Huge, Pretty Big, and Frankly Tiny
Some interesting waiting around taking place in New York these days, where gigantism meets dwarfism.
The issue is rather simple: in order to get below the 4-day barrier on the Ambrose Light – Lizard Point route, an average speed exceeding 30 knots is required, and Banque Populaire skipper Pascal Bidégorry knows that the fate of his North Atlantic record attempt will lie within a handful of hours, maybe even minutes. Steve Fossett was the first to exceed 20 knots average on that course in 2001, and five years later Bruno Peyron bettered the reference time by some 9 hours, crossing the Atlantic in 4 days and 8 hours. The following year, Franck Cammas shaved another 4h30 off the record, but this time it’s another story: after 8 years spent within the "4 days and something" range, we’re now looking at less than 96 hours. That’s still a bit more than it takes your typical marketing genius to come up with a brilliant idea to sell you crap you don’t need, but amounts to less than 35% of the first recorded reference time, set by Charlie Barr in 1905.
Both Banque Populaire and Groupama 3 are in New York waiting for THE window to open, and one could also add the presence of Sodeb’O as Thomas Coville is in the starting blocks in the singlehanded category on that same course (don’t know if you’re bored with figures yet, but the current solo record stands at 5 days 19h 30m 40s according to the WSSRC, 5d 19h 29m 20s according to Coville’s website). Worth noting that both Cammas and Coville are trying to beat their own records, whilst for Banque Pop it’s a matter of capturing a first proof of her potential, which should be fairly impressive. After all, we are talking about the biggest racing sailing multihull ever built, and even if that type of "as-seen-on-TV" assertions are always a bit cheesy as standalone slogans, it implies a rather high level of expectation.