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Banque Populaire V Jules Verne Trophy attempt - Day 44

by Brian Thompson 5 Jan 2012 19:31 GMT

Guess how far we have to go... 1000 MILES!

We have just turned over our countdown odometer from 1001 to 999! So to now break the existing record, we have to average about 10 knots. 2 days ago, near Bermuda, it was 17 knots, and back at the Equator, 6 days ago, it was a 13 knots average required.

For a while there, we were slipping backwards on the record, and it could have turned out badly if the weather did not follow the predictions as we were a long way from home. Fortunately it did, so now we are relatively secure speed wise, it's down to the great unknowns; equipment breakage and unseen floating objects, that could scupper our dreams now. We are being as prudent as possible, sailing at a good pace, but in control at all times, so we hope that will cover most of the risk of breakage. The other is in the lap of the gods to a large extent.

The speed of this boat is very deceptive, when you are below, or in the cuddy on deck, or even on the helm looking forwards, it all seems relatively tame. But a couple of times today I have been reminded that 35 knots is very, very fast indeed.

Earlier I went to the leeward side, to look at the gennaker trim, and watched the wake firing off the leeward hull. It's unbelievable how fast that looks, and how strongly you get the impression of the boat hurtling through the water.

The second time, I was steering, and Chab was standing by me to take over. We both looked away from the bow for an instant, and BAM! We were hit by a block of water that had been thrown into the air by the bows. That block had hung in the air, motionless, for an instant, and then the beam, 30m back, and our upper bodies drove into it at 35 knots... it was like lying on the floor and a 25kg flour sack being dropped on your chest from a 4m height. Chab thought he had been punched in the head, though fortunately, he did not think it was me!

Normally when a watery wrecking ball like that comes through you crouch right down in a fast, reflexive move, but this time we missed it. However, it was extremely funny at the time, and I was glad to have had a good hold of the helm, to not get knocked off it.

Will send more later. Time for 1h 20m sleep.


Follow Banque Populaire V's progress on the Jules Verne Trophy tracker

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