To average 27 knots over a 24 hour period is something that the average cruising sailor will find hard to imagine. I remember hitting 24 knots going down a wave once and nearly frightened myself to death. But French speed sailor Francis Joyon this summer averaged 27.75 knots over the 24 hour period to establish a new solo sailing record aboard his maxi trimaran IDEC. At times he was sitting on 32 knots.
SAILING - BI ROUTE DU RHUM 2010 - BELLE ILE (FRA) - 25/09/2010
It has been officially ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC). Francis Joyon covered 666.2 miles in a single day at that incredible average speed. Of course, he had done a bit of sailing before. He already holds the outright solo round the world record with a time of just over 57 days.
In just 24 hours, he sailed 666.2 miles alone. The equivalent of 1234 kilometres, if you want to imagine it in road distance.
It was in late July between the North of the Azores and the tip of Brittany that Francis Joyon took his boat to the extreme limits, in winds in excess of thirty knots: 'It was extremely risky. The boat was constantly on the edge. I wasn’t at the helm. I just stood in the cockpit for 24 hours with the mainsail sheet in one hand and the solent sheet in the other. When the boat dug into a wave, I eased off one or the other. But I often had to ease them both off at the same time.'
We should add that just as in the round the world voyage, this record has led to an extraordinary duel between Francis Joyon and Thomas Coville. In 2004, Francis was already the record-holder, but Thomas went on to better it. Joyon won it back (613.5 miles) during his second victorious round the world voyage in 2007. In the following year, Coville improved on it still further taking the record to 619, then 628.5 miles. This summer, IDEC shattered that record by an incredible amount: almost 40 miles more (37.7 miles to be precise)! Another great achievement from the sailor from Locmariaquer, who took advantage of the occasion to pay tribute to his loyal partners.
Francis Joyon: 'The 24-hour attempt may look like a small challenge in comparison with the round the world voyage, but the trust you need to have in the trimaran needs to be even greater for this record, where the average speed climbed at times to more than 32 knots, with peak speeds of 35 knots.
'This confidence was possible thanks to the IDEC Group, which remains faithful whether we are sailing against the wind or speeding downwind.
'It was also possible thanks to the suppliers, who contributed to the performance of the IDEC trimaran and helped during her refit: Profurl, who serviced all the headsail furlers; Navtec, who changed all the cables; Uship, who supplied us with the wind turbine and deck hardware; Nautix, who supplied the paints; Incidences, who took care of the sails. I would like to express my gratitude to them all and offer them my sincere thanks.'