Today in Transportation History – 2011: The Start of the Fastest Circumnavigation By a Yacht

A French crew of 14 sailors on board the vessel Banque Populaire V began an ambitious round-the-world voyage. The voyage was undertaken to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by a yacht.

The Trophy, displayed at the National Maritime Museum, Paris.

Starting in 1993, the Jules Verne Trophy – named for the acclaimed French writer whose works included the classic novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” – has been awarded to formally registered yachts that set new circumnavigation records in accordance with rules established by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. These rules stipulate that the voyage of any competing yacht must be completed non-stop and without any physical outside help. In addition, the propulsion of the vessel throughout the entire voyage needs to be accomplished exclusively by the natural forces of the wind and the crew.

Banque Populaire V, which was the fifth boat named for the French financial institution initially sponsoring her, is an offshore-racing vessel known as a trimaran. This type of vessel consists of a main hull and two smaller hulls that are commonly called “floats.” Banque Populaire V had been constructed by the French boatbuilder CDK Technologies, and she was launched at the seaport of Lorient in northwestern France in 2008.

As of 2011, the circumnavigation record under the rules for the Jules Verne Trophy had been established the previous year by the French trimaran Groupama 3. This yacht’s skipper Franck Cammas and his crew of nine sailed the vessel around the world in 48 days, seven hours, 44 minutes, and 52 seconds. Banque Populaire V, under the command of French sailor Pascal Bidégorry as her skipper at the time, first took to the sea to break that record in January 2011. The voyage was cut short, however, after Banque Populaire V hit some debris in the South Atlantic Ocean that damaged the vessel’s centerboard.

The next attempt to take Banque Populaire V around the globe began that November, with French yachtsman Löick Peyron having replaced Bidégorry as the skipper. In compliance with the eligibility requirements for the Jules Verne Trophy, Peyron and his crew of 13 officially started their worldwide voyage in the vicinity of the English Channel between the Créac’h Lighthouse on the French island of Ushant and the Lizard Lighthouse at the southern tip of England.

Banque Populaire V took 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes, and 53 seconds to complete the 29,002-mile (46,674-kilometer)-long voyage, setting a new record and earning the Jules Verne Trophy. “Our memories are full of wonderful images, the departure, icebergs, albatrosses,” said Peyron in a subsequent interview. “When you sail around the world in 45 days, you see many things.” He added, “We are very proud!”

The circumnavigation record of Banque Populaire V remained intact until it was broken this year by Groupama 3 (now renamed  IDEC 3), which made it around the world in 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds. Nonetheless, Banque Populaire still retains the records among these yachts for the shortest times sailing between the starting point and the Equator (five days, 14 hours, and 55 minutes); the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope (six days, six hours, and 53 minutes); and Cape Horn and the Equator (seven days and five hours). Banque Populaire V, which is 130 feet (40 meters) in length, also holds the record for the world’s largest racing trimaran.

For more information on Banque Populaire V and her record-setting circumnavigation of the globe, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banque_Populaire_V and the article 7 January 2012 article “Jules Verne Trophy claimed by maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V” at http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Jules-Verne-Trophy-taken-by-Maxi-Banque-Populaire-V/92635.

Additional information on the Jules Verne Trophy is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Verne_Trophy.

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