Thursday, 24 February 2011

Day-to-day on the Maxi Banque Populaire V's first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy

Crew on the Maxi Banque Populaire V Trophee Jules Verne attempt. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Sea&co/BPCE.

by Virginie Bouchet

The fourteen sailors, who left Brest on board the Maxi Banque Populaire V on January 22 on their first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, arrived in their home base of Lorient last Friday. Those thirteen days racing and the delivery back to Lorient will definitely leave incredible memories and will feed the future challenges of Pascal Bidegorry and his men: Beat the record time established by Franck Cammas and his team in March 2010 in 48 days 7 hours and 44 minutes.

Day-to-day on this first attempt:

Saturday, January 22: D-Day

Between emotion and enthusiasm, the fourteen sailors leave the docks of Brest early in the morning to rally the departure area off Ushant, fully concentrated to tackle this difficult and demanding challenge. At 12:11:45 pm, the countdown begins...

Sunday, January 23: Day-1
The crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire is in the heart of the subject after 24 hours at sea with tough conditions. Off Cape Finisterre, the Maxi’s speedometer nearly reached 40 knots. A baptism of fire worth the challenge!

Monday, January 24: Day-2
With a lead of 169 miles and softer sailing conditions, the crew is concentrated in addressing a tricky transition and light winds at the passage of Cape Verde.

Tuesday, January 25: Day-3
Situated at 500 miles off the African continent, the Maxi Banque Populaire V heads toward the first symbolic waypoint: the Equator. An active flow generated by a depression located on the Canary Islands enables the giant trimaran to increase its lead over the reference time.

Wednesday, January 26: Day-4
In the absence of trade winds and the sensitivity of the weather situation, Pascal Bidegorry and his thirteen men take advantage of the moment to elaborate strategies to address an expected slowdown.

Thursday, January 27: Day-5
In the middle of the Doldrums, time flies. Struggling to reach 3 knots of speed in very unstable conditions, the inter-tropical convergence zone is playing with the crew’s nerves.

Friday, January 28: Day-6
5 days 17 hours 44 minutes and 04 seconds at an average speed of 25.9 knots to cross the Equator, which is the second fastest lap time on this course, Pascal Bidegorry and his crew enter the south and nicely celebrate their release of the light winds.

Saturday, January 29: Day-7
The Doldrums are not over though and the Maxi Banque Populaire still has to face unstable conditions a week after leaving Brest. Despite a preserved lead, the crew considers heading towards the Brazilian coasts to avoid a capricious Santa Helena High.

Sunday, January 30: Day-8
Installed on an ideal trajectory to get to the South, the St. Helena high is thus annoying the Maxi Banque Populaire V who is forced to opt for a road placing her a hundred miles of Brazil.

Monday, January 31: Day-9
To get to the south, the giant trimaran has no other option than to get round this no wind area, and lags behind with a delay of 200 miles

Tuesday, February 1: Day-10
"To make the most of the boat and the strategy in place" ... The tone is set. With a depression forming over Uruguay, heading toward the Cape of Good Hope is being considered.

Wednesday, February 2: Day-11
434 miles won back and 741 miles covered in 24 hours! No two days are alike on board the Maxi Banque Populaire V, which seized every opportunity to demonstrate its incredible potential, so much that Pascal Bidégorry confides himself in that he must restrain the ardour of this incredible machine. A good way to recharge batteries before a less encouraging future, especially as ice threatens 150 miles away from Good Hope.

Thursday, February 3: Day-12
The news arrives as a bombshell: the maxi-trimaran collided with an UFO during the night, perhaps a whale. The daggerboard has suffered great damage in the collision that caused the failure of the structural bar, the crash box has disappeared ... Careful intervention is required.

Friday, February 4: Day-13
After long hours spent considering all solutions to carry on this record attempt around the world, the state of the daggerboard delivers a final verdict forcing Pascal Bidégorry and his men to forfeit in the South Atlantic. What remains of the appendage does not permit the crew to address the Kerguelen Islands upwind with the safety required and with full performance. Caution and sea sense prevail.


The following day, the Maxi Banque Populaire V puts some North in her way for a delivery back to her home port of Lorient. Given the circumstances, she enjoyed softer conditions than on its way down and arrived in Brittany this Sunday around 10 am. It is now time for each of them to take stock of this adventure which, whatever the outcome, will remain rich and exceptional.

* Unidentified Floating Object

Banque Populaire V