Francis Joyon on IDEC
Francis Joyon on IDEC is 270 miles ahead of the Discovery Route record pace set by Thomas Coville and his 60-foot trimaran Sodebo. The trick is to stay permanently in the most favourable wind strength and direction and to do this it is sometimes necessary to extend the route - sometimes up to 30% - provided the the favourable wind angle maintains the speed of the boat.
Having been successful up to now, Joyon is now in a high-risk game with a move towards the centre of high pressure with north east winds, waiting for the point when he can gybe onto port.
It is waiting for this moment that Joyon is most vulnerable. He has been able to rest, not what most would call sleeping - he shelters under the cabin hatch cover, not having slept below since the start. He is also constantly adding or reducing sail as the squalls come through.
IDEC must 'play with fire' by approaching the centre of the anticyclone in search of wind rotation to the east, which will trigger a gybe to port tack to find a closer, more favourable course.
The challenge will be to maintain the pace as the wind weakens.