On Friday July 1, the Team Banque Populaire set sail for a week at sea to train the Maxi and her men to offshore sailing. Originally planned as a training course to prepare for the next Jules Verne Trophy scheduled for the end of the year, this session quickly became, thanks to good weather, a record attempt around the British Isles. "We left Lorient for training. We quickly found ourselves as Nelson's fleet at the time of the Napoleonic wars and we stationed at the entrance of the Channel, on the lookout, between France and England. The Maxi Banque Populaire V is a record hunter and whenever there is a prey to seize, she does not hesitate. The weather gave us a great opportunity ...". Seizing the opportunity offered to them, the thirteen sailors on board then chose to defy the clock and the time set in 2010 by Sidney Gavignet, then alone aboard his trimaran "Oman Air Majan".
On Tuesday 5 July, in the early evening, the Maxi Banque Populaire V thus cut the imaginary starting line off Lizard Point to begin a cautious night in the Pas de Calais strait : " It was a tough night as the traffic is impressive in that area. I opted for a reasonable solution to meet this heavy traffic by standing on the sidelines. We then went for the North Sea under unfriendly conditions but which allowed us to enjoy the amazing show of these large pachyderms that are platforms. It is always fascinating. Something probably masculine with this machine standing in the middle of the sea ".
Getting her own pace by deploying her full potential so easily, the maxi trimaran continued her progress towards the Shetlands in the north of England and swallowed the 1 787 milles with an incredible regularity.
Under reduced visibility and with the picture that can be made of navigation in these areas, Loïck Peyron and his crew were forced to slow down "We had a difficult sea passing these islands and the conditions were really tough. It is ultimately the only time we did not push 100% on the boat." The rare moment of calm was quickly replaced by a brisk coditions along the Irish coast, around the Fastnet and until the last mile, when the competitive spirit of these enthusiastic sailors, seeking performance, made them easily reach 40 knots.
Once this UK loop completed at the average speed of 23.34 knots, the skipper from La Baule, obviously pleased with this new experience shared with twelve men on board, gave way to an initial assessment: "It was very nice and very informative and I was able to deepen my knowledge on the boat. We have sailed as if we were sailing around the world in accordance with shifts and with the precise number of people on deck. We have revised the choreography adapted to each maneuver and turned everyone at different positions. Versatility is key aboard this type of boats. Finally, I have discussed a lot with Juan Vila, navigator, of weather and strategy. We worked with Xavier Revil on the food aspects and reviewed plenty little details with Pierre-Yves Moreau. Tomorrow we will all meet at 6:15 on board for a group debriefing ".
The Maxi Banque Populaire V left the Channel to join her Lorient base for a few days before returning at sea, first for training and then for racing, on the Rolex Fastnet Race which will begin on August 14 from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK. For Loïck Peyron and his men, the opportunity will once again be seized to confront offshore sailing, diverse competition and to gather more miles in the perspective of next winter's circumnavigation.
Round Britain and Ireland, non stop, outright/singlehanded - Sidney Gavignet, Oman Air Majan, 4d 15h 9m 27ss, av speed 15.95knots, August 2010
World Sailing Speed Record Council website - www.sailspeedrecords.com
Maxi Banque Populaire V website - www.voile.banquepopulaire.fr