Audio yesterday from Banque Populaire 5 crew Thierry Chabagny, one of France’s top Figaro sailors. A 10 meter monohull to a 40 meter trimaran is a big change, as you’ll see below in the transcribed and translated report from Thierry:
“Big sun today, the sea is warm at 22 degrees C and the air temperature is about 24 degrees C. It’s very pleasant; I was steering a while ago, with shorts, t-shirt, cap and sunglasses; it’s great! We are sailing upwind, so the boat speed is not crazy, but we have good air circulation in the boat and the temperature is absolutely bearable inside. It feels really good to sail in those latitudes, especially after the 3 weeks of cold weather we just went through.
“I am very lucky to be able to do fleet racing in one design 10 m monohulls and also a transoceanic multihull; it is very interesting to do both; there is not much in common between both boats, except the speed… but only when they are tied to the dock.
“With the multihull, it is a different way of sailing, it’s much faster, the apparent wind is always stronger; the average speeds are mind boggling, compared to that, a Figaro is really a snail!!
“Both sailing experience are interesting; being able to go from one to the other, it is one of the advantages of this sport. I am really blessed to have the opportunity to do both.
“We all have that in mind right now. Loick and the shift leaders remind us to stay focused. Not being in the Roaring Forties anymore, sailing in the tradewinds, we all tend to relax a bit, it’s natural; but as Marcel is telling us, winning a race or breaking a record can depend on details; you miss a transition by a few minutes, or you are late for the next weather system and it slips away from you, and a small delay can become a huge loss at the end.
“The other key point is to preserve the boat, we have to make it go fast, but without pushing it too hard. We have to sail smart! The boat has almost an around the world trip under its keel by now! We have to be careful, but still sail the boat on its polar charts…
“We are all wearing white t-shirts, to not get too hot on our back, caps, sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid sunburns, all barefoot in our Crocs and And we’re going upwind, so the good air circulation in the boat makes the inside temperature OK.
“It’s a great change from the Southern Ocean; not only it was much colder, but it was also really tougher sailing conditions, with the icebergs, and so on; so it was stressful. Now, we have squalls, so we still have to be careful, especially at night. The nights are much longer now, so it’s a bit more tiring; and you have to stay on watch duty on the radar to see the squalls coming, so it’s a different kind of sailing.
That’s one of the nice things about sailing back up the Atlantic Ocean, you go quickly through very different weather systems… We needed the warm weather, really. So we take full advantage of it.
“We are sailing at 17-18 knots, at 45-50 degrees off the wind, we have 16 knots of wind, hot air, so not too powerful, a little bit of a chop, but nothing nasty. So it doesn’t slow us down. Water temperature, 22.5 degrees C; that’s pretty nice!”
In the same post, Marcel Van Triest is quoted saying that they are going to increase their 900+ NM lead in the next 2 days, because Groupama was going through some slow stuff at the time. On the other hand, the North Atlantic looks much slower than for Franck Cammas; Marcel is predicting another 9 to 10 days to the finish line…