Saturday, 15 May 2010

Banque Populaire V to attempt Mediterranean Record tomorrow at dawn

Banque Populaire V. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut/BPCE.

by Virginie Bouchet (in translation)

The Maxi Banque Populaire V, currently at La Ciotat preparing for its Mediterranean record attempt, should attack, tomorrow morning at dawn The Mediterranean Record. Pascal Bidégorry and his crew, already holders of the Records of the Atlantic North and the 24H, will leave the Harbour of La Ciotat at the end of the day in the direction of Marseilles and the starting line of this record of 455 nautical miles.

It is already a little more than a month that the Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire exchanged the freshness of the Atlantic for the quietness of the South. There has been a training series on Mediterranean, very enriching but also permitting an opportunity to greet the public and the assistants of Banque Populaire. Competitors above all, Pascal Bidégorry and his men have therefore decided to take this timely forecast window to attempt the Record of The Mediterranean. The elements seem to be on their side this weekend of the Ascension to realize an "Express" crossing of the Mediterranean from Marseilles to Carthage; the 455 nautical miles between France and Tunisia.

17 hours 8 minutes and 23 seconds to beat!

For a long time held by Bruno Peyron on Orange II in 17h53mn33s, the new time of reference was established by Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 just a year ago, on May 16 2009. With an average speed of 26.72 knots, it will be necessary to do better...

And for that, the Basque sailor has surrounded himself with a crew of 11 men, all impatient to be off! "We have an interesting opportunity: with the wind at 30 to 35 knots it will be necessary to be vigilant, for that will be powerful. It will be necessary to go quickly without stuffing up!" says Pascal Bidégorry. The sailor of the Maxi Banque Populaire envisions a departure on starboard tack, and to align with a trajectory to the South of Sardinia, the aim being to undertake as few manoeuvres as possible. "There will be a small gap of one or two hours to quickly place the boat on a good trajectory. The departure timing will be critical for the continuation." The only unknown at the moment: will the wind remain with the boat to the finish?

The Mediterranean and its uncertainties...

455 nautical miles! A very short distance that does not permit the least error, "from the point of view of the forecast, a minute alteration can very quickly stop the crossing." And the Mediterranean is crammed with uncertainties "The sea becomes short and choppy very quickly when there is wind. That makes everything become very athletic and chaotic quickly, and therefore difficult to make speed. As for the forecast, we know equally that it can change quickly but for the moment, the indications are coherent." In expectation, a after spending tonight in the bay of Marseilles, the Maxi should set off tomorrow morning at the first glimmers of day. "We were there in training and this will be a superb navigation with a precise objective, which is more interesting. We will take advantage, equally, of the return to continue our training" concludes Pascal.

A representative of the WSSRC, World Sailing Speed Record Council, set up in 1972 by the international sailing federation to measure in an impartial way sailing records, is in charge of validating this attempt of Record.

Time to beat: 17H 8MN 23S; this is henceforth for the men of the Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V to play with!

The crew for The Mediterranean Record:

Pascal Bidégorry - skipper
Thierry Chabagny
Florent Chastel
Kévin Escoffier
Emmanuel Le Borgne
Ewen Le Clech
John-Baptist Le Vaillant
Ronan Lucas
Pierre-Yves Moreau
Yvan Ravussin
Xavier Revil
Erwan Tabarly

Banque Populaire V