With short waves and a NW’ly wind of over 30 knots, there’s no doubt this morning, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is in the teeth of the forties. Despite the boisterous conditions, which are not facilitating the giant’s passage through the sea, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their crew have managed to maintain high speeds throughout the night. A sustained pace, albeit perfectly balanced to preserve the gear, has enabled them to significantly increase their lead over Idec Sport in the past 24 hours. At the 07:00 UTC position report, the latest of the Gitanas was darting along towards the Cape of Good Hope and the entrance to the Indian Ocean some 952.4 miles ahead of the bows of their virtual adversary.
For more than 48 hours now, and since the millimetre precision of her connection with the train of austral low-pressure systems, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has been able to lengthen her stride and show off some of the power of her capacity. The speeds are certainly exhilarating, but they in no way detract from the pragmatism and clear-headedness of the two skippers, with over 16,000 miles still to go: “We’re only at the start of this round the world. On the section between Rio and Good Hope, conditions were naturally favourable for a 24-hour speed record but it was important not to forget our objective. Sailing at high speed already places the gear and the systems under a lot of strain, but very high speed is an additional risk that simply isn’t worth taking at this stage in our Jules Verne Trophy”, explained Franck Cammas.
Yesterday, in the last messages of the evening exchanged between the boat and their router Marcel van Triest, it was time to sort out the night’s sail configurations and update the weather forecast: “Overnight and in the coming hours, the wind could pick up quite a lot, notably with some possible gusts in excess of 40-45 knots. It’s important to bear that in mind to remain with a careful configuration in terms of headsail.”
With a passage of Cape Agulhas scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday 21 January, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is on the pace, proving that she is right on target with the tempo. In fact, according to the exact time they pass the tip of South Africa, the six sailors could well treat themselves to their first new reference time of their round the world record attempt. In the meantime, a new wet and lively day of sailing awaits them in the roaring forties.