The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran is continuing to extend her lead over the Jules Verne Trophy title-holder. At the end of their eighteenth day of racing, Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet, Bernard Stamm and Sébastien Audigane now have a lead of 680 miles, which is more or less the equivalent of a day’s sailing. Their straight trajectory on the port tack is now turning slightly towards the south. They are still sailing in powerful winds, but these have come around to the north and are on the beam. Speeds remain high at more than 32 knots on the direct route (VMG). This pace should allow Joyon and his men to pass under Tasmania in the next 24 hours and enter the Pacific.
At more than 53 degrees S, they need to watch out for ice, but fortunately there are clear skies offering good visibility, which they have not had since crossing the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope. Pleased about the two intermediate records achieved yesterday, Ushant – Cape Leeuwin (17 days, 06 hours and 59 minutes) and Cape Agulhas – Cape Leeuwin (4 days, 09 hours and 37 minutes), Joyon’s gang are not resting on their laurels. They are set to see their names enter the record books for the passage off Tasmania tomorrow and the International date Line, probably on Friday, before looking ahead and dreaming of the Horn.