Spindrift and IDEC on the back foot

Maxi tris struggle in the South Atlantic on their Jules Verne Trophy attempts

Monday December 28th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Both Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli's Spindrift 2 and Francis Joyon's IDEC Sport are on the backfoot at the end of day 36 at sea on their respective Jules Verne Trophy attempts. Both have fallen behind the pace of the present non-stop round the world record holders, Loick Peyron and the crew of Banque Populaire V.

As usual, to make up for the speed deficit due to being on a smaller boat - at 31.5m long compared to Spindrift 2's 40m - solo round the world veteran Francis Joyon and the crew of IDEC SPORT have been employing different tactics compared to their rival. On this part of the course - the return leg up the South Atlantic - IDEC Sport has taken an easterly route north, even more so than Banque Populaire V did four years ago, while Spindrift 2 has stayed closer to the coasts of Argentina, Urugary and now Brazil.

While both boats were ahead of Banque Populaire V's relative position as they rounded Cape Horn on Tuesday, this situation has since reversed (yet again) with first IDEC dropping behind and followed by Spindrift 2 on Friday. Over the weekend these deficits have increased. At 0600 UTC this morning, Spindrift 2 had dropped to being 445 miles off the record pace with IDEC Sport a further 300+ miles astern.

At present both boats are off the Brazilian coast negotating the west side of the St Helena high. Spindrift 2 is just approaching the latitude of Rio while IDEC Sport is closer to the latitude of Itajai and still much further offshore. IDEC Sport is currently on starboard tack and the further north she sails, the more she will be lifted as the wind veers into the northeast. Further up the race track, Spindrift 2 is on port and sailing into a header and will tack most probably at the point she can comfortably pass Recife (the most easterly point along the Brazilian coast) on starboard. Given this scenario, IDEC should recover some miles from Spindrift 2 over the next 24 hours, with the boats reaching the favourable easterly trades in two to three day's time.

While their respective deficits on Banque Populaire V are alarming, the shore-based routing teaming of both campaigns will be keeping their fingers crossed that their boats will be able to recoup the lost miles in the North Atlantic. On her record attempt Banque Populaire V was forced to sail half way to Bermuda, a massive detour on her way back to the finish line. Will Spindrift 2 and IDEC Sport be forced to do the same or can they save vital miles by cutting the corner?

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