IDEC Climbs to record pace while Spindrift Struggles

The maxi trimarans battle to find the best path through the Indian Ocean and the Furious Fifties.

Yann Riou

On board Spindrift 2:

Since this morning, the 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 has been enjoying more lively conditions than in recent days, whilst remaining in a relatively flat sea, which is allowing the boat to maintain good speeds.

In an average breeze of 25 knots, downwind, boat speed of around 30-32 knots is being achieved. Since yesterday, the maxi-trimaran has been surfing along a depression that is barely moving faster than it, which means the skipper and the navigator have the chance to position us and choose the desired wind strength. If the wind softens, then we have to gybe south and move closer to the centre of the depression. If, on the other hand, the wind and sea state strengthen to the point of slowing the progress of the boat, there is always the possibility of readjusting north.

In these conditions, progress is rapid. A little less, however, than that of Banque Populaire V in the same place, which reeled out some quite staggering averages, particularly because it was sailing a direct route without having to gybe.

In the early afternoon, the crew passed about 20 miles north of the Kerguelen Islands. They chose this trajectory in order to avoid some overly strong wind and a horrible sea under the archipelago. The challenge ahead: to successfully pass in front of a deep depression arriving straight from Madagascar.

IDEC Sport

On board IDEC Sport:

The 31.5m IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran has regained 200 miles in 24 hours. The Furious Fifties are pushing the big, red trimaran at high speed across the Indian Ocean. But they need to watch out for icebergs. Yesterday, Francis Joyon's crew came within a mile of one of these ice monsters, as big as a cargo ship…

They are now enjoying the Southern Ocean. “Yesterday we were engulfed in the mist and came to within a mile of an iceberg, which cooled down our excitement.” Cooled down may not be the ideal word to use here, as the temperature is already icy enough at 52 degrees south in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet and Boris Herrmann experienced the scary appearance of ice late yesterday afternoon. “We couldn’t see anything beyond 30 metres or so (a boat length – editor’s note )” explained Francis Joyon. “We spotted it on the radar, but we couldn’t see anything through the mist even with binoculars. We passed within a mile of this huge iceberg without seeing it. According to the size on the radar, it was about 150m long or the length of a cargo vessel…”