic journey time, as the solo sailor falls below the 5-day mark. With this exceptional solo time, It beats 15 hours 45 min 47s the very recent time of Francis Joyon realized the 13 of July.

Distance traveled on the water: 3039 nautical miles – that is 5628 km
Average speed: 28.35 knots (26.87 knots on the orthodromy)

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim' prior to leaving NYC to set North Atlantic Record ( Photo © George Bekris )

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ prior to leaving NYC to set North Atlantic Record ( Photo © George Bekris )

 

After crossing the line, Thomas Coville will remain all night at sea with his team who will have joined him on board to convey the boat to his home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer.
Sodebo Ultim ‘will arrive at the entrance of the Channel of the Trinity on Mer (Morbihan) Sunday afternoon around 16h00 for an arrival at the pontoon at 17h00.

 

Landmarks
Departure Ambrose Light in front of New York: Tuesday July 11 at 8 hours 18 min 37s French time
Arrival at Cap Lizard: Sunday 15 July at 19 hours 29 minutes French
time Crossing the North Atlantic alone: ​​4 days 11 hours 10 minutes 23 seconds *
3039 miles traveled at an average of 28.35 knots

 

TROPHEE JULES VERNE

 

Francis Joyon on IDEC SPORT (Photo courtesy IDEC SPORT)

Francis Joyon on IDEC SPORT (Photo © IDEC Sport)

December 9th, 2015

The happy faces on the sailors during this morning’s video conference live from IDEC SPORT were a pleasure to see. Francis Joyon’s crew is in the process of seeing their gamble pay off and ending up on the right side of the area of low pressure coming down from Madagascar. The big, red trimaran is smoking: 450 miles regained in two and a half days.

Less than 350 miles behind the record pace in comparison with 800 on Sunday, IDEC SPORT is clocking up the miles at very high speed. Deep in the Southern Ocean, Francis Joyon and his crew of five have put their foot down, clearly stating their goal: to attempt to stay above 30 knots for as long as possible and weave their way around the Great Circle Route low down in the Furious Fifties between 52 and 54 degrees south.

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT in the Indian Ocean (Photo © IDEC Sport)

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT in the Indian Ocean (Photo © IDEC Sport)

As fast as possible on the shortest route
This is not some miracle that has suddenly happened, but the result of a carefully thought out strategy developed with their onshore router, Marcel van Triest. According to him, the risk of encountering icebergs is not as great as 48 hours ago, when a 150m long monster was spotted on the radar. The race track looks clearer now and they can get the speed back up.
So they are on the attack, sailing as fast as possible on the shortest route, even if this means diving down to where no multihull has gone during such a record attempt. Yesterday evening, IDEC SPORT gybed at 54°31 south, after passing to the south of the volcanic Heard Island. “It’s a snow-capped volcano, which is still active. We hoped to see the smoke, but we didn’t get to see anything,” said Francis Joyon. Marcel Van Triest – with five round the world voyages under his belt – remembers that during the first Whitbread and Vendée Globe races, when there were no Ice Gates, a few monohulls sailed as far down. But no multihulls. So, in short, this is a long way south and it is very cold. Outside, your hands and face freeze, and they have to change over at the helm very often, sometimes every half hour. Inside the boat, in spite of the very basic heater, fitted above all to get rid of some of the dampness, it is between 6 and 8 degrees. However, in spite of the harsh conditions, the sailors on IDEC SPORT have a smile on their face. A beaming smile, as it looks like after their hard efforts, their gamble has paid off.
On the right side of the Low
The race against the area of low pressure is being won. That’s today’s good news, as Francis Joyon explained, “The area of low pressure has slowed down, while we managed to go faster than expected, so things are looking up. We are in with a very good chance of making it to the other side of this tropical low.” To be more precise about the movement of the low, it is expected to move behind them on Thursday evening. “Unless they have a major technical problem, they should get ahead, and that is almost certain now,” declared Marcel Van Triest this afternoon.
Francis Joyon added, laughing, “In any case, we have to pull this one off, as otherwise Bernard (Stamm) has threatened to turn us around and come back!” The Swiss sailor made it clear he was joking and that he won’t need to carry out his threat anyhow, as the boat is sailing at 100% of her potential… and the sailors are feeling very upbeat today. In two and a half days, the troops on the red boat have cut their deficit in comparison to the record pace in half, regaining 450 miles. Around a thousand miles from the longitude of Cape Leeuwin that they are expecting to cross early on Friday morning, they are now only 350 miles behind the record run.
450 miles regained
It is true that they are not going to be able to keep on making such gains and at some point in a few days from now, they are going to have to climb back up to fifty degrees south, if we look at the weather charts. But they have already accomplished something. While the end of last week was difficult in terms of the numbers, the start of this week has been very positive and exciting. “When we are at the helm, we remain focused and the goal is to keep up a good VMG, with a compromise between speed and bearing,” the German sailor, Boris Herrmann explained. He went on to talk about the food they were getting on board. In general, they have all they require, but the freeze-dried stuff doesn’t taste that good “while the bits of ham that Bernard prepared are well received.”
Gwénolé Gahinet, the youngest member of the crew and a rookie as far as the Southern Ocean is concerned, feels positive too. Apart from his obvious talents as a sailor, he has also been using software to identify sea birds to teach the crew about what they can see. “Here, under the protection, it’s a bit like a gathering in the pub,” joked Francis Joyon during the live link-up, encouraging his crewmen to take the microphone. It shows what the master of IDEC SPORT is like. He willingly shares the microphone and his experience of adventures at sea. This adventure is up there with the best. The boat is at 100% of her ability, the weather strategy has worked out (more gybes at 1200 and 1400hrs UTC), high speeds and all clear ahead… all the lights are on green for the big red boat.
In short

After 17 and a half days at sea, at 1430hrs UTC on Wednesday 9th December, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 31.4 knots at 53°55 south and 87°46 east. Bearing: east (86°) 345 miles behind the record pace.
The crew
The international crew on IDEC SPORT includes just six men: Francis Joyon (FRA), Bernard Stamm (SUI), Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), Alex Pella (ESP), Clément Surtel (FRA) and Boris Herrmann (GER)
Start
IDEC SPORT set off at 02:02:22 on Sunday 22nd November.
The time to beat
Loïck Peyron and his crew (Banque Populaire) with a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
Deadline
To smash the Jules Verne Trophy record, IDEC SPORT has to be back across the line before 1544hrs on Wednesday 6th January.
A peek on IDEC Sport (Photo © IDEC Sport)

A peek on IDEC Sport (Photo © IDEC Sport)

Lending Club 2 World Record in  2015  From Cowes UK toDinard, France  (Photo by Mark Lloyd Images )

Lending Club 2 World Record in 2015 From Cowes UK to Dinard, France (Photo by Mark Lloyd Images )

Lending Club Sailing  sets new world record for Cowes UK to Dinard, France

A NEW WORLD RECORD!! of 5h, 14 mins and 7 seconds.
Co-skippers Renaud Laplanche and Ryan Breymaier have set a new speed sailing record onboard maxi trimaran Lending Club 2 from Cowes, UK to Dinard, France. The new time, to be ratified by the WSSRC, takes 9 minutes and 25 seconds off the previous record.

Photo credits : Mark Lloyd Images and Quin Bisset

Lending Club World Record 2015 Mark Lloyd 11076826_603744976395595_3273191455476853328_o 11103121_603744946395598_993298680630371410_o Lending Club Record Cowes to Dinard 2015 Quin Bisset Lending Club World Record 2015 Mark Lloyd Lending Club World Record 2015 Mark Lloyd  2

5h 14 mins and 7 seconds waiting for ratification from the WSSRC. The old record was held by Brian Thompson and the crew of MAIDEN.

Ran (Photo by George Bekris)

Ran (Photo by George Bekris)

 

The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.

Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.

RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:

“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ‘600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20’s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”

For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.

IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.

 Sojana (Photo courtesy of International Maxi Association)

Sojana (Photo courtesy of International Maxi Association)

With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.

In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.

The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.

Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.

There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.

Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.

Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”

There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.

IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.

“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”

 

Icarus Racing (Photo by George Bekris)

Icarus Racing (Photo by George Bekris)

The Hydroptère Project Boats (Image courtesy of The Hydroptère Project)

The Hydroptère Project Boats (Image courtesy of The Hydroptère Project)

 

The Hydroptère project is not limited to the performance of the 60-feet trimaran which has beaten two world speed records at an average speed of over 50 knots in 2009 in the Mediterranean. Alain Thébault and his team decided to extend the limits of the project and planned to develop two new boats, with the ultimate objective of sailing around the world in approximately 40 days on l’Hydroptère maxi. 


To reach this objective, the team with the help of the ”papés” (retired engineers) and of their scientific adviser, The Swiss Technological Institute in Lausanne, decided to follow the same experimental process as that employed by Alain Thébault in the development of l’Hydroptère and to consider an intermediate step, that being to build on a reduced scale a test model i.e. l’Hydroptère.ch.

At the same time in Lorient, l’Hydroptère is in a shipyard and she should be back in the water in spring.

l’Hydroptère.ch will serve as a lab boat whose main purpose is to test geometries and behaviours in varied real conditions for the development of  l’Hydroptère maxi.

As a Swiss-French project l’Hydroptère.ch is being built in two shipyards, one in Brittany and one in Switzerland. She should be launched beginning of summer 2010.

Groupama 3 Crew Off Cape Horn (Photo Courtesy Of Team Groupama)

Groupama 3 Crew Off Cape Horn (Photo Courtesy Of Team Groupama)

 

 On rounding Cape Horn at 1830 UTC this Thursday 4th March, Franck Cammas and his men have retained a lead of 175 miles over the reference time, which equates to 8 hours 55 minutes. However, the beginning of this final stage of the round the world will be complicated for the giant trimaran to negotiate, at least for the first few hours of this Atlantic ascent … 

The rather peculiar conditions, which have been reigning over the Pacific, have not enabled Groupama 3 to beat the WSSRC record for traversing the largest ocean in the world. For sure there was wind, but too much, to the extent that the crew was forced to make a big detour to the North to avoid the worst of the seas generated by a nasty low. However, it proved necessary for Franck Cammas and his men to negotiate a rather light transition zone prior to approaching the coast of Chile… In the end, the crew devoured nearly 5,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean (Southern Tasmania to Cape Horn) in 8 days 19 hours 07 minutes, which amounts to just 59 additional minutes in relation to the reference time set by Orange 2 in 2005 (8d 18h 08′).

 

Stan Honey As Team Groupama Rounds Cape Horn (Photo Courtesy of Stan Honey)

Stan Honey As Team Groupama Rounds Cape Horn (Photo Courtesy of Stan Honey)

 

However, there is still 7,000 miles to go before they reach the finish line off Ushant: Bruno Peyron and his crew took over eighteen days to climb up the Atlantic. And even though Groupama 3 is still a few miles ahead of the reference time right now, she is set to lose the majority of this advantage over the coming days. The headwinds reigning over the East coast of Patagonia will make a serious dent in the giant trimaran’s capital.

 

Loic Le Mingnon With Cape Horn In The Background (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

Loic Le Mingnon With Cape Horn In The Background (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

 

Back in 2005 the champion Jules Verne Trophy catamaran had a superb climb to the equator (8d 05h 36′), but she struggled to make Ushant once she got into the northern hemisphere (9d 11h 15′). As such Groupama 3 is still on track to improve on the round the world record: fifty days is still within grasp…

Groupama 3’s time between Tasmania and Cape Horn
8d 19h 7′, or 59′ more than the WSSRC record set by Orange 2 in 2005

Reference time between Ushant and Cape Horn
Groupama 3 (2010): 32d 04h 34′
Lead over Orange 2’s time (32d 13h 29′ in 2005): 8h 55′

 

Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 (Photo courtesy Team Groupama)

Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 (Photo courtesy Team Groupama)

The Nigel Irens Design Majan, Skippered by Paul Stanbridge Under Sail (Photo by)

The Nigel Irens Design Majan, Skippered by Paul Stanbridge Under Sail (Photo by)

Oman Sail’s A100 trimaran ‘Majan’ has reached their second stopover in Cape Town, South Africa, after another epic leg full of drama, myths and one legendary Cape. The Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race is a new race, conceived by OC Events, that links the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia, and Majan is tracing out the new course ahead of the first official edition planned for spring 2012.

French sailor Sidney Gavignet will be joining Majan’s crew in Cape Town and will sail onboard the new A100 for the final three stages of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race. A very experienced offshore sailor, Sidney has just been announced as the skipper of Majan for the next edition of the solo Route du Rhum, starting from Saint-Malo in France this November.

majan

Paul Standbridge and his five crew on board Majan left the paradise of the Maldives on 16th February for the 4,200m second leg, taking 13 days and 6 hours to reach the longitude of Cape Aguhlas at 16:02:57 GMT on Monday (1.3.10) marking the finish of leg two.

The big dive South proved eventful aboard Majan, after thousands of miles at sea, a crossing of the Equator with due respects paid to Neptune, a grinding halt due to the threat of a hurricane, Cape Agulhas in her wake, and up to 50 knots on the final night speeding Majan to the dockside below Table Mountain with her ‘memories tank’ brimming.

storm gelane

A fierce Indian Ocean weather system – Hurricane Gelane, to be precise – played with the sailors’ nerves and forced them to take counter-intuitive measures. Paul Standbridge and his troops had no idea they would be forced to pull the handbrake on hard in order to avoid nature’s wrath on their way South. But their caution paid dividends as they avoided the worst of the hurricane until she was downgraded to a tropical storm.

A cry of liberation welcomed the weather report downloaded last Wednesday as the tropical storm was replaced by a perfect breeze under glorious skies. “With 20 knots under our wings, amidst deep blue ocean rollers and a bright sunny sky, we were back on the quest like Knights of the Round Table, going South,” wrote Covell. But Majan was entering a whole new world on this challenging Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race course, getting the first hints of the feared and revered Southern Ocean. As Mohsin described it: “The waves have changed from being those ‘bumps in the road’, to large show-jumps, and now they are looking more like the side of a stable block!” By Monday (1.3.10), the crew were only 150 miles away from Cape Agulhas – the southernmost tip of the African continent (read below), separating the Atlantic and Indian oceans that marked the end of the second leg. This cape is set in a famously treacherous part of the world navigation-wise, and one of the most significant landmarks of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race.

mohsin

All weather considerations put aside, arguably the most important aspect of the second leg has been the “transformation”, witnessed by media crew Mark Covell, of Mohsin Al Busaidi whose metamorphosis into a pure offshore racer now seems complete. “I asked him how he was doing,” Mark reported, and Mohsin replied on behalf of the boat rather than himself, “thinking the language of a sailor and dealing in the international currency of boat speed – his conversion is almost complete.” This episode marks a real milestone in the life of the campaign – a year on since Mohsin became the first Arab to circumnavigate the globe non-stop, and earning his way into the great confederacy of wave chasers is a moment to be proud of! The new A100 multihull not only has a great pedigree – designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret, constructed by Boatspeed and assembled in Salalah, Oman, under the expertise of Offshore Challenges’ Neil Graham – she was created for fully crewed inshore and offshore races whilst providing a training platform for up and coming novice sailors, as well as the option to be campaigned single-handed, all within a one-design rule.

Majan

As Majan skipper Paul Standbridge commented: “This has also been a good sea trial for Majan. We have just safely completed ten thousand sea miles [Note to Editors: since the launch of Majan last year]. We have had some damage and some wear and tear but nothing we can’t fix on the water. Structurally she is sound, she has been a very good boat and we are very happy with her. I’m very pleased with the two trainees – Mohsin continues to steer the boat well and the most improved is Mohammed. Leg 3 will be a much tougher leg. We are moving into the Southern Ocean with consistently higher winds and consistently bigger waves. We’ll hopefully do more than 600-miles in a day. I’m looking forward to it!”

Oman Sail’s Majan will remain in Cape Town until 9th March, then depart on the 4,800-mile Leg 3 for Fremantle, Australia, via Cape Leeuwin. Unfortunately for Oman Sail’s 75-ft trimaran Musandam, a boat that took Oman Sail’s crew non-stop around the world a year ago, was forced to return to Muscat. The intention was for Musandam to complete the entire course but technical problems with the mainsail prompted the decision to return to their Muscat base early to undergo a refit before handing the multihull over to a new owner who will also be competing in the Route du Rhum.

Cape Agulhas, between two oceans
cape Lying 90 nautical miles southeast of Cape Town, Cape Aghulas (“Cape of the Needles”) is the official dividing point between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean – whose eastern border is marked by the southern tip of Tasmania. The region is notorious for being extremely dangerous for ships, notably because the Agulhas current (flowing from east to west) opposes the prevailing winds, allowing for the sudden formation of massive and steep waves… The area is now known as one of the high-risk zones as far as rogue waves (that can seem to come out of the blue and reach 30 metres in height) are concerned. Geologically speaking, Cape Aghulas’ mountainous formations are part of the Table Mountain Group. Its lighthouse was the second one built in the country, following a long series of shipwrecks, and was erected in 1848.
Geographical Coordinates: 34° 50’ S – 20° 00’ E

Banque Populaire Crew (Photo by B.STICHELBAUT/BPCE)

Banque Populaire Crew (Photo by B.STICHELBAUT/BPCE)

 

Since mid-November 2009, Pascal Bidegorry and his team have been looking at every weather opportunities to make an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. Despite this stand-by period, the Team Banque Populaire has not managed to find the proper conditions has thus decided to reschedule their crewed handed round the world attempt to next fall.
The disappointment is huge. Even though some weather forecasts were seriously considered for a while, some major deterioration of those systems made Pascal Bidegorry and his team forced to wait longer. Ronan Lucas, Team Manager, comes back on the decision of putting an end to the stand-by period: “The disappointment is huge even if we are only postponing it. Until mid-December we were quite demanding, and we were only looking at conditions that could at least bring us at equal time with Orange 2 at the Cape of Good Hope. We had three months ahead of us and it was normal to expect something better and put all the chances on our side to, first complete the round but also to achieve a performance. Then we watched the slightest opportunity, as we wanted to leave, but there were none, except “boat-breaking” ones and no way to leave under those conditions! We did not want to leave either in a spirit of “there we go, we’ll see what happens” neither with “double or quits” conditions.

We are responsible for this project and we do not want to jeopardize it. The shame is that we were sure to get an opportunity to leave even with less favorable conditions, but nothing turned up since December 15th. The boat was launched a year and half ago, the project is still new and we are lucky to have some time ahead and to be chasing records until 2012.”
No regrets regarding weather conditions

Responsibility therefore prevails today, even though the Maxi Banque Populaire V’s crew is disappointed. It is sure that everybody, crew, team and the public, would have liked to see the maxi trimaran chasing the Trophy, however, as Pascal Bidegorry reminds:  “our project is still new, and we will chase the Jules Verne trophy this year, the soonest. We have a schedule to follow, and have some public relations campaigns planned in the Mediterranean. We really could not go further in term of deadline. The only regret I have is that we did not get to sail this winter and that was the goal of the whole work provided by the team beforehand. We will carry on the work to prepare at its best our departure in a few months with even more determination.”
An extraordinary winter: weather analysis by Marcel van Triest, navigator of the Maxi Banque Populaire V

“We’ve had an exceptional winter in the Atlantic basin. For January for instance, we have to go back as far as 1985 to find similar conditions and we have to go even further back in time to find similar conditions to the ones encountered in December. This has resulted in very wet and windy conditions in the South of Europe as shown by the bad weather and flooding in places such as: Canary Islands, Madeira and Spain. Cold and snowy conditions in places likes England and the Southern United States are further examples of this type of winter.

One of the symptoms of this 2009 winter was the very southerly path of low pressure systems normally expected around the British Isles. This winter they rather came via the Azores and Madeira to continue their journey in the Mediterranean Therefore, the famous Azores high pressure area could never take hold and the tradewinds that depend on this have been weak and irregular. This situation has persisted throughout the winter. These tradewinds were not only weak and very far south; they were also difficult to reach. Most of the “mouse hole” situations we have looked at were forcing us to sail around low pressure systems off Portugal or the Canary Islands. The subsequent transition from these low pressure systems to the tradewinds was difficult at best.

Our philosophy for the stand-by was: get out of the gulf of Biscay in manageable conditions, reach the Canary Islands in quick conditions and then make a not too painful transition to the tradewinds. We can – at most – have a fairly good idea on the weather for the first eight to ten days. Having full uncertainty for the remaining 80% of the course, our philosophy was to arrive in Cape Town with an advantage over Orange 2. Unfortunately we did not find the right conditions for that. Furthermore with the known presence of ice quite far North this year, we could not afford to arrive in the Southern Ocean without the necessary “cushion” to sail a longer distance to avoid these dangers. Orange 2 did not have that same constraint at the time and she could sail a shorter route.

As for now, leaving for example on March 15-th, means that we would pass (if all goes well) Cape Horn in late April. To give an equivalent in terms of latitude, this would correspond, in our hemisphere, to sail in Scotland late October. You can be lucky if summer drags on a bit, but it could also be very challenging. Late in the season like this everything becomes more severe in the South and at Cape Horn there is no option to take another route. Somewhere, we need to know where to set the limits and not risk getting into a potentially dangerous situation.”

 

One certain thing is that, next fall, it is with a desire and an increased motivation that Pascal Bidégorry and his crew will return on an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. In the meantime, they will continue their training, as it must be said, this adventure’s departure is only postponed…