The Battle for the Southern Ocean

The two maxi trimarans are battling back to record pace and eating up the miles in the southern oceans, closing the time gap.

December 11, 2015

From Spindrift Racing:

As they pass the longitude of the second symbolic cape of a round-the-world voyage, the 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 is showing a deficit in time of 11 hours and 25 minutes, but in reality, the more southerly trajectory of the trimaran, led by Yann Guichard, means it is now ahead. Struggling with a ridge of high pressure for two days, the crew can see a way out with the arrival of a depression coming from Madagascar.

It is difficult to explain how a boat can be in front when it is behind. But this is exactly what is happening on the water between Spindrift 2, who passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at 115° 08′ East, this Thursday, December 10 at 15:27 GMT and Banque Populaire V‘s record time in 2011. The explanation is that the closer a boat is to the South Pole, the shorter its way around Antarctica, because the earth is a sphere.


Spindrift 2 recorded 18 days 11 hours and 25 minutes to reach the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, since leaving Ushant on Sunday, November 22. It has covered 12,295 miles at an average speed of 27.73 knots. The delta with the record time is not prohibitive, even with the weather conditions forecast until tomorrow (Friday) not being favourable for reducing it: the ridge of high pressure blocking the black and gold trimaran is expected to dissipate slowly at the entrance into the Pacific Ocean (south of Tasmania) by Saturday at dawn, and should not substantially change the situation.

From IDEC Sport:

Francis Joyon’s crew on 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT is in the process of succeeding in their gamble and achieving the remarkable feat of wiping out a deficit of 800 miles in just four days. They are but a couple clicks now off the pace, and tonight will be crossing the longitude of Cape Leeuwin.


The six sailors on board IDEC SPORT are still pushing hard in their challenge of claiming back lost ground, which began on Sunday evening, as they attempt to get back to the pace set by the record-holder, Loïck Peyron’s Banque Populaire V. They have had to fight to keep a tropical low coming down from Madagascar behind them, and they appear to have achieved this goal. As they dash across the Indian Ocean, it has been a bitter struggle too, “dealing with the cold and maintaining high speeds,” as Gwénolé Gahinet, who is discovering the Southern Ocean, explained.

The boat could not be contacted today and we can fully understand why. In the polar cold in the Southern Ocean at between 52 and 54 degrees south, the aim of the six men on IDEC SPORT has been clear: they have to sail as quickly as possible on the straightest course they can find. They have been doing just that, taking it in turns at the helm changing over every hour to remain fully focused. The speeds are high averaging more than thirty knots with peaks of forty, meaning they are covering more than 700 miles in 24 hours.


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