Update from Brian Thompson on Banque Populaire V
‘Hope everyone had a Good New Year’s Day. We decided to spend our day off….sailing.
So it’s been 40 days and 40 nights at sea, and we are just 2600 miles from the start/finish line. We have a lead of 2,000 miles over the current record holder, on the same day. And we are heading for the Continent at 35 knots.
What could be more perfect? However, eagle eyed followers of the Banque Pop tracker may notice just one tiny detail that is wrong… we are heading for the wrong continent!
A Boston finish is just not going to be acceptable to the Jules Verne committee. So why are we heading for the New World, instead of the Old?
Near the Azores there is going to be a great expanse of light winds associated with the High Pressure, and therefore we are having to head well West to catch the wind from an approaching low pressure system that arrives from the the West. Then ride that wind all the way around the High Pressure to the finish. It’s the Long Route, but it’s our best option. At least with the speed of Banque Populaire we can position ourselves quickly around the ocean’s weather systems. We are rather like a surfer who has to paddle out further offshore as a big set arrives. It’s going to be worth it – when that atmospheric wave arrives…’
‘On deck it’s great conditions, we are sailing at 120 TWA in 28 knots of wind with the staysail and one reef in the main. The sun is shining and it’s a pleasure to steer the boat at 30-40 knots of speed.
We are at the latitude of Antigua, but it’s not shorts and t shirt sailing on board today. We need full on protection from the flying spray, so we are wearing our MUSTO foul weather top and trousers, and donning Gath surf helmets to be able to look forwards…
The spray flies off the front of the central hull each time it lands back in the water, then divides around the front beam and flies back horizontally to hit the cockpit area. For the big lumps of water, it’s worth ducking, as the force in the water can knock you backwards…
With the surf helmet, which is like a light motorbike helmet, you gain a lot more vision for helming without the spray firing into your eyes, but you do lose out on 2 others senses, that of hearing, you miss out on what others are saying around you, and of touch, feeling the wind speed on your face… But it’s a deal well worth making..
Now we are concentrating on intercepting that low pressure and riding it ’til the finish. New Year’s Eve went well last night, no wild nights for anyone, but we did add to our normal freezedried food with some pate de foie gras and some saucisson to start…
Day 40 on Cheyenne, the big catamaran that we set the RTW record in 58 days, with Steve Fossett, we were just rounding Cape Horn, on St Patricks Day..
On Day 40 of the Vendee Globe solo race, I was somewhere south of Australia… It’s good to be on Banque Populaire!’
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