|ID: 751 ||Title: Jules Verne Maxi Tri Slow Racing ||Replies: 0 ||Read: 367 ||Author: 1 |
|Name: OCEAN SAVER Posts: 146 ** Vancouver Time: 2015-12-10_21:50:18||
Jules Verne Maxi Tri Slow Racing
07 / 12 / 2015
"The north-north westerlies picked up even more strength this morning to the east of Madagascar, enabling Spindrift 2 to reach average speeds of around 30 knots once again.
The area of the Indian Ocean where the trimaran has been sailing for the past couple of days remains tricky due to the presence of icebergs south of the course and high pressure to the north. The strategy involves sailing no closer than 50 nautical miles away from the biggest ice, while performing a series of gybes to stay in a ‘corridor’, on a run to the Kerguelen Islands.
The crew has access to satellite images taken by the French specialist agency CLS, which locates the largest icebergs, some of which measure 300 to 400 metres long. Studiously and concentrating hard, members of the crew take turns with the binoculars during the day and with the infrared glasses at night to detect any suspicious silhouettes on the horizon or the slightest foam that might not just be a breaking wave, but the waves of the swell breaking on a frozen wall of ice.
This dangerous passage, where there is little wind, meant that the trimaran lost ground on Banque Populaire V’s record, 298 miles ahead. Spindrift 2 is now back up to speed, and in just a day’s time will reach the Kerguelen Islands, an archipelago that is well known for its fish-rich shallow waters, which attract fishing boats, but also make for a chaotic sea.
Day 15 – 16h00 GMT
308 nm behind the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 9,562 nm
Average speed over 24 hours: 19,9 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 378,1 nm "
The field has split.
To The Tracker
10 / 12 / 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.
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."
Spindrift 2 to pass south of Cape Leeuwin to night in Jules Verne quest.
"The highlight of this third week has been the rounding of the Kerguelen archipelago which are in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The crew decided to sail north of the islands in order to avoid the drift ice located to their south. Although Spindrift 2 has lost a few miles over the last couple of days, it is mainly due to a zone of light winds ahead, moving at more than twenty knots.
The team is all set to reach Cape Leeuwin tomorrow (Thursday) evening, The second mythical cape on this round-the-world challenge will be quite a way north, as it marks the south-western tip of Australia, roughly 800 miles from the track of the great black and gold trimaran. It is more symbolic than a focal point as the Pacific Ocean only officially starts south of Tasmania, which is two days further on. The 200 miles separating Spindrift 2 from the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy is not likely to change much over the next few days due to a weather system that limits the choice of course.
Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their crew of twelve have had no choice but to remain in a corridor of westerly winds between 49° and 52° South since their northern passage of the Kerguelen archipelago. Ahead of Spindrift 2, a zone with a weak pressure gradient is moving at practically the same speed as the boat. This means that the crew is constantly stuck in the same weather system and cannot expect to accelerate until a low from Madagascar kicks in and sweeps south of Australia on Thursday evening. After last night’s gybe, the big trimaran should be changing course this afternoon to follow a track parallel to her virtual predecessor. Thereafter, she will gradually sail up to the 45° parallel south to latch onto these strong new north-westerly winds in front of this tropical depression."
The acceleration of the boat will be marked and lasting! Based on current forecasts, Spindrift 2 could make up the time lost to Banque Populaire V before entering the Pacific Ocean and even continue to benefit from the powerful north-west stream south of New Zealand, if not beyond.
The good news is that the area of drift ice that forced Yann Guichard and his crew to keep north of the southern archipelago is now behind them. The latest satellite images indicate that the icebergs are now concentrated below the Kerguelen islands (Indian Ocean), a long way south of New Zealand (Pacific Ocean) and between the Falklands and South Georgia islands (Atlantic Ocean). So, as it turns out, the detour to the north did not really slow Spindrift 2 down too much given the conditions at the time. Apart from the risk of colliding with a growler (a piece of ice weighing several tonnes), the sea state did not make it possible to sail fast on a southern course.
The way ahead of the giant trimaran’s bows is clear to Cape Horn at least, and Yann Guichard’s crew has free rein to make the most of favourable conditions from Friday before attacking the “real toughie” of this circumnavigation via the three capes next weekend, the Pacific Ocean!
The CLS’s image taken on December 4th shows how the drift ice is concentrated south of the Kerguelen islands. The white path showing Spindrift 2’s course confirms the detour made to avoid any collision south of the archipelago, with the route at 52° South (below the drifting pack ice) not favourable at that time to reeling in the miles. The route ahead is now clear for Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their 12-strong crew all the way to the entrance of the Pacific Ocean, off Tasmania.
This graph showing the distances sailed daily since leaving Brest confirm that Spindrift 2 bettered the performance of the Jules Verne Trophy holder in the Atlantic. But there is a big difference with the northern passage of the Kerguelen islands, with Banque Populaire V having had highly favourable conditions in 2011, during which she produced her best daily performance ever at that time, clocking up 803 nautical miles. The tracks of both boats also show how the black and gold trimaran has covered a hundred or so miles more, having taken a more northerly course in this first half of her Indian Ocean crossing. "