After cutting their way through the Atlantic Ocean thanks to very favorable weather conditions before reaching the Cape Verde Islands, Francis Joyon and his team experienced a slowdown on Friday. But the crew remains confident as they continue their way to the Equator.
Twenty-four hours ago, the maxi-trimaran Idec Sport was a little ahead of the record set by Loïck Peyron on Banque Populaire V in 2012. But their passage through the Cape Verde Islands has once again reversed the situation. Put the blame on the wind shadow of two small islands in the archipelago. As a result, Joyon and his five teammates have had to fight their hearts out, with plenty of gybing, to pull away from it. During the night, Idec Sport left Cape Verde behind it, but the stopwatch is no longer ticking in its favor.
As every day brings a new challenge, the six sailors will have the doldrums to deal with next. Also known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone, this area preceding the Equator is always dreaded by sailors who fear getting stuck there. The challenge will be to get out quick for Francis Joyon who still hopes to reach the Equator in a decent time. “We’re not aiming for a sensational time to the Equator,” reminds the sailor originating from Eure-et-Loir. “We wish to keep down our lag behind the reference time and are counting on more favorable weather in the South Atlantic to see us through to the Cape of Good Hope.”
The maxi-trimaran Idec Sport is currently advancing at an average of 15 knots or so, well down from the average established yesterday which allowed it to literally chomp up miles. The Equator is less than 500 miles away, and the coming hours will be crucial for the team. It’s clear: getting through in good time would undoubtedly cheer up the six men, allowing them to attack the Southern Hemisphere in the best possible way.
Isabelle Trancoen (article translated from French)