Sébastien Audigane, at the helm, gets splashed by the capricious sprays of the Southern ocean. © Yann Riou I Spindrift racing
200 MILLES WON IN 24 HOURS
After four days in the Pacific, Spindrift 2, and its crew are currently regaining ground on the record holder (90 miles back in the last 24 hours), but their progress is being hampered by an area of light wind near the latitude of 45° South. The first objective will be to reach, as quickly as possible, the depression to their south, which would allow them to get to Cape Horn faster. Timing remains tight in order to not to let the strong winds slip away and to minimise the loss of time against Banque Populaire V, which was sailing 400 miles further south four years ago. With this in mind, the maxi-trimaran should curve her course in the evening.
Day 25 – 16h00 GMT
89 nm behind the current record holder Banque Populaire V
Distance covered from the start: 16,515 nm
Average speed over 24 hours: 29 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 695.9 nm
Message from Dona Bertarelli
Here we are in the largest ocean in the world, the Pacific Ocean, as has been eagerly awaited by the novices on board. The 40-metre long Spindrift 2 feels very small at times. The large waves are still restrained because of the moderate weather conditions we are facing right now - but they are still large. The promised wind is (almost) here, because, and we’re not complaining, quite thopposite, this afternoon for a few hours, we thought we were back in the Caribbean trade winds rather than in the middle of the Pacific. The sun shone in all its glory in a steady wind of around 20 knots. With Spindrift 2 effortlessly making over 30 knots, it was a moment of happiness and respite for those on watch, lucky that it happened on their turn.
« The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes » Marcel Proust
Without ever being entirely safe from some capricious spray, it was possible to get out of our oilskin jackets, dry our clothes and sodden boots. As if time was standing still, we just enjoyed the warm sun that we had all forgotten about long ago. It is only the nostalgics, our round-the-worlders, who are looking forward to making us discover the power and grandeur of the Pacific. This will remain unknown for now...So, everyone, in their own way, is taking advantage of these moments and exploring a world not quite as they were expecting it to be.
FOTO YANN RIOU
A Peaceful Pacific
After four days in the largest ocean in the world, Spindrift 2, now has to cross a pocket of light winds before it can quickly fly towards Cape Horn.
The two trimarans, Spindrift 2 and Idec Sport are sailing together in the middle of the Pacific, with the choice of route towards Cape Horn exceptionally limited: on the “back” of a disintegrating depression from the south of New Zealand, the Pacific partners have made successive gybes (four) to stay on the edge of the low-pressure area and benefit from a moderate wind from the west. And, on this 25th day at sea, the three boats (if you include the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, further south, virtually) are almost on the same longitude (150° West), on parallel routes before a gybe planned for midday.
FOTO YANN RIOU
Two tough days
400 miles further north than Banque Populaire V was four years ago, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their twelve teammates are not likely to encounter ice as their predecessor did; Banque Populaire V had to deal with tabular icebergs over 20km long with scores of growlers around them. But, like the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy (who only managed 163 miles on December 17, 2011), Spindrift 2 is being blocked by an area of low wind, which is delaying it hooking onto a beautiful depression, flying by to its south. So, it has to cross this ridge of high pressure and it is the timing that is critical, in order to lose as little time as possible.
From Wednesday evening, the black and gold trimaran is going to curve its course south-east, slowing down significantly: the great challenge will be to stay in a corridor of wind above six knots because Spindrift 2 can then progress on a favourable trajectory. Under six knots, the configuration becomes much more uncertain and to keep the speed up will require multiple manoeuvres and course changes. There will even be some opposite wind from the east to negotiate to get out of this Pacific pitfall. Only by Friday should Yann Guichard and his crew be back in a west-south-westerly flow of around 20 knots that will propel them quickly towards Cape Horn with what looks like little risk of meeting an iceberg, despite the proximity of the Antarctic ice sheet.
The Horn in sight
The flight towards 55° South is going to be performed very gradually and the routing suggests that the large trimaran will still retain a few hours lead on the record time as they pass Cape Horn. The rounding of South America is expected to be overnight from Monday 21 to Tuesday, December 22, which will be after just over 30 days at sea, while the Jules Verne Trophy holder took 30 days 22 hours and 18 minutes from Ushant to Cape Horn.
The coming hours will determine the gap at this crucial point: the faster Spindrift 2 crosses this transition zone between these two Pacific depressions, the faster it will get into the Atlantic and out of these dreaded South Seas it has been negotiating for the past 12 days.
December 16, a day of downwind of 15-20 knots, to the north of a depression that is filling in. The next night, it will be about crossing a transitional zone between this exhausted system and a well-established westerly flow south of 55° S.
Of course, there is a windless ridge of high pressure watching from the west, ready to stick this pretty picture in the mire. We can expect, in the next two days, to have some low, variable wind and incessant manoeuvres.
Start of day 25 at 07h00 GMT
Position : 45.35.59’ S and 150.45.34 W
252,08 behind the record holder Banque Populaire V
Distance covered from the start: 16 260 nM
Distance traveled over 24 hours: 682,7 nM
Speed over 24 hours : 28,4 knts
Sails : Mainsail and medium gennaker