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Francis Joyon explains how Idec was destroyed

by Idec Website on 8 Jul 2005
What should have been a simple downwind trip back home turned into a
nightmare last night for French record breaker, Francis Joyon.

At the end of an exceptional career, and less than 24 hours after putting a new historic record into the books of sailing, 'the IDEC trimaran left us in the most brutal fashion, broken up in just a few minutes after going aground,' in the words of Joyon, who was clearly still in shock.

During a short press conference in La Trinité-sur-Mer, the new holder of the Atlantic record and the 24-hour single-handed sailing record talked about the accident.

In spite of a clear lack of sleep and with very mixed emotions, Joyon
told us about the days of sheer joy during his crossing, but admitted he
had never felt so frightened on a boat as last night. The fastest
single-handed sailor on the planet tells us how his boat was wrecked.

’After crossing the finish off The Lizard, I headed for the Four Channel
(near Ushant off Western Brittany), and then went through the Raz de Sein during the evening.

'As I had planned to reach La Trinité during the morning, I decided to slow the boat down a bit, by reducing the canvas, and with the wind aft, I was on a bearing well off Penmarc'h Point- about 30° to the right.

'I hadn't managed to get any sleep for a long time and when I did fall asleep, it was very deep. I was using the autopilot, and I think it must have taken her off course, as happened once or twice during the record, but I wasn't going fast enough this time to be warned of the change.

’I suddenly woke up when I heard a huge crash, when the boat came down in
the breakers between a six metre high rock to my left - and another one to my
right. I was stuck there in the middle. I had managed to go aground on the
most vicious rocks you can find off Penmarc'h Point.

'I think it must have been around one in the morning, and I immediately radioed a Mayday, as I thought I was on some rocks a little further out to sea. I didn't think for one moment that the boat had turned in towards the coast.

'In the pitch-black conditions, I gave my position and the coastguards’ service in Corsentold who told me the rescue service was on their way and that the boat could be reached on foot! They helped me ashore in amongst the rocks. I didn't
know what was going on for an hour or so, and I let them take care of me,
which isn't at all like me.

'As the rescue team saw I was in shock, and not very coherent, they suggested I go to hospital- I was examined for three hours in Pont L'Abbé.

'My brother came to see me at 4.00am in the morning, and we went back to the boat to try to get her off, with the help of the sea rescue service.

'A diver from the rescue team went into the water; I got on deck to help him moor up the trimaran, but just at that moment, she swung around and in just a few moments, the breakers smashed her up and her mast came down.

'In spite of the extraordinary bravery and the determination of the sea rescue team, as we speak, all that remains of her is a few tiny pieces. It's incredible that in such a short space of time, a boat can be smashed up like that.'

The World Sailing Speed Record Council announces the ratification of the
following new record:

World Record: Transatlantic single-handed outright

Yacht: Idec

Skipper: Francis Joyon

Dates: 30th June to 6th July 2005

Elapsed time: 6 days 4 hours 1 minute 37 seconds

Average speed: 17.41 kts

John Reed

Secretary to the WSSR Council
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