Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Maxi Banque Populaire V smashes the British Isles Record

Banque Populaire V's successful crew. Image copyright BPCE.

by Marine Carrié

It was 11:06:58pm last Friday when the Maxi Banque Populaire V finished the Tour of the British Isles, bringing to 3 days 3 hours 49 minutes and 14 seconds the reference time held until then by Sidney Gavignet, single handed. Less than a month after having shattered the SNSM Record, Loïck Peyron and his men catch a new title to their conquests by improving the Record by more than a third, by 1 day 11 hours 20 minutes and 13 seconds.

On Friday July 1, the Team Banque Populaire set sail for a week at sea to train the Maxi and her men to offshore sailing. Originally planned as a training course to prepare for the next Jules Verne Trophy scheduled for the end of the year, this session quickly became, thanks to good weather, in a record attempt around the British Isles. "We left Lorient for training. We quickly found ourselves as Nelson's fleet at the time of the Napoleonic wars and we stationed at the entrance of the Channel, on the lookout, between France and England. The Maxi Banque Populaire V is a record hunter and whenever there is a prey to seize, she does not hesitate. The weather gave us a great opportunity ...". Seizing the opportunity offered to them, the thirteen sailors on board then chose to defy the clock and the time set in 2010 by Sidney Gavignet, then alone aboard his trimaran "Oman Air Majan".

Pachyderms in the North Sea

Tuesday, July 5, in the early evening, the Maxi Banque Populaire V thus cut the imaginary starting line off Lizard Point to begin a cautious night in the Pas de Calais strait : " It was a tough night as the traffic is impressive in that area. I opted for a reasonable solution to meet this heavy traffic by standing on the sidelines. We then went for the North Sea under unfriendly conditions but which allowed us to enjoy the amazing show of these large pachyderms that are platforms. It is always fascinating. Something probably masculine with this machine standing in the middle of the sea ".

Relative Calm on the Shetlands

Getting her own pace by deploying her full potential so easily, the maxi trimaran continued her progress towards the Shetlands in the north of England and swallowed the 1 787 milles with an incredible regularity.

Under reduced visibility and with the picture that can be made of navigation in these areas, Loïck Peyron and his crew were forced to slow down "We had a difficult sea passing these islands and the conditions were really tough. It is ultimately the only time we did not push 100% on the boat. "Rare moment of calm quickly erased by a briskly navigation until the end along the Irish coast, around the Fastnet and until the last mile, when the competitive spirit of these enthusiasts sailors, seeking performance, made them easily reach 40 knots.

A "world tour" rythmn

Once this UK loop completed at the average speed of 23.34 knots, the skipper from La Baule, obviously pleased with this new experience shared with twelve men on board, gave way to an initial assessment: “It was very nice and very informative and I was able to deepen my knowledge on the boat. We have sailed as if we were sailing around the world in accordance with shifts and with the precise number of people on deck. We have revised the choreography adapted to each maneuver and turned everyone at different positions. Versatility is key aboard this type of boats. Finally, I have discussed a lot with Juan Vila, navigator, of weather and strategy. We worked with Xavier Revil on the food aspects and reviewed plenty little details with Pierre-Yves Moreau. Tomorrow we will all meet at 6:15 on board for a group debriefing ".

The Maxi Banque Populaire V left the Channel to join her Lorient base for a few days before returning at sea, first for training and then for racing, on the Rolex Fastnet Race which departure will be given on August 14 at Cowes. For Loïck Peyron and his men, the opportunity will once again be seized to confront offshore sailing, diverse competition and to gather more miles in the perspective of next winter’s round the world loop.

Banque Populaire V