The Friendship Route officially launched in Paris

Francis Joyon, Jean Todt, Patrice Lafargue and Gérard Saillant
Agence Mer et Media
At a special launch night this Monday in Paris, Francis Joyon, skipper of the IDEC maxi trimaran, took another step forward towards the Friendship Route, the ocean crossing record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro.

Uniting sporting and charitable values, this brand new route across the Atlantic has brought together many famous people offering their support to the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute (the ICM). All of these French and Brazilian ambassadors have signed or will be signing the Sail of Hope, which will be a symbol of Franco-Brazilian friendship and will be leading the way to Brazil. For Francis Joyon, the clock is ticking, as he will be going on stand-by in Bordeaux from Friday 4th April.

They were all there on Monday 31st March in Paris for the special launch night for the Friendship Route. Starting with Francis Joyon, the skipper of the IDEC maxi trimaran, of course, who was the centre of attention. It will be him taking up the solo challenge across the Atlantic on a brand new route from Bordeaux to Rio, or in other words around 5000 nautical miles (9200 km). Professor Gérard Saillant and Jean Todt, founding members of the ICM and guest sponsors for Francis’s maxi also attended this meeting in Paris. As did some of the ambassadors who have come together around Francis Joyon’s latest challenge.

Clearly, Francis will have a lot of support as he attempts this latest record, as he will be flying the Sail of Hope. Decorated with Picasso’s dove of peace, the headsail on the IDEC maxi trimaran will be leading the way to Rio. Many footballers, including the whole of the 2014 French football team, led by their manager Didier Deschamps, teams from the League, including the Olympique de Marseille, OGC Nice, AS Saint-Etienne, Montpellier HSC, and the Olympique Lyonnais, … have already signed it. Along with Gérard Saillant and Jean Todt, the personalities that attended the meeting last night also signed it: the actor Clovis Cornillac, the 1998 world football champion Franck Leboeuf, the former manager of the French team, Michel Hidalgo, the producer, Dominique Besnehard and the triple paralympic medallist, Marie-Amélie Le Fur, … Other ambassadors – coming from the world of sport, the arts, politics, economics and the media – will be following in their footsteps. As for the Brazilian stars, they will be signing the sail after Francis Joyon’s ocean crossing. This prestigious symbol of Franco-Brazilian friendship will then be auctioned for charity at the end of 2014 at a special gala evening in Paris. All of the profits will be handed over to charities and the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

From now on, it will be moving very quickly for Francis Joyon. After a delivery trip from his home port of la Trinité-sur-Mer (Morbihan), the sailor will be putting on a show in Bordeaux. Leading up to the start of the Friendship Route, the big red trimaran will be sailing under the Chaban-Delmas Bridge at 10 o’clock on Friday 4th April. Then, Francis Joyon will come alongside the pontoon in front of the Place de la Bourse. At 1100hrs, the Girondins de Bordeaux football team will be signing the Sail of Hope with other celebrities. This will mark the start of the official stand-by period. Francis will wait for a weather opportunity before setting sail for Rio. He will then be alone, or almost…

The Ambassadors - The Friendship Route - Officially launched
Agence Mer et Media

Francis Joyon, skipper of the IDEC maxi trimaran: 'The fact that I can feel all this friendship around me is very important. As for the sporting element, the Friendship Route will be the first record between Europe and South America. The opportunity to set off will be in a fairly short period, around a fortnight. This route with around 5000 miles of sailing is not that simple, as there are a number of hurdles. I’m determined to set a good reference time to motivate those following me. I’ll be satisfied with completing the voyage in a fortnight.'

Patrice Lafargue, President of the IDEC Group: 'We wanted to come up with something different, which linked in with the charitable aspect. This idea of a record between France and Brazil in aid of the ICM quickly appeared. This will be a great prelude to the big event of the year, the football World Cup.'

Gérard Saillant, President of the ICM: 'The ICM has been associated with Francis Joyon’s successes since 2005. Supporting the boat once again was symbolically very important for us. I can see a lot of similarities between the challenges faced by the ICM and Francis. Just like him, we also have a huge challenge ahead of us: finding solutions to brain and spinal cord disorders.'

Jean Todt, Vice-President of the ICM: 'I am very honoured that the IDEC maxi trimaran is once again flying the colours of the ICM during this latest ocean adventure. The highly talented Francis Joyon brings together a great team behind him. And we all know that great teams always win.'

Provisional programme for the Friendship Route
Friday 4th April 2014: Start of the stand-by in Bordeaux for Francis Joyon’s attempt at the record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro.
Around 10th May 2014: The IDEC maxi-trimaran is due to arrive in Rio de Janeiro.
Late 2014: The Sail of Hope signed by all of the French and Brazilian ambassadors will be sold at a charity auction.

Francis Joyon was the first sailor to win the Ultimate Trophy. He is the only one to have held the following four records at the same time:

- Round the world record: 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds, February 2008 (still the record today)
- North Atlantic record: 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, June 2013 (still the record today)
- 24-hour distance record: 666.2 miles sailed in July 2012
- Columbus Route record (Cadiz – Sans Salvador): 8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds, February 2013

Francis Joyon - The Friendship Route - Officially launched
Agence Mer et Media

Clovis Cornillac - The Friendship Route - Officially launched
Agence Mer et Media