The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran has been stuck in a ridge of high pressure for thirty hours or so. This marks the transition between two windy low-pressure areas, moving eastwards with the boat. Although the speeds are nothing to mock, as around 25 knots during the night, they are nevertheless way below those Loïck Peyron’s maxi Banque Populaire V managed to achieve four years ago, as she sailed constantly above 33 knots on this part of the course. At 0700hrs this morning at the longitude of the first of the three major capes in this round the world voyage, the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa, Francis Joyon and his crew are 28 hours behind the record pace, rather than the 24 hours they had been counting on since setting out from Brest, as they knew the South Atlantic was going to be tricky. “It’s not over yet,” declared Francis, who is too experienced in this type of sailing to be concerned. “If I remember correctly,” he stressed, “Banque Populaire V found it hard in the Pacific and the climb back up the North Atlantic was not ideal.” What he means is that there is still a long way to go and as they approach the Cape of Good Hope, Stamm, Herrmann, Gahinet, Pella and Surtel can still hope to see the weather patterns shift in their favour over the next 15,500 miles they have to sail before crossing the finishing line. At latitude 50 degrees south, IDEC SPORT is waiting for these latitudes to live up to their fearsome and furious reputation.
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