The north-north westerlies picked up even more strength this morning to the east of Madagascar, enabling the 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 to reach average speeds of around 30 knots once again.
The area of the Indian Ocean where the trimaran has been sailing for the past couple of days remains tricky due to the presence of icebergs south of the course and high pressure to the north. The strategy involves sailing no closer than 50 nautical miles away from the biggest ice, while performing a series of gybes to stay in a ‘corridor’, on a run to the Kerguelen Islands.
The crew has access to satellite images taken by the French specialist agency CLS, which locates the largest icebergs, some of which measure 300 to 400 metres long. Studiously and concentrating hard, members of the crew take turns with the binoculars during the day and with the infrared glasses at night to detect any suspicious silhouettes on the horizon or the slightest foam that might not just be a breaking wave, but the waves of the swell breaking on a frozen wall of ice.
As a result of this dangerous passage, where there is little wind, the team has lost ground on Banque Populaire V’s record. But Spindrift 2 is now back up to speed, and in just a day’s time will reach the Kerguelen Islands, an archipelago that is well known for its fish-rich shallow waters, which attract fishing boats, but also make for a chaotic sea.
As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 14790.2 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 578.3 nm
Distance ahead of record: -315.18 nm