IDEC SPORT’s dash around Antartica paid off in two ways last night. In two days, Francis Joyon’s men have regained more than half of what they had lost over the record pace. They gybed last night 300 miles from the Antarctic. So very close to it indeed.

54°31 south. Francis Joyon and his men carried out a gybe at this icy latitude yesterday evening at 2030hrs UTC. It is very cold south of Heard Island and an uninhabited snow-covered volcano called Big Ben, where the average annual temperature is below three degrees. Usually round the world voyages go close to the Kerguelens… 300 miles further north. During their winning Jules Verne Record, Banque Populaire V did not go below 51° south during her crossing of the Indian Ocean.

So it is on this tricky route that IDEC SPORT is weaving her way around the shortest route down at the bottom of the charts. Giving it their all, Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel and Boris Herrmann are racing hard against a tropical low coming down to them from Madagascar.

On the attack

We should find out later today during the video link-up at 1000hrs, if they have any chance of achieving the goal of remaining ahead of this low, so to its east. They could win or lose a day depending on the outcome, so that is why “it is important to stay above thirty knots and shorten the voyage” according to Francis Joyon. If they stay ahead of it, they can continue on their current route, while at this point on her record run, Banque Populaire V had to head back up north to within 500 miles of Australia.

Meanwhile this tacking around the Great Circle Route has certainly paid off for IDEC SPORT. In two and a half days, they have regained over half of what they had lost winning back 400 miles. On Sunday, they were 800 miles behind, while this morning this deficit is down to 380. If they manage to win their race against the Low, it could give them even more miles. As for the icebergs, the situation seems to be fine for the moment. The router, Marcel Van Triest said this morning that the worst is now behind them and what they need to do now is go on the attack.

In short

After 17 days and 4 hours of racing at 0600hrs this morning (Wed 9th December), IDEC SPORT is sailing at 27.1 knots at 53°42 south and 81°44 east, or 500 miles SE of the Kerguelens. Bearing due east (91°). 379 miles behind the record pace.

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