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Maxi trimaran IDEC flips in record challenge but solo sailor stays put

by Sail-World.com on 26 Aug 2011
IDEC being flipped back upright for the trip to Newport .. .
Greater love hath no sailor but that he refuses to leave his sailing boat even though it's capsized in the Atlantic Ocean.

Famed professional sailor Francis Joyon, standing on the keel of his upturned boat IDEC, in which he was trying to break a record for being the fastest across the Atlantic, refused to abandon ship. Instead he spent an incredible 36 hours in its tiny cabin bobbing up and down in the rough waters off Long Island until a tow arrived.


'I’ve spent so many years with this boat, I didn’t want to leave it, he told reporters, 'If no one’s on it, you don’t know what will happen.'

Joyon, 55, and the yacht in which he has had so much previous success, IDEC, had been waiting for weeks for the right weather to try to beat the record of five days, 19 hours, 30 minutes set by arch rival Thomas Coville in July 2008.

He had left a marina in Brooklyn on Sunday evening, but never got further than about 50 miles from Newport.

Less than 12 hours into his trip, Joyon encountered 'wind was so strong, it just capsized in one second,' he told the New York Post. 'It was so brutal that it blew me out of the cockpit and I found myself underneath the nets' that connect its two pontoons to the central hull.

'The weight of the boat was on top of me. Every two seconds, there was another boom of thunder and lightning. I couldn’t see where I was going because it was so dark,' he added.'I just swam out and, luckily, I came out from underneath and climbed on to the side.'

Joyon managed to crawl into the cabin through an escape hatch, grab a satellite phone and call for help -- to France, because his signals were directed to a rescue centre there.

The French called the US Coast Guard, which dispatched a patrol boat. It arrived about two hours later, and the crew offered to take him aboard.

Joyon politely said merci, but declined a ride, and Joyon stayed in his cozy, but upside-down cabin, until the American tug Miller Marine Service arrived at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

He boarded the tug, which then hooked up his boat and towed it to a marina on Long Island. Workers flipped it right-side up for a sail to Newport, RI, for repairs.

And then?

'We’re going to take it back to Europe and we will see when we try again,' Joyon said. Giving up was nowhere on his radar.

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