On Monday, November 21, the massive 130-foot French trimaran Banque Populaire V set out from Ushant, France, in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy, which is awarded yacht holding the record for the fastest circumnav under sail. This represents the boat’s second attempt in under a year. Last February, Banque Populaire V and skipper Pascal Bidegorry had to give up on the Jules Verne after striking a submerged object off the South African coast.
Thus far, with skipper Loïck Peyron in command, the boat has done well, setting a new record from Ushant to the equator of just 5 days 14 hours. The time to beat around the world is 48 days, 7 hours and 45 minutes, a record set by skipper Franck Cammas and crew aboard the maxi-tri Groupama 3 in 2009. Rounding the Cape of Good Hope, Banque Populaire V was over a day ahead of the pace set by Groupama 3 in its record run.
Early on, when still north of the equator, the crew had the unusual experience is seeing no less than fiver other boats in the space of five hours.
“When the first one appeared, I was steering and it was right ahead, so a 'fly by' was always going to happen,” says helmsman Brian Thompson, the one British sailor among the largely French crew.
“As we got closer we had the strongest wind of the day, and we were doing 37 knots as we flashed past the cruising catamaran about 15 meters off,” Thompson says. “It looked like a 45-foot British cat, and it seemed to be the flying the flag of the ARC race, so that's perhaps what all the others were doing, they had all left the Canaries for St Lucia at the same time…hope they all have a good crossing. I wonder where on earth we will be when they are sipping their first rum punch?”
For the latest on Banque Populaire V’s voyage, click here.
Banque Populaire V has a close encounter with another multihull in the North Atlantic.