Jules Verne Trophy - Great sailing for Banque Populaire V

Brian Thompson, Maxi Banque Populaire V - Jules Verne Trophy 2011
It is now day 21 in the Jules Verne Trophy for the crew of Maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V.

Crewmember Brian Thompson on progress to date:


Great sailing today at 57S in the Southern Ocean, clear skies all day. 30 knots of wind in the first part of the day, which most places would be a reason to cancel racing, or not leave port to venture out. But for us now, after so many days of heavy air downwind, it was a just nice quiet break!

Then it got lighter still in the afternoon to 18 knots, so we increased our sail area to the medium gennaker and full main. It's now 15 knots and set to drop further in next 24 hours, with the breeze heading to give some upwind sailing and tacking to come. Then the following 24 hours will be heavy airs beam reaching followed by more usual downwind sailing. So a very mixed bag of conditions in prospect.

Going upwind at 57S is going to bring some impressive wind chill numbers! Water was at 2C a few hours ago and is now at 5C. We are at the Latitude of Aberdeen in Scotland and Juneau in Alaska.

Few if any sailing boats would ever come here. Round the world races now have mandatory ice gates, and so it's really only a Jules Verne attempt, that has no limits, that would come here. There are no islands to the South, we just passed 100 miles South of Maquarie Island, part of New Zealand, so no reason for a cruising boat to come here - we have the place to ourselves!

And it was spectacular here in our private sea last night- at sunset we had seven big albatrosses following us, and one would circle the boat, passing meters in front of the bow, and just above the water..

The light was taking so long to fade after sunset, that I finally realised, it was not going to fade at all! At midnight local time the light was now in the South, over Antarctica. And by one am it was slightly in the East, so dawn was here. It was an amazingly clear night.

Two days ago we were at 43S, and we are now at 57S - the days character change so much in that distance. And 400 miles to our South, the sun would not have even set last night!

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