A record time from Ushant to the equator has been set by the 130ft maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 and Francis Joyon's Idec Sport is close behind on their round the world record

A record time from Ushant to the equator has been set by the 130ft maxi trimaran Spindrift 2. Yann Guichard and his crew have sprinted through the Doldrums and into the southern hemisphere on their round the world record attempt, covering 3,171 miles covered in 4d 21h.

That’s an average of 26.99 knots.

Right now, they are 17 hours ahead of the time set by the same boat when she was Banque Populaire V and in the hands of Loïck Peyron and his crew.

Francis Joyon and his crew on the smaller trimaran IDEC Sport set off at nearly the same time. So for the first time ever, we have a race going on as well as a record bid. Joyon and his crew are not far behind Yann Guichard’s team, crossing the equator five hours behind.

They have had favourable winds so far and, incredibly, have had a single gybe off the Azores.

The crew are heading on a course along the Brazilian coast in 15-knot south-easterlies. They will continue this until reach the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, where they will be looking for a runway to hook onto the first southern hemisphere depression and get down to the Roaring Forties.

Yesterday Yann Guichard commented: “We were still in the doldrums at the end of the afternoon. There were small windless squalls all round and speeds varying from 4 to 25 knots. We’ve been in the Intertropical Convergence Zone on Thursday morning, when the first squalls kicked in

“It meant we had to make quite a few sail changes, sometimes almost immediately after having just finished one. One reef, two reefs, gennaker, genoa, jib. We’ve had almost the entire wardrobe out! But we’ve never been at a full halt.

“But our friend (Francis Joyon and his crew) is not far behind and is sailing fast!”

Meanwhile, Joyon and a crew of five men are chasing hard in IDEC Sport. They, too, have been the time set to the equator by Banque Populaire, but had a somewhat slower transition through he Doldrums, where they found themselves entrapped for some 15 hours.

But they are going hard again now and Joyon remarks that everything is running smoothly.