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1,876 NM in Advance, The Maxi Tri Continues to Dissolve Miles off Jules Verne Record

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  • 1,876 NM in Advance, The Maxi Tri Continues to Dissolve Miles off Jules Verne Record

    The mighty Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire continues at a thunderous pace, eating up mile of the salty,
    wet mile in the Indian Ocean, now just east of the Kerguelen Islands.
    Averaging 35 plus knots and 800 nm a day, the crew does its best not to get bored as
    they rapidly clip of degree after degree. Brian Thompson reports below.

    all images© B.Stichelbaut/BPCE

    "Making great miles today, all on port gybe running ahead of a low pressure behind us..wind is 30 to 38 knots so we are changing between the small gennaker and Solent jib, as the wind alters, and keeping 2 reefs in the main..

    We are going below the Crozet Islands now, and probably passing just south of the Kerguelens too..

    We are down below 50S now so the globe is getting smaller here in a horizontal plane, so every 38.5 miles we sail east we are making a degree of longitude - we would have to do 60 miles on the equator to gain that same degree of longitude..So we are saving time by sailing at these latitudes..though does mean we are keeping a careful eye on the radar. This area has been thoroughly scanned for icebergs by satellite and none have been detected, but better safe than sorry.."

    "Have mentioned our watch system before but thought would explain it better..

    We have 14 crew in total.
    2 off watch, Loick, who is the conductor of our orchestra, and grabs catnaps, and Juan, navigating, who hardly sleeps at or more usually both of them are up on deck for all maneuvers..they sleep in 2 bunks aft of the nav station, which is below the cockpit..

    The remaining 12 are divided into 3 watches of 4, each led by a watch captain. Who are Yvon, Fred and Jean-Baptiste.
    I am on watch with Yvon.

    We stay on GMT right around the world and do not alter the watch times for the local time. It could not be easier really. For instance, on our watch we are on deck from 8 to 12, off watch and in our bunks 12 to 4, and on standby mode 4 till 8..then on deck again. So twice a day we are on watch, off watch and on standby.."

    "Every 4 hours everyone is up and changing modes. One group is coming off the deck to get undressed for bed. Another group is getting out of bed and getting dressed for standby and the 3rd group are going on deck from their standby. As you can imagine, in a confined space that is constantly moving, there is an elaborate choreography to this, rather like ants moving inside an anthill..somehow it all happens, with no friction.

    You need a certain amount of purpose to get done what you need to do, and a good awareness, respect and tolerance for what everyone else is trying to get done too. Somehow it all works, and the boat never stops moving, with at least 4 on deck at all times...

    For manouvers it's usually 9 or 10 people on deck, or 14 if it's near a watch change..
    B" ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~

  • #2
    Smoking Along Down Under: Panque Populaire Now 2, 085 Nm in Advance!

    Less than 1 week after leaving South Africa in their wake, the crew of Banque Populaire have passed another milestone, Cape Leeuwin on the Western edge of Australia. The new record reference time from Ushant to Cape Leeuwin, in 17 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes and 18 seconds! If our math is correct, that's a 3 day, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds faster than Groupama's 2010 record for same distance.

    © BPCE

    Brian Thompson Reports from aboard the maxi trimaran:


    Day 16
    A relatively slow day today, with lighter wind speeds than forecast, and we are having to gybe downwind in the 15 knot westerly breeze, so not great progress eastwards. However we are still taking miles out of Groupama3, the current record holder, who are now over 2000 miles back, and the wind should increase again tonight, though remaining westerly..

    In the last 5 days we have advanced Eastwards at amazing pace, I look at the wall chart in the cabin, and think of what terrain we would be crossing if we were travelling the same latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. 5 days ago we would have been crossing France, today we are in Eastern Kazakhstan and about to cross into Mongolia tomorrow. That would be a hell of a fast trip by land! If you drew a line straight up from us, it would cross a lot of Indian Ocean before landing in India, travelling up through Nepal, China, Kazakhstan and finally Russia. To our south there is the icy Antarctic continent..

    Hi again..

    Today the wind remained light most of the day, and it allowed the team to get a lot of little jobs done around the boat, without getting washed off the deck. Pym and I put grease into the mast ball which was about a half hour job, which should be done every week. That entailed disassembling some metal fittings in the sea spray which meant for some cold fingers afterwards..

    Now the wind is back over 20 knots and we are back to closer to our usual 30 knots of speed, with one reef, medium gennaker and staysail on port gybe..The swell is from behind so the boat is sliding smoothly, overtaking one long swell after another.
    It's night time now, but dawn should be appearing around midnight..

    It looks like we are going to stay on this port gybe now till Cape Leewin, getting headed down to an Easterly course as our wind shifts from the West to the North West..

    There are about 20 small petrels flying with us, that are sometimes passing between the main hull and the windward hull, and flying out underneath the windward hull, just before it touches the water..amazing acrobatic displays..

    It was time for a change of inner thermals today, after a very long and hot sailchange, so had a 'shower' with baby wipes and am now wearing shiny new black Mustos and feeling very good. If I am careful about staying dry, this should be good till
    around Cape Horn and back into the Tropics..

    All the best!


    Day 18 - Australia

    2 mins under 18 days to Australia! Juan just came on deck to say that we had passed Cape Leewin..

    I had daydreamed before the trip about getting to Oz in 20 days, and how incredible that would be,
    but less than 18, just amazing, I never even considered it possible..

    Again passed a major milestone whilst our watch has been on deck, Equator, Cape Agulhas, now Leewin.

    Wind is up whilst this low passes below us. Wind 35 to 42 knots. 3 reefs in main now and Solent or staysail.
    Keeping our speed under control as there are some steep seas that we don't want to be nosediving into at 40 knots,
    and thereby straining the boat..still surfing to 35 at times..

    Brian ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


    • #3
      Damage Control Mode For Banque Populaire

      Facing a violent depression coming south from New Zealand, with extreme sea conditions
      and winds in excess of 40 knots, the crew of Banque Populaire have spent the past day
      sailing with minimum canvas and in protect mode. The notion of performance becomes secondary as Loïck Peyron and team put a high priority on safety and keeping the boat and gear on one piece. And with a minefield of growlers and icebergs ahead and to the
      south, the next several days the stress level increases daily.

      THURSDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2011

      Day 22
      Easy miles today reaching in light winds at 57S. Big swell from behind helped keep our speed up, so even on this 'slow' day, we did over 500 miles..
      Now we have the expected upwind section and we are upwind with one reef and the staysail in 21kn of wind. Good wind chill outside!

      About to tack for 3 to 5 hours on starboard, then back to port tack.
      Wind will then shift to the North and will increase to 40 knots for at least 12 hours.
      That will be sporty on a trimaran..will be well reefed down..Everyone fine on board and the boat in good shape. South of NZ on Day 22! Time to go on watch...

      Beating now into a nasty sea, with 2 reefs and the staysail up. we spent our 4hour watch trying to keep our boatspeed under control. Just in my bunk now, writing this on to my iPhone, but it's feels like I am in a WRC rally car, it's hard to hold on to the phone, let alone press the correct keys! Let's see what conditions are like in 3 hours!

      Now reaching in 40 knots of wind. 3 reefs and storm jib..speed around 30 knots. Limited visibility of about 100m due to the warm, moist air from the north blowing over the cold water. Its very bumpy down below, hard to sleep..The guys are lying down and getting some rest, but getting thrown around too much for any more than that. Have another 16 hours of this wind, so will look after the boat through the waves,
      as the main priority, and if we get tired enough we will sleep!

      Just ahead is the 180 degree of longitude, the dateline. We are now on the opposite side of the world to where we started, and in reality more than half way around the world in terms of the sailing miles we have to cover..As coming back up the Atlantic we should be able to take a more direct route than on the way down..


      Your daily lesson in French ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


      • #4
        Of Bergs and Growlers

        Banque Populaire picks up the pace! Brian Thompson check in:

        "Day 23
        We have had over 40 knots of wind for about 15 hours, and it is now moderating to 35 knots. For a while we even furled up the storm job, and spent 3 hours just with the triple reefed mainsail, The problem that we were beam onto the seas and wind and it was hard to depower the boat so as keep the speed under control and yet have enough power Andre heel angle to stop the windward of the 3 hulls from slamming down into the seas.
        Loick had a great 'old school technique to help this problem - OCR

        Still reaching in strong breezes, now it's 32 knots of NW wind and we are sailing at 120TWA with 2 reefs and staysail.
        Most of the day we had 40 knots plus, and for 3 hours was sailing with just the triple reefed main. Later we went back to the storm jib, and used Loick's 'old school' technique of over sheeting the mainsail to stop the windward hull slamming down onto the waves too violently. It was a very rough period and Banque Populaire coped with it brilliantly. We tried to make it as easy on the boat as possible,

        We are sailing high to go round a big area of icebergs that are to our West. If we did sail straight we would save a lot of time, as by going North we are going to be sailing into an area of light winds.. But no choice, we know that there are a lot of bergs there, too dangerous.

        Fortunately after the light winds, it looks good weather to Cape Horn, so we may catch up much of what we lost in sailing round the zone..

        " ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


        • #5
          Loïck Peyron's Lead Evaporates In Southern Ocean

          The giant maxi tri, Banque Populaire, whos advance on the current Jules Verne Trophy record was as high as 2,101 nm two weeks ago has seen the lead slowly erode as one after system combined with icebergs have conspired to make life difficult for the crew.
          They still expect to reach Cape Horn by the 23rd and will be heading home in the Pacific for Christmas.

          "We just jibe again this morning. We fight in complicated conditions. We are at a crossing. At this time, we have 8 knots of wind, we are moving at 11 knots and not at all on the road. It could put at least 24 hours longer than expected to arrive at Cape Horn, but it's true bypass between the north of the ice that led to the negotiation of a great depression and now this backbone, the situation is not simple. "

          Brian Thompson reports on yesterday.

          MONDAY, 19 DECEMBER 2011

          Day 26
          We are still sailing upwind in the Southern Ocean - has nobody mentioned, that the brochure clearly stated that this part of the world cruise, was supposed to be a downwind sleighride!

          There is 25 to 30 knots of wind now, and a 'bumpy' seastate. The boat is crashing over the waves at 22 knots. We have just changed from one reef and staysail, to two reefs and staysail, as the vespertine light faded for our short night.
          Late this afternoon we passed about 4 miles to leeward of one iceberg, and saw ten growlers, between 5 and 1m high.

          The iceberg we saw from 12 miles out on the radar, (before we saw it visually), but the growlers did not show up at all well on radar. Fortunately the water temp is 8 or 9C, so the growlers should not get too far from the mother berg before melting.
          It's night now, so a careful lookout for us. Time to go on deck:.

 ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


          • #6
            Man-o-man, 2,101 to 784nm, that's a 1,300nm cushion I bet the still had right now.


            • #7
              30 Days to Cape Horn

              Still maintaining a plus 536 nm lead over Groupama's 2011 reference, the 14 men on the Maxi Tri " Banque Populaire are once again enjoying fresh breeze from the right direction
              and they say au revoir to the Pacific and bonjour to the Atlantic. Having seen over 1,500 nm erased from there cushion over the past week the crew must maintain speed
              without over stressing the "Great Machine" over the remaining 7,100 miles

     ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


              • #8
                Changes in Latitudes, Changes in attire

                Having regained some of the mileage lost prior to Cape Horn, the crew of Banque Populaire have now established a 940 nm lead on Franck Cammas's 2010 reference and have also intersected their own course line while sailing south in the Atlantic several weeks back. Now in the 30's the gloves, hats and parkas have come off, replaced by shirts and shorts.

                What a difference a day makes! From this above to below!

                all photos©© B.STICHELBAUT/BPCE

                Moving at 15 knots of gentle breezes allows the crew a chance to catch up on the house cleaning, inventory of wear and tear as well a a shower with a fresh water rinse for the 1st time in 22 days!

                Cloud bursts now provide a refreshing opportunity for a freshwater rinse!

                A clean boat is a happy boat

                The forecast looks promising with 25 knots for later today then lightening as they pass through the "Black Pot" andthen a southerly push of 25 knots to follow, as the pass to the west of the Azores, from there they expect to hitch a ride on one of the depressions flowing from the US to Europe.
       ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~