• Cape Horn To Port

    500 miles from the Indian Ocean

    The men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are preparing to leave the familiar waters of the Atlantic Ocean and devour those of the less hospitable Indian Ocean. Indeed, at midday tomorrow, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, David Boileau, Erwan Israël, Morgan Lagravière and Yann Riou should pass the longitude of Cape Agulhas, which marks the entrance to the Southern Ocean. If the men of Gitana Team maintain the same pace they’ve been setting for the past three days or so, they should manage to post a fine time by way of a conclusion for this section of the course, which measures nearly 6,200 miles (or around 10,000 km).

    One should not always go by appearances… Despite an average speed of over 33 knots racked up by the flying maxi-trimaran over the past 24 hours, the six sailors who make up her crew are endeavouring to slow the giant down as best they can, but all she wants to do is accelerate. In a wind of between 30 and 35 knots, gusting to over 45 knots, which slaps into the sails, together with short, cross seas, now is not the time for excess speed. Rather it is all about striking a balance and preserving the gear. “We’ve been hunting for the brakes for the past few hours,” admitted Charles Caudrelier.

    After ten and a half days at sea, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild were benefiting from a nice lead of more than 950 miles over its virtual adversary at 15:00 UTC. However, a closer look at the chart reveals that it is in the next few hours that Francis Joyon and his men, the current holders of the Jules Verne Trophy, began their incredible straight-line ride towards the Pacific, a clear and implacable trajectory, which enabled them to secure a top-flight record in the Indian Ocean. Suffice to say that the match has only just begun.

    Tuned into the noise, Yann Riou, trimmer and media crewman, aims the mike at the partners joining him in this extreme sailing synonymous with the Jules Verne Trophy. It’s a wonderful invitation to an audio journey sharing the extraordinary daily life of these six crewmen engaged in the quest for the speed record around the seas of the globe.

    David Boileau, 20 January 2021, in the forties
    “Right around us it’s magnificent! A blue sky, sunshine, reflections in the light blue sea… The seas are very heavy, with big breeze, and the boat is slipping along at 30-35 knots. It’s very pretty! Beyond the picture postcard though, it’s not always fantastically comfortable aboard. With the sea as it is, the boat has a tendency to come to an abrupt standstill in the waves. You have to hang on inside the Maxi, making sure you’re careful when you’re moving around the boat so as you don’t get caught out. This morning for example, I cut my finger near the galley, down in the central hull, just hanging on to make sure I didn’t fall. I got hooked up on a screw. Moreover, when we cook, to avoid getting ejected, we have a strap that we wrap around our waist. However, this morning, during my incident, I wasn’t in the galley, rather I was just passing into that area on my way out of my resting watch aft in the bunk area, which is located under the cockpit. In terms of sound, yes, it’s always very noisy. You hear the water slipping along the hulls or slamming against them, as well as the whistling appendages. However, this noise is a good reference and enables us to anticipate the motion of the boat quite well. With the vibration of the hull, you feel the acceleration and you imagine the inevitable follow-up deceleration. At that point, everyone hangs onto whatever they have to hand to cushion the blow when the boat lands back down! The boat has also been under a lot of strain for the past three days. We’re being very attentive and doing what needs to be done in terms of speed to preserve the gear as much as possible.”


    Riding on the back of the depression
    With short waves and a NW’ly wind of over 30 knots, there’s no doubt this morning, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is in the teeth of the forties. Despite the boisterous conditions, which are not facilitating the giant’s passage through the sea, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their crew have managed to maintain high speeds throughout the night. A sustained pace, albeit perfectly balanced to preserve the gear, has enabled them to significantly increase their lead over Idec Sport in the past 24 hours. At the 07:00 UTC position report, the latest of the Gitanas was darting along towards the Cape of Good Hope and the entrance to the Indian Ocean some 952.4 miles ahead of the bows of their virtual adversary.

    For more than 48 hours now, and since the millimetre precision of her connection with the train of austral low-pressure systems, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has been able to lengthen her stride and show off some of the power of her capacity. The speeds are certainly exhilarating, but they in no way detract from the pragmatism and clear-headedness of the two skippers, with over 16,000 miles still to go: “We’re only at the start of this round the world. On the section between Rio and Good Hope, conditions were naturally favourable for a 24-hour speed record but it was important not to forget our objective. Sailing at high speed already places the gear and the systems under a lot of strain, but very high speed is an additional risk that simply isn’t worth taking at this stage in our Jules Verne Trophy”, explained Franck Cammas.

    Yesterday, in the last messages of the evening exchanged between the boat and their router Marcel van Triest, it was time to sort out the night’s sail configurations and update the weather forecast: “Overnight and in the coming hours, the wind could pick up quite a lot, notably with some possible gusts in excess of 40-45 knots. It’s important to bear that in mind to remain with a careful configuration in terms of headsail.”

    With a passage of Cape Agulhas scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday 21 January, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is on the pace, proving that she is right on target with the tempo. In fact, according to the exact time they pass the tip of South Africa, the six sailors could well treat themselves to their first new reference time of their round the world record attempt. In the meantime, a new wet and lively day of sailing awaits them in the roaring forties.


    Position of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild on 20 January at 15:45 UTC:
    Lead in relation to the record: 950.7 nm
    Speed: 32.8 knots
    Course: 81°

    Numbers to note:
    Passage across the line: 10 January 2021 at 01h 33' 46'' UTC
    Passage of the equator: 15 January 2021 at 14h 48’ 32’’ UTC, in 5 days 13 hours 14 minutes and 46 seconds
    Deadline for beating the record: 20 February at 01h 3' and 15''
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Gitana Crew Packs Their Round The World Bags started by Photoboy View original post