During the small hours of the coming night, the Cap Gemini-Ernst &Young and Schneider Electric trimaran will leave the sheltered waters of Brest to cross the starting line for the Jules Verne Trophy between Ouessant and the Lizard.
Over the past five days Olivier de Kersauson and his crew have been working on simulation weather maps for the voyage south to the Equator and getting ready to unfurl a large new Cuben Fiber sail.
The dominant frozen easterly winds at the moment have stilled the Bay of Biscay and, in theory, cleared most of the remaining oil slicks from the wreck of the Prestige. Weather forecasts indicate a return of westerly winds over the coming weekend and so the decision has been taken to launch the trimaran during the night of Friday to Saturday.
The crew always wanted to keep its options open for a departure so early in the year so that, if it is forced to turn back due to bad weather or technical problems, it still has the time to make the necessary changes and set off once again on the record-breaking attempt.
The Cap Gemini Ernst&Young and Schneider Electric team has been on stand-by since 8 December. This is the first good opportunity for a departure and, although not perfect by any means, is too good to miss.
Meanwhile, Kingfisher 2, the maxi catamaran skippered by Ellen MacArthur have set a window for departure any time between 16 and 31 January in their attempt for the coveted outright round the world speed record.