Banque Populaire V

Banque Populaire V

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Day 7

1800 Pos 18 40S. 35 30W
Average 22 kn of wind from the East. Occ squalls
Boatspeed 28-37 knots..
Apprx mileage yesterday 640nm

Heading down the endless coast of Brasil today, going fast in good conditions, though with occasional squalls. Not yet heading towards the direction of the Cape of Good Hope, as we still have the St Helena high to pass to the west of..if we took the direct route we would be stuck in light airs. The analogy would be of choosing to take the M25 motorway around London over sitting in traffic in the centre of the city - in the end we will get there much does seem odd when looking at our route on the map though, and we are all itching to head SE..

After the doldrums we started sailing nearly upwind at 55TWA but the wind has progressively shifted left as we have sailed southwards, so we are now sailing at 120TWA, with one reef in the mainsail and either the Solent or staysail at the front. Perfect sailing, with low stress on the boat, and relatively high and consistent speeds..

It's always a pleasure to steer this boat, but in conditions like this Yvon and I call it 'driving a Cadillac Eldorado '78' down the highway - straight and smooth..

There is still max concentration at these high speeds from the driver and the trimmers, but the boat just wants to run - we just have to gently guide it down that straight highway in the desert..


New Equator Record

The 40m maxi-trim Banque Populaire crossed the equator at 23:26:52 UTC last night. In the process she set a new record from Ushant to the Equator of 5 days, 14 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed ​​Record Council.

Yesterday skipper Lo├»ck Peyron had worried: "because of the many manoeuvres the active Doldrums has forced us to make and because Franck [Cammas, skipper of Jules Verne Trophy record holderGroupama 3] had left later, when the Doldrums were further south, it may be hard to beat the time made ​​by the crew of Groupama two years ago. We will not have much difference - it will be difficult to beat." In fact two years ago Groupama 3 had reached the Equator in a time of 5 days 19 hours and 7 minutes. This was 1 day 7 hours 49 minutes better than previous record holder Orange 2's reference time, but outside of Groupama 3's own record set in 2009 of 5 days 15 hours and 23 minutes.

This morning Banque Populaire continues to forge south and into the southeasterly trades has had to take a course to the west - in fact slightly further west than Groupama 3 was at this stage of her lap of the planet. However as the trades back into the east, so the monster tri has already begun her slow arc into the south and once past Recife later today we'll start to see some east in her heading.

Her speed is also building and since yesterday afternoon has been back to a relentless 25+ knots. While this is record speed for a VO70, it is cruising speed for the 40m trimaran enabling her to reel out endless 24 hour runs of 600 miles. At this pace her fortunes for the rest of the week are still looking great. On Thursday the south Atlantic high is still forecast to be centred at around 36°S 5°W (ie in the southeast quadrant of the South Atlantic) allowing Banque Populaire to key into the favourable strong northerlies preceeding a front to the southeast of the high. This in turn will allow her to make a fast, seamless transition into the Southern Ocean, while also having sailed many less miles than Groupama 3. Barring disaster except the record to the Cape of Good Hope to fall over next week.

Taken from

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Monday & Tuesday


My personal wildlife count has not been too impressive so far this trip - if we discount all the flying fish seen..

A pod of Dolphins off Cape Finisterre on Day 1, a white gannet bird on Day 2, and a few little black storm petrels on days 3 and 4, once in the tropics..

However, those flying fish have been interesting. I first started seeing them off Lisbon in 16C water, and they were all solitary and large - mackerel sized.

Now that we are in the tropics we are seeing more 'squadrons' of baby flying fish, from sardine sized to herring sized. The water temp is 25C now and there is a lot of sargasso weed around.

Could it be that they spawn here in the warm waters, perhaps near the Sargasso weed, and move north for more food when they are older?

Will see if the theory works in reverse as we enter the south Atlantic and head towards cooler waters!

Any real answers, rather than my uneducated suppositions, on a postcard please!



Liking these SE Tradewinds! A steady 22knots of wind, blue skies, beam reaching at close to 30 kn speed. One reef + staysail.

Passing by the easternmost bulge of Brasil now, probably the closest we get to continental land till Cape Horn..

Very hot below, so hard to sleep in the daytime - and the sun is only getting higher in the sky as we move southwards..

Happy Mondays!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Day 4

Hi Guys

A very big days run yesterday, in easy conditions of flattish seas and wind from 115 to 125 TWA and18 to 25 knots of wind. We had the bonus of seeing other sailing boats out on the ocean, who were competing in the ARC a great day..

Now it's going to get a lot more tricky as we approach the doldrums at sunset tonight. Last year they were very slow for us and the forecast is not looking so promising for us again. Already our boatspeed is dropping to 20, which does seem very slow right now, but might become a dream later, as we might be ensnared in large black clouds, with little wind between them..

Let's see what tonight brings, it would be great to keep moving and set a really good time to the equator. But that will decided by the capriciousness of clouds..


Busy Oceans

It must be because of leaving in November, but I have never seen this many sailing boats out in the atlantic ocean -- in the last 5 hours have seen 5 other boats, all going in the same direction..

When the first one appeared, i was steering and as it was right ahead, so a 'fly by' was always going to happen..As we got closer we had the strongest wind of the day, and we were doing 37 knots as we flashed past the cruising catamaran about 15m off..

I was concentrating hard to keep that safe but still interesting distance off, so did not get a good a view of the boat. But it looked like a 45 ft British cat, and it seemed to be the flying the flag of the ARC that's perhaps what all the others were doing, they had all left the Canaries for St Lucia at the same time..

Kevin Escoffier took some video from Banque Pop, and later sent it off via the satellite comms system - so look out for that. Hopefully the cat will have taken some video too and will put it online when they get to the Caribbean.

It may appear to be a crowded ocean today, but every boat crossing the Atlantic is on its own grand adventure, already alone in its own plot of water, and soon each one will be scores of miles from another.Hope they all have a good crossing. I wonder where on earth we will be when they are sipping their first rum punch?

Anyway, that's the serendipitous excitement of the day...


Friday, 25 November 2011

Latest from onboard

In this first 48 hours of this record attempt, we have made progress that is verging on the ridiculous - 2 days to the Canaries is surreal.. It's already shorts and T shirt weather, the tradewinds are starting to waft us southwards, and puffy white clouds punctuate the bright blue sky..

On Cheyenne when we prepared for the record in 2003 (?) our parameters for starting were to take 4 days to the Canaries. Now on Banque Pop our requirement is to be less than 6 days at the equator, and we are already looking ahead at the weather at the Cape of Good Hope..

We have made great progress on our phantom ship - Groupama. over the last 2 days, but today as we gybe to the west we will be loosing some of that gain, but no worries, we are all very happy to get down to here so fast, and this is when Groupama were at high speed..

Earlier this morning we went past the island of Santa Cruz de la Palma, and it was a bonus to see some land, I was not expecting to see terra firma till Cape Horn..there was a flurry of activity to send texts home, but I was driving at the time so just missed the signal. Does not last long at 25 knots..

The wind has, as expected, started to fall as we get close to the High Pressure, so the exciting, powered up, firehouse experience has been replaced with more finesse sailing, trying to coax 25 knots of speed out of 15 knots of wind. We now for the first time have the full main and the big gennaker up..

So now it feels like we are out of the North Atlantic and into the tropical, or at least tradewind Atlantic, so should be some holiday sailing until the doldrums..


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Africa (update)

What a pleasure to be on this speeding machine. Last watch I drove for an hour with speed between 30 to 40 knots and a top speed of 42..Small gennaker, stay sail and one reef in the main in26 knots of wind. My top speed everon this boat was 45 knots last year, and the boats top speed is 47 when it did the Transatlantic Record in 3.5 days.

Now wind still 23 to 26 knots but sea calming a little so slightly less of a rodeo ride on board, or perhaps we are getting used to it! ..We changed from the small to the medium gennaker at noon, anticipating the wind dropping to 20 knots tonight, as we get closer to the Canaries..

Changing clothing as well, am now just wearing Musto light thermals under the Musto foul weather gear, Its still very wet on deck with the bows sending back jets of spray to the cockpit. Have not put on boots yet, just light shoes with Goretex socks, will save my boots for the Southern Ocean!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Brian's First night at sea onboard Banque Populaire V

We are now tearing across the Bay of Biscay, boatspeed consistently above 30 knots since the start.

Not far from a gybe into Cape Finisterre, and the first part of the trip completed::

Its already starting to get slightly warmer on deck and we are just entering our second night at sea:

The first night was more peaceful, being towed around till midnight in a flat calm, and then hove to in light winds waiting for the wind to fill in at dawn.

The start was spectacular with rough seas off Ushant Island, the swell breaking on the overfalls and onto the jagged cliffs and outlying rocks.

Straight into the record we were doing 35 knots of speed with Loick on the helm, one reef, small gennaker and staysail..The seas were not too pleasant with a large swell on the beam, which gave some rough sailing for the boat and the crew.The seas are starting to line up with the wind now..We have gone to 2 reefs and then back to one reef.

The start reminded me of similar weather conditions when Orange1 started from Ushant, and after 10 minutes the top of their mast had broken off; and they had to pull out and repair it in 2 weeks, before restarting again..Florent Chastel, one of our bowman was on that trip, and it was good to chat about it..I also remember following it at the time, and then reading Nick Moloney's book 'Chasing the Dawn' about that adventure..

Hope you get this ok


Monday, 21 November 2011


Brian and the crew of Banque Populaire V to depart on Jules Verne Trophy record attempt today. Due to leave dock in brest at 5pm French Time... More updates to follow....