Francis Joyon and his crew of five will be passing the Antipodes Islands today. This group belonging to New Zealand is around 400 miles south-east of Stewart Island. They will also be passing leeward of Bounty Island, named after the boat skippered by the famous Captain Bligh.
But far from being a picture postcard location, it is to the north of a small area of low pressure that the big, red trimaran is aiming to get this morning. As we approach the end of the year, the systems moving rapidly to Cape Horn are looking rare, and this one will precede some complicated sailing with an area of high pressure a long way south at 65°S, which is blocking the way to the tip of South America. The Jules Verne Trophy holder, Banque Populaire V also experienceddifficulties in this part of the course, having to carry out lots of manoeuvres for very little reward.
IDEC SPORT was sailing very quickly this morning at more than 32 knots, but towards the NE, meaning the VMG is down to less than 10 knots. The Pacific unlike the Indian, is not looking very helpful for the record hunter. The route towards the Horn is certainly not looking like the straight line Joyon, Surtel, Gahinet, Pella, Herrmann and Stamm managed to sail between South Africa and New Zealand. Today’s highlight will be crossing the International Date Line later this morning, the line on the opposite side of the world from the Greenwich meridian. In other words, IDEC SPORT will be moving to degrees west.