Approaching the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, the first of the three major capes in the round the world voyage, the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran has just experienced the most prolific day of the trip, which began 12 days ago. Francis Joyon and his small crew of just five are causing the speedo to go crazy, sailing 855 miles in the past 24 hours, averaging 35.59 knots. This performance is set to continue, “maybe all the way to Australia,” stated a cautious Francis Joyon, with the maxi-trimaran sailing safely with peak speeds of 44 knots recorded during the night. IDEC SPORT has the ability to win back the miles and get back to the record pace of Banque Populaire V, which rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 11 days, 21 hours and 48 minutes on 3rd December 2011. Relegated to 755 miles behind their virtual rival on Boxing Day, Joyon, Surtel, Pella, Stamm, Audigane and Gahinet have already narrowed the gap to 550 miles.
“We aren’t comparing our performances at the helm, but if anyone asks, you can tell them that I’m the fastest.” With his usual laugh, the Catalan sailor, Alex Pella summed up the atmosphere on board the maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT going at full pelt in their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy record. They remain concentrated, relaxed and the atmosphere is friendly at the start of this thirteenth day of racing. “The seas are flat calm, which means we can keep up high speeds,” explained Francis Joyon. “We took in a reef on the mainsail and the boat is well set up for very high speeds.” Alex Pella added, “This boat cuts through the water fantastically well and that is contributing to allowing us to maintain high average speeds. We are really enjoying ourselves at the helm, particularly as the air temperature with this NW’ly wind remains mild and easy to bear. We are really please about this lightning bolt entrance into the Southern Ocean.”
IDEC SPORT is speeding along towards the Indian Ocean. The big red and white trimaran is going slightly further south with each mile. “We are aiming to pass south of the Cape of Good Hope at 45° S,” confirmed Francis, while mentioning the worrying matter of the presence of drifting ice. “Marcel van Triest is closely monitoring the presence of any ice in the area. We won’t take any unnecessary risks, but we know too that we will have to get close, preferably during the day to icebergs.” Joyon’s men are giving it their all to stay for as long as possible ahead of this southern low. Continuing with as few manoeuvres as required and at the current speed, IDEC SPORT could get back up to the position of Banque Populaire V by Cape Leeuwin in SW Australia. They are expecting to pass the Cape of Good Hope tomorrow morning after just under thirteen days of sailing.