A tricky crossing of the Pot au Noir that saw them temporarily fall behind the record pace has given way to champagne sailing for Pascal Bidégorry’s 131-ft trimaran Banque Populaire V. Recording the second fastest time to the Equator — 5d, 17h and 44m, an average of 25.9 knots — the big blue and white boat has a 65-mile lead over Groupama 3‘s ’10 time. But the next section of the course, from the Brazilian Coast to the Cape of Good Hope, will be a dogfight for the 14-man crew in their Jules Verne Record Attempt. The St. Helena High is elongated from east to west, and getting to the Southern Ocean may be a significant challenge.
“The situation is not very clear for now but we might have to go around the northern side of it, which would imply taking a big detour to reach Good Hope," Bidégorry said. "We are attentively looking at the satellite images received every hour. One certain thing is that we do not have a crystal ball to look into but we definitely won’t let any opportunity go, and make everything we can to increase our lead on the reference time."
Going over the top of the high could mean a big deficit against Groupama 3‘s time, as although Franck Cammas’ 105-ft tri was slowed by the High last year, it was able to get to the south along the more direct counter-clockwise route.