Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Uncertainty remains in Francis Joyon's North Atlantic record chase

by Mer et Media on 15 Jun 2013
Francis Joyon (FRA), IDEC Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz
It was once more with a remarkably calm voice for a sailor at the helm of a 30-metre machine speeding along at between 25 and 30 knots that Francis Joyon confirmed his ETA at the finish, in other words that he is due to cross the legendary line marking the finish of the North Atlantic crossing off The Lizard at the southern tip of Cornwall on Sunday evening.

To beat the record set in July 2008 by Thomas Coville on the giant trimaran Sodebo, IDEC has to finish before 0400hrs UTC (0600hrs CET) on Monday morning. Without wishing to celebrate too soon, as with 1200 miles to go to the finish, there remains some uncertainty, Joyon seems more motivated than ever given the way the low-pressure area that he has been with since leaving New York, is moving, as it should enable him to succeed in this mammoth task.

If he succeeds, he will become the record-holder of the only one of the four major solo sailing records missing from his current list of achievements. 'If I manage to remain ahead of the low-pressure area, I should finish off The Lizard on Sunday evening.' The problem is clear but Joyon is not paying attention to the current figures, which show him 130 miles off the record pace of his virtual rival, as he is focusing on what lies ahead with his router, Jean-Yves Bernot.

The low is still moving as forecast in the right direction and with the right strength of wind, so it is up to Joyon to make the most of it. The sailing on a knife edge that began just over three days ago in New York will continue right up to the finish with all its dangers, uncertainties and risk-taking. Dangers, as Francis himself explains, 'It’s sometimes a bit scary when IDEC takes off on a wave at more than 30 knots. I have to apply the brakes by easing the sheets, then get her going again so as not to lose the inertia…' Francis carries out these manoeuvres over and over again and each time, that means he is doing without any rest. 'That’s what makes things tricky on IDEC,' he laughed. 'I managed to grab an hour’s rest during the night, but that was all… '

After three days and three nights, Francis Joyon is still managing to keep up this infernal pace and is showing perfect lucidity when choosing his route. On two occasions yesterday, he had to carry out the long (30 minutes) and tricky task of gybing, in order to ensure he remained ahead of the low. He is investing for the long term, which shows just how forward looking you need to be and that means not giving way to the temptation to make short term gains by keeping up the speed. 'I have sailed further than you would expect from New York, but now I should be able to maintain high speeds ahead of the system, while at the same time easing northwards,' he explained.

This is a strategy that the low-pressure area is not making easy, as it will probably require yet another move to stay on track. 'I shall probably have to sail for a while at 90° to the route,' added Francis. 'That way, I should get a much better angle to the wind to sail quickly in the right direction.'

Risk-taking, ongoing danger… Francis Joyon is taking it to the edge. 'This record is a tough one, where you have to avoid making mistakes and stay at 100% of the boat’s polars…'

A competitor at heart, while remaining a wise sailor paying attention to the elements and his boat, Francis Joyon is also finding the time to look at what is going on around him and enjoy himself; 'I've just seen a bit of sunshine. I’m still wearing my foulies, but it feels good to see the sun coming out.' Trimaran IDEC website
Barz Optics - FloatersMackay BoatsBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Jules Verne Trophy - Long live the trade winds
The maxi-trimaran IDEC Sport should start to feel the effect of a NE’ly wind in the next few hours. Slowed down for the past 36 hours around the Equator in a large area of calms associated with the Doldrums, the maxi-trimaran IDEC Sport should start to feel the effect of a NE’ly wind in the next few hours.
Posted today at 8:26 am
Countdown to Mount Gay Round Barbados Race
Following on from Coastal Series over last three days, competitors are enjoying rest in preparation for big race. Following on from the hugely successful Coastal Series over the last three days, competitors at the Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, are enjoying a well-earned rest in preparation for tomorrow’s big race.
Posted today at 4:00 am
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Another glorious day on racecourse
The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta concluded in spectacular style today The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, concluded in spectacular style today with sunshine, a good working breeze up to 17-18kts, and a relatively flat sea.
Posted on 20 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - Final hours in the South Atlantic
IDEC Sport Maxi trimaran will soon be leaving South Atlantic. Francis Joyon should be sailing into Northern Hemisphere The IDEC Sport Maxi trimaran will soon be leaving the South Atlantic. Francis Joyon and his crew of five should be sailing into the Northern Hemisphere early this evening.
Posted on 20 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - The charm of the tropics
IDEC Sport is less than 1000 miles from entering the Northern Hemisphere. IDEC Sport is less than 1000 miles from entering the Northern Hemisphere. At 17°S this morning, the big red and grey trimaran is climbing back up the Atlantic pushed along by the Brazilian trade winds, which are allowing Francis Joyon and his men to keep up an average of 25 knots as they continue in their attempt to grab the Jules Verne Trophy.
Posted on 19 Jan
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Spectacular competition on Day 2
The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series produced spectacular competition once again. The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, produced spectacular competition once again. Although it was an unusually damp day with rain squalls passing through for most of the race, the wind built under the clouds to 15-16kts
Posted on 19 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy – IDEC Sport heads due north
IDEC SPORT is heading due north at speeds varying between 25-30 knots, as they make their way towards the Equator Fine weather and calm seas off the coast of Brazil. After picking up the trade winds last night, on the 33rd day of racing against the clock, IDEC SPORT is heading due north at speeds varying between 25-30 knots, as they make their way towards the Equator, which they are expecting to cross in three or four days.
Posted on 17 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - From peaceful calms to pleasant trade winds
After 24 hours in frustrating calms IDEC Sport is now being pushed along by the trade winds. After 24 hours in frustrating calms, which nevertheless afforded them the opportunity to recharge their batteries, sailing 800 miles off the coast of Brazil approaching the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, IDEC Sport is now being pushed along by the trade winds.
Posted on 17 Jan
Book Wildwind Bank Holiday breaks early - and make wild savings!
If you are thinking of taking a holiday in Vassiliki over the May Whitsun bank holiday period then please read this. If you are thinking of taking a holiday at our Vassiliki centre over the May Whitsun bank holiday period then please read this. Every year, just a few weeks before the May Whitsun Bank holiday we receive a large number of rather last minute requests for our holidays on this particular week.
Posted on 17 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - A welcome rest
Blue skies, sunshine, mild temperatures… It was a quiet fifth Sunday for the crew of the IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran Blue skies, sunshine, mild temperatures… It was a quiet fifth Sunday for the crew of the IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, which they used to get some rest and carry out a few odd jobs. It was slow sailing in an area of light winds off the South of Brazil, but Joyon’s men also needed to remain vigilant and react quickly to any wind shifts.
Posted on 17 Jan