Banque Populaire V

Banque Populaire V

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Day 29

When we were storming across the Indian Ocean 10 days ago, 2000 miles ahead of the record,  we had dreamed of being at Cape Horn today, but the large detour around the ice zone, and then this roadblock of a  ridge have shattered that pleasant dream..

So back in reality, for the last 2 days we have been downwind sailing, trying to find a way through this ridge that is moving East slowly. In the middle of it there is no wind, so we have so nearly gotten through it several times, but the wind dies on us, the ridge moves on, and we are still left on the west side, the door slammed in our face...

Fortunately this ridge of no wind will finally start to migrate north tomorrow, with westerly winds coming in below it. So we have sailed far south, into the 'screaming' 60s latitudes, to be ready to go through when the door finally lets us past.

You have to be an optimist in this record breaking game, so there is always some good news...Todays good news is that there is currently no wind at the Horn or going up the S.Atlantic, so we are not missing out on a fantastic ride north. In fact, we are looking quite fortunate that a low is going to hold off forming, till our delayed arrival,  and then it should help us up to 40S in the Atlantic..

So we have lost loads of miles on Groupama3 lately, though we hope to be still ahead at Cape Horn. One could then imagine that cracks would show in the team, and people would get disheartened, but thats not the case at all. There is a lot of good humour on the boat, a lot of banter, joking and laughter, especially at the changes of watch, and that helps everyone to get over that pleasant dream of 29 days to the Horn..Loick is the prime joker, the most positive person you could hope to meet, and of course, that feeds Into the rest of the team.

So more sailing with our maximum sail area today - big gennaker, full main and staysail..the windspeed should be in the teens, and although the seastate has been quite bad on starboard gybe, heading straight into a Southerly swell, that swell seems to be getting smaller now, and we should be mainly on port gybe..

It's midnight here now local time, with quite low cloud, though clear visibility. Just wanted to test the light intensity, and you can read the headlines on a magazine easily, but just not quite the small print.
So no problem with looking ahead for ice from the helm with the naked eye, but according to the information we have, the ice is now just behind us..


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