A first record for the trimaran Banque Populaire VII
After a necessary familiarization period, Armel Le Cléac'h decided to get to the heart of the matter with his new trimaran, by attacking the record for crossing the Mediterranean. A successful first!
The record for crossing the Mediterranean is real sprint, which doesn’t allow any rest at all, and has to be tackled in robust conditions. A good way of testing the boat and its skipper and for him to assess himself with respect to his competitors. The record between Marseille and Carthage has been held for the past year by Thomas Coville, in 25 hours and 38 minutes. To beat the record, Armel Le Cléac'h chose an original weather option: the 458-mile course is usually covered thanks to a strong mistral, which blows off Marseille and caries on blowing until at least the south end of Sardinia, but a special configuration is required so that the wind doesn’t run out of steam as it hits the Bay of Tunis. Armel and his router Marcel van Triest on the contrary wanted to prioritize a very fast final part.
After a first attempt which resulted in a return to Marseille, following weather conditions which didn’t conform to the forecasts, the skipper, who had only just returned from off the Frioul islands, set off once again in the direction of Carthage (Tunisia).
In around twenty knots of north-westerly breeze, Armel Le Cléac’h was as fast as Thomas Coville until daybreak, but whereas the skipper of Sodeb’O had to sail away from Sardinia to reach Tunisia, the skipper of the blue and white trimaran gybed to approach the Sardinian coast and thus remain as close as possible to the direct route. The more than sporty finish in over 30 knots of wind allowed Armel to take his first major oceanic record in his new boat: 18 hours and 58 minutes, beating the record by more than 6hrs 40min., at an average speed of 23.8 knots over the theoretical course and 25.4 knots on the water.