Banque Populaire V heading home

Banque Populaire - was averaging 35kts before the collision - Jules Verne Trophy February 2011
© B.Stichelbaut / Sea&Co
Brian Thompson is a crew member aboard the Maxi Trimiran Banque Populaire V, which was attempting the break the Jules Verne Trophy 'fully crewed' record, currently held by Groupama 3.

Several days ago, Banque Populaire V hit an unidentified object and was forced to abandon their pursuit of that record. The maxi trimaran is now heading back to its French base.


Brian reports on February 8th.

Heading Home.

We gybed onto the long starboard up to the Doldrums at midnight and are now heading north at good speed. Now at 30 30S, so into the latitude of southern Brasil, northern South Africa, southern Australia and well north of all of New Zealand..

Sailing with the medium gennaker, staysail and full main. Saw the first flying fish yesterday so the albatrosses are far behind now, wheeling around the Southern Ocean without us.

Yesterday, when not steering, I had an educational time with my iphone, and the brilliant ‘Star Walk’ application, learning the Southern stars properly. The Southern cross I knew already, embedded in the milky way, but not alpha and beta centauri, the triangle australis, and I recognized Saturn for the first time ever. So more study tomorrow, and the rest of the crew are getting keen on the stars and planets too. Although as Yvon said, you can’t see the Southern Cross from his home in Switzerland, so he’s waiting till in the Nothern Hemisphere to learn the stars!

I think from doing celestial navigation pre GPS I became interested in finding stars, just so that you can calculate your own position, but now in this age of the instant positioning its interesting to find more about the stars than just where to find them…

The days here are flashing by, watch by watch. The equator is coming up rapidly and after that there is some windy upwind in the NE tradewinds. So enjoying this downwind sleighride we are having now. Very low stress as we are still have our speed limits in force to preserve the daggerboard..

All the best from the South Atlantic.

7th Feb 37S O2E

Heading north now and its rapidly getting warmer, just in one day the water temp has gone from 11 to 18C. Skies are still cloudy but I am sure by tonight as we are up to the latitude of South Africa, we are once more going to see the stars again.

We are sailing carefully downwind, in maxi trimaran terms, and throttling right back to 25 – 26 knots, to take care of the repaired daggerboard. It seems strange, and I am speaking as someone who still remembers the rush of excitement when I first hit 10 knots on a keelboat, but on this boat 20 knots feels like you are trickling along and at 25 you are just starting to get moving. It really is a speed generator. I have say that I sometimes consciously subtract 10 knots from the BandG speed display just to make some normality to the numbers, not to be spooked by doing a steady 39 knots or whatever it might be..’Ok, its only 29 knots, lets try for 30!’..which is of course 40!

I have an amazing 40 mins before I go on watch with nobody else waiting for the computer, and only one job to do – looking after the watermaker and filling the waterbottles, so I thought that I would send a few emails, but it always takes longer than I think, but that is French keyboards for you.

http://www.brianthompsonsailing.blogspot.com/