Banque Populaire V

Banque Populaire V

Friday, 6 January 2012

New World Record for Banque Populaire V

Arrival Time: 23h 14 min 35 s - local FR time
Duration: 45 days 13 hours 42 min 53s



Link to a phone call recorded with Brian at 4.55pm GMT

Link to a phone call recorded with Brian at 4.55pm GMT nearing the finish of the Jules Verne Trophy on board Banque Populaire V

Day 45

Hi All

Jean Baptiste came on deck this morning and said to us "fast, but not furious", and that's been our mantra. Despite doing outstanding speeds the last 2 days we have not been furious, always been in control..The conditions have just been great with small seas and winds of 25-30 knots..we have been changing between the solent and small gennaker, and between one and two reefs in the main..

Top speed that I did on my last watch was 43.6! That's the fastest I will get to till the finish, as the wind will drop might well have been my last full on blast on this mighty machine..

However much we want to get to the finish, to accomplish the goal, to lift the stress of going this fast for so long, to see family and friends, to do other things than live in a carbon tunnel. There is part of you, a small but valid one that is sad to see it ending - could this be the best trip of a lifetime?

So am enjoying these last miles, these last hours as we blast past Ireland, the Scillies and onwards to the finish..

This afternoon has been busy, and like seeing the first jet contrails, the first fishing boats, we are experiencing the first signs of approaching civilisation, of reengagement with the land world..

At 1100 we had a satellite being guided to sit overhead to take picture, at 1300 a French navy/coastguard jet, a Falcon 50, from our boat's home port of Lorient, came to take video..
At 1500 we will get a call from the President of France...

It's all going on here!

ETA 2200 to midnight tonight. One last watch to go..and I think our lucky watch streak is going to continue, with having the start, finish and most of the major Capes during our time on deck..

Now with on reef and medium gennaker the wind is starting to drop a little.

We are having the most unorthodox arrival at the finish line - from the North. We almost certainly have now gone the furthest North (52N) and furthest South (62S) of any Jules Verne attempt..

More later after a brief afternoon sleep..


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 44

Guess how far we have to go.. 1000 MILES !

We have just turned over our countdown odometer from 1001 to 999!

So to now break the existing record, we have to average about 10 knots. 2 days ago, near Bermuda, it was 17 knots, and back at the Equator, 6 days ago, it was a 13 knots average required.

For a while there, we were slipping backwards on the record, and it could have turned out badly if the weather did not follow the predictions., as we were a long way from home..Fortunately it did, so now we are relatively secure speed wise, it's down to the great unknowns - equipment breakage and unseen floating objects, that could scupper our dreams now..We are being as prudent as possible, sailing at a good pace, but in control at all times, so we hope that will cover most of the risk of breakage, The other is in the lap of the gods to a large extent..

The speed of this boat is very deceptive, when you are below, or in the cuddy on deck, or even on the helm looking forwards, it all seems relatively tame. But a couple of times today I have been reminded that 35 knots is very, very fast indeed.

Earlier I went to the leeward side, to look at the gennaker trim, and watched the wake firing off the leeward hull. It's unbelievable how fast that looks, and how strongly you get the impression of the boat hurtling through the water..

The second time, I was steering, and Chab was standing by me to take over. We both looked away from the bow for an instant, and BAM! We were hit by a block of water that had been thrown into the air by the bows. That block had hung in the air, motionless, for an instant, and then the beam, 30m back, and our upper bodies drove into it at 35 was like lying on the floor and a 25kg flour sack being dropped on your chest from a 4m height. Chab thought he had been punched in the head, though fortunately,he did not think it was me!

Normally when a watery wrecking ball like that comes through you crouch right down in a fast, reflexive move, but this time we missed it..However, it was extremely funny at the time, and I was glad to have had a good hold of the helm, to not get knocked off it..

Will send more later.,

Time for 1h 20m sleep..

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 43

After 2 days of making almost zero progress to the finish, delightful sailing though it was, we are now making serious inroads into the remaining miles, clocking off over 30 miles every hour..equivalent to the Needles to Cherbourg in 2 hours, over and over again!

We are now firmly embedded in the perfect spot in the isobars squeezing between the Azores High and the approaching cold front. The wind is nearly 30 knots and we are sailing fast with 2 reefs, small gennaker and staysail.

A very familiar sail combination from the Southern Ocean, but not seen on board for the last 10 days of reaching up the Tropical Atlantic.

Our finest entertainment last night?during our night watch, was having to avoid a huge container ship that was coming towards us, slightly from our right hand side. We were on a collision course, and we were perhaps the only boats within a 100 miles. It often seems to happen like that..

We had a closing velocity of 50 knots with the ship, and it was not changing course for us, so we had to ease our sails, then luff a bit closer to the wind., to pass a hundred meters away from it..