The Furious Fifties have been getting angrier since the middle of the night during the Jules Verne Trophy. The crew of IDEC SPORT is hurtling along at more than thirty knots in the icy southern latitudes. Francis Joyon and his men won back fifty miles during the night.
This acceleration must be a boost for Francis Joyon’s crew down in the icy weather of the Furious Fifties. At the start of this 16th day of racing since the start off Ushant, the instruments on IDEC SPORT are back up to target speeds: 30 knots or more. At just over 800 miles south of the Kerguelens, the big, red trimaran has stepped up the pace.
During the night, the end of the 15th day of racing, there has been a minor strategic play. They have tacked a further forty miles south. We are going to have to wait until the radio link-up later this morning to find out the reason behind this move, but it is likely that this is a way to find more wind as they dive down towards the Antarctic continent. IDEC SPORT has since continued eastwards, but we can imagine what life must now be like so far south, as they are on maximum alert watching for growlers and icebergs,, which tend to be further down for the moment, where it is even colder and therefore even more dangerous. From ashore, it is a relief to see that they have gybed again and are now heading in the right direction.
In any case, if the aim was to pick up more speed, they have succeeded. Since 0230hrs UTC today (Monday 7th December), IDEC SPORT’s sport has been around 30.5 – 32.5 knots. Over the day the average is now around 600 miles and climbing. Francis Joyon and his men have reaped the benefits, as after being some 800 miles behind the record pace yesterday, are now “only” 750 miles behind this morning. There has therefore been a gain of fifty miles. A good figure, which cheers everyone up.
After 15 days and 3 hours of racing at 0600hrs this morning, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 31.5 knots at 52°43 South and 46°06 East, or 450 miles away from the continent of Antarctica. Bearing: east (86°).