IDEC SPORT regained another 170 miles from the record during the night. Francis Joyon’s men have hit the jackpot and are sailing at supersonic speeds.They are now only 130 miles off the record pace.

As in Europe, we wake up after a night’s sleep, it’s hard to believe the figures this morning. The boat has gone from being 300 miles behind yesterday evening to a mere 130 this morning. As has been the case over the past three days, you have to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming. Let’s not forget that on Sunday, the crew were 800 miles behind the record.

Whatever happens next, IDEC SPORT’s dash across the Indian Ocean will remain in the history books: never has a multihull gone so far south and taken a straight route in this legendary section of the voyage around the planet. At 33 knots this morning heading east, Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Boris Herrmann and Gwénolé Gahinet are working hard… There is no rest in this attack and the big, red trimaran continues to reap the benefits, regaining 8 miles every half hour at the moment.

Full steam ahead at 53 degrees south…

There are at least three explanations for that. Firstly, they are sailing quickly. Let’s not forget that average speeds of 33 knots mean peak speeds of 40 knots… The second is their course is very straight and very close to the ideal route. The third is that at this point in her record, Banque Populaire V had to head back up north at relatively low speeds (around 25 knots) for two reasons: there was a huge storm in the south and there were icebergs around.Obviously, if you go straight rather than taking the back roads, you get to your destination that much more quickly. Over the past few hours, IDEC SPORT’s performance has meant that they have clocked up more than 700 miles in 24 hours…

Will they get ahead today?

First aerial images of IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, training off Belle-Ile, Brittany, on october 19, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC
Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

If we take out our calculator, we can work out that by regaining 15 miles an hour, IDEC SPORT would be back up with the record holder in just under 9 hours, in other words this afternoon. But a word of caution. It is possible and would be quite remarkable, but it is not that certain. Until this evening there will still be some doubt about whether they can remain ahead of the low-pressure area coming down from Madagascar that they have been watching for the past four days. It is looking good so far… as long as they don’t suffer any damage (and let’s hope that doesn’t happen afterwards, remembering they have been pushing the boat hard now for 18 days). And secondly, IDEC SPORT could be forced to climb back up north in the medium to long term too (thus regaining fewer miles because of the rules of geometry). But apart from that, this morning we have every reason to feel upbeat.

Incidentally, it is not going to be useful comparing the time it has taken to get to the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, as IDEC SPORT is sailing much further south than the reference time and they are not heading for Australia. What counts is the distance gained towards Cape Horn. So everyone will be watching their progress today. It could be an incredible one for the big, red trimaran down at 53 degrees south on the other side of the world.

In short

After 18 days and 4h30 of sailing, at 0630hrs this morning (Thursday10th December), IDEC SPORT is sailing at 30.3 knots at 53°22 S and 101°37 E, just under 500 miles from the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, (SW Australia). Heading east (76°). 130 miles behind the record pace.

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