Banque Populaire heading for New York

Maxi tri currently 90degrees to her desired course

Monday January 2nd 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Date time Lat Long VMG Crs Spd Spd Spd Dist DTF DT G3
          Inst 4hr 24hr      
02/01/2012 03:00 23°19.36'N 048°57.02'W 0.1 313° 25.3 25.4 29.8 714.4 2 558 1 215.00
02/01/2012 00:00 22°31.09'N 047°56.72'W 2.8 317° 29.6 29.1 30.1 723.3 2 557 1 285.20
01/01/2012 21:00 21°27.88'N 046°49.58'W 3.3 317° 29.3 29.1 29.5 707.3 2 564 1 345.90
01/01/2012 18:00 20°33.70'N 045°34.76'W -1.6 306° 30.9 30.2 29.6 710.3 2 560 1 419.80
01/01/2012 15:00 19°36.35'N 044°17.12'W 4.7 317° 30 30.9 28.9 694.6 2 559 1 481.70
01/01/2012 12:00 18°30.28'N 043°08.77'W 6.8 319° 33 32.8 28.7 689.5 2 572 1 506.20
01/01/2012 09:00 17°13.53'N 041°57.49'W -0.2 305° 28.9 29.5 27.8 666.5 2 594 1 527.50
01/01/2012 06:00 16°16.28'N 040°45.89'W 5.9 316° 29.8 28.3 27.5 659 2 602 1 569.10
01/01/2012 03:00 15°13.51'N 039°41.54'W 13.2 332° 27.3 28.1 27.2 653.2 2 620 1 597.20

Blink and she's in another ocean. Since crossing the Equator on Friday, so Banque Populaire is now firmly back into the familiar territory of the North Atlantic. She crossed the Doldrums on Friday night without missing a beat, but since then...

The finishline of the Jules Verne Trophy is, like the start, between the Le Creac'h lighthouse on Ushant and the Lizard. From the exit of the Doldrums this is on a course of 042°M, but on Friday night she turned her bows to around 352°M and since midnight on Sunday has turned even further northwest, her bows now pointed towards New Jersey...

The reason for this rather extreme 'buffalo girls' manoeuvre is, as the chart above shows, due to the Azores high and more significantly its at present giant western lobe that is effectively blocking the path for the maxi-tris progress home. While the way north still looks impenetrable the high is moving slowly and, hopefully, this ridge will shift east with it allowing Banque Populaire to key into the strong favourable southwesterlies in the southeast quadrant of the next eastbound North Atlantic depression. 

Meanwhile Banque Populaire's lead over Jules Verne Trophy pacesetter, Groupama 3, got up to almost 1600 miles in the early hours of Sunday afternoon, since then impressively poor VMG figures for her progress towards the mark, has caused her to lose 380 miles of this in the last 24 hours... Right now to point at the mark Banque Populaire should be on 059°M, however her course is now around 90 degrees to this.

Loick Peyron yesterday explained their reasoning for this route: "The conditions encountered for the last two days have not been easy for either the boat or the crew. This is the reason why I decided to opt for this slightly weird course that will surprise everyone a little. We had two choices - one to slow down due to the risk of breaking the boat by taking a shorter, more direct route, or to accelerate but lengthen the route which would place less stress on the boat. We took the second option to return to Brest.

2On 3 January we should feel the first effects of a depression and a southerly wind that will accompany us to the finish. With this depression and the anticyclone centered to our south this will force us to revisit the Fastnet on or about 6 January with a potential arrival at around 1800 in the evening of 7 January.

"It looks like we're going to make a stop in New York, but it's not true. For the next 24 hours we will be sailing a course 90° to the normal route, but unfortunately it's the only way for us to get home. Above all, we don't want to be too upwind right now."


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