The crew finally start their Southern Ocean adventure

Updates from British yachtsman Brian Thompson (48), crewman onboard maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V during their Jules Verne Trophy Record attempt:

07:30 2 February 2011 – Position 39 30S  32 30W

Speed hardly dropping below 34 knots all night.
A huge change from this time yesterday in temperature, wind speed and sea state.
Sailing with genoa and 2 reefs now, and just about to enter the Forties latitude on this next watch.
Several sail changes during the night demanded top concentration from all the crew, From big gennaker to medium; then one reef; then to the string; the name for the smallest gennaker; then 2 reefs, then to genoa. Each sail change we go to the genoa between changes for max speed which also helps to roll the gennakers in and out. The key crewmen , helm, bow, skipper, trimmer and pitman are all miked up so that shouting or hand signals are not required, then the other 8 are on the grinders providing the power.
On watch now, its going to be exciting driving,  great, its what we come here for.

The latest video from onboard (the calm before the storm)….

18:30 2 February 2011 – Position 43S 26W

Incredible what a difference 24 hours can make when you are doing 700 miles a day!

From shorts and no t-shirt at night, to looking for that second layer of thermals in the daytime. From flying fish to albatross. From teasing out every .25 of a knot of speed to get 20 knots in flat water, to sailing in defensive mode, de-tuning the boat and driving cautiously to keep the speed below 38 knots!

Its now in the early 30 knots of windspeed and we are broad reaching with 3 reefs and the staysail, still with plenty of power to do a steady 35 knots of boatspeed.

Although we entered the Roaring Forties this morning its still sunny with clear visibility and a single set of waves. So great conditions and a few albatross have come for a distant inspection of the boat.

It was great to see the excitement of some of the guys…. Thierry Chabignet and Erwan Tabarly, both top Figaro sailors, (Erwan is the nephew or Eric Tabarly), were sitting together and enjoying their first sailing in the South, something they have probably both read about and dreamed about since they were kids sailing in Brittany.

Its certainly a good start to our Southern adventure, which is the real meat in the sandwich of this Trophee Jules Verne for giant multihulls.

We are on the Southern Ocean Express, though unfortunately there are engineering works ahead with a high pressure in our route. We are going to have to find a way around that barrier and Pascal, Juan and Marcel on the shore are working on the options, as the weather forecasts evolve. But right now its full steam ahead, and its a nice bonus, if perhaps a temporary one, to be getting ahead of Groupama’s position again.

Just about to serve up dinner, Norwegian Chowder, should be just right served with the last loaf of fresh bread, specially double baked for us by a baker in Lorient, which has been delicious. Its vacuum packed slice white from tomorrow – cannot be on a French boat without du pain!

That’s all for now