DIRECT COURSE TO THE EQUADOR
While Spindrift 2 flies south in the slightly unstable trade winds, halfway between the Canaries and Cape Verde, the calmer conditions and less rough sea are allowing the boat and the sailors to dry out, to find a rhythm and get a little rest. After a gybe on the edge of the Azores High, which will be the only one in the entire North Atlantic, where Banque Populaire V had to make four, Spindrift 2 is now on a direct route to the equator and is 200 miles ahead.
17h GMT : 201 miles ahead the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 1842 miles
Average speed over 24 hours: 30 knots
Message from Dona Bertarelli
"Goodbye thermal layers, big oilies and boots. Hello Crocs, sunglasses and sunscreen! It's getting a bit warmer and it’s nice. We’re still flying in a fluctuating wind of around 20 knots – on a straight line to the equator. We could not have asked for a better trajectory.
This morning we passed two sailboats. One of them, skippered by Gerald Véniard, an old Figaro sailor, joined us by radio. He left the Canaries yesterday and is delivering a boat to the Caribbean. It's good to come across people, as, once we’re in the Indian and especially in the Pacific Ocean, it’ll be more rare, actually, exceptional."
Weather forecast by Jean-Yves Bernot :
Tuesday, November 24: A trade wind system, 22-25 knots, direction east-north-east, quite unstable. Spindrift 2 is feeling the wind shadow of the Canaries, which is cast far below the islands.
Wednesday, November 25: same punishment, same reason. Approaching the Cape Verde Islands in the morning. The trade wind there appears to be very unstable. By late afternoon, approaching the Doldrums (ITCZ), which looks, in theory, obliging.
Thursday, November 26: Crossing the Doldrums, which as we’ve seen are not too active. An evening exit is predicted, with the crossing of the equator to follow on a south-east trade wind, which should be 15-20 knots.
© Yann Riou I Spindrift racing
It’s drying out on Spindrift 2. The first 24 hours are truly in Spindrift 2's wake, and with them the inconveniences caused by a cross-sea, the cold and high speeds.
So, the crew of Spindrift 2 have taken the opportunity to repair two or three minor issues on board, but especially to eat and rest. On the strategy side, yesterday’s gybe occupied everyone’s minds for a while. It may be the only one until the equator. That says a lot about the quality of the window that the team are striving to make the best of. The trimaran is approaching the latitude of the Canaries. The temperature is getting milder, the nights are clear and the speeds are still very high.
However, the number of squalls is putting a strain on the crew. Last night, there was a lot of taking in and letting out of reefs. But descending the Atlantic “side-by-side” with Francis Joyon is a motivating force. Erwan (Israël, navigator) and Yann (Guichard, skipper) at the chart table are inevitably keeping an eye on what he does.
On the menu today: flying in the still stable trade wind in the direction of Cape Verde, which the boat will reach in the next 24 hours.
The Canaries in two days
Europe is already distant in her wake. After Madeira last night, this Tuesday morning Spindrift 2 passed 200 miles to the west of the Canary Islands. The air is warm, the trade wind strong and the descent rapid. Since gybing late on Monday morning, the crew have flown due south, towards the equator. The trimaran crossed in front of her 'virtual' rival, Banque Populaire V, on a consistent course with a benevolent wind.
The trajectory was honed to avoid the trap of the wind shadow under the Canaries, which, with this north-north-easterly wind, can reach up to around a hundred miles (185 km) to the south of the highest islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, which have peaks of 1,950 metres and 3,700 metres respectively. Four years ago, the record holder gybed further east, near the Moroccan coast and passed very close to the island of La Palma.
On round-the-world journeys, few days are as sweet as the ones ahead. Before struggling through the Doldrums, enduring the heat in their carbon capsule in the tropics and entering the southern hemisphere with the mischievous St Helena High, the Spindrift 2 team is racking up precious miles in more pleasant living conditions.
Jules Verne Trophy record attempt
Day 3 - 0500 GMT
Position: 29 22.40' N - 22 05.86' W
34.51 miles ahead of the record holder, Banque Populaire V
Distance covered from the start: 1,480 miles
Distance traveled over 24 hours: 647.9 miles
Average speed over 24 hours: 34.51 knots
Sails: One reef in the mainsail, and the medium gennaker
Area: Latitude of the Canaries in North Atlantic trade winds.
23.11 / Update 19H50 GMT