Francis Joyon, the fastest man ever to have sailed solo around the world, has begun a Jules Verne attempt. Meanwhile Thomas Coville hunts down Joyon's singlehanded record

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Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT, Skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, prior to their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, crew circumnavigation, in Brest on November 20, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, prior to their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt in Brest on November 20, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI

Francis Joyon, twice the fastest man to sail around the world singlehandedly, has set off on an attempt at the Jules Verne trophy, the fully crewed non-stop round the world record.

French skipper Joyon, joined by Bernard Stamm (SUI) Boris Herrmann (GER), Alex Pella (ESP), Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), crossed the Jules Verne start line off Brest on board the 100ft trimaran IDEC Sport at 2114 last night, Sunday November 20. The time they have to beat is Loïck Peyron’s current impressive record of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, set in 2012 on board the 130ft Banque Populaire V.

“All we can see is the Créac’h Lighthouse. It’s pitch black. But we have the impression that this is the start of something big,” commented Joyon from the startline.

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT, Skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, prior to their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, crew circumnavigation, in Brest on November 20, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC Sport

IDEC SPORT crew Boris Herrmann, Gwénole Gahinet, skipper Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella and Clement Surtel  – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC Sport

Joyon and team made a previous attempt at the Jules Verne record last year, setting off the exact same week of November in 2015, only to finish just a couple of days short of Peyron’s time, successfully completing the circumnavigation in 47 days and 14 hours in a close-fought record battle with Spindrift 2.

This year’s conditions are unusual – the IDEC crew setting off in lighter breezes (albeit still at 22 knots of boat speed across the start line), but with northerly gales forecast which Joyon and his weather router Marcel van Triest hope they can pick up in order to cross the Bay of Biscay, before slotting into the trade winds off Portugal and the Canaries. Sea state has potential to be a limiting factor for the trimaran, with ‘Storm Angus’  – as it was dubbed in the UK – also sweeping western France and creating a heavy swell closest to the coast. However, the IDEC team reports that by Monday day time the swell had eased, and was largely running in the same direction as the wind.

Francis Joyon has twice circumnavigated the world solo, on both occasions breaking the record. His 2008 solo round the world record still holds today – read our profile of him from 2012 here, shortly after he had set a 24-hours solo distance record of 666.2NM.

http://www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/francis-joyon-worlds-fastest-sailor-2427

The trimaran IDEC Sport was previously Groupama 3 and is also a former record holder, having held the Jules Verne trophy in 2010. Joyon prefers to sail her with a crew of just six compared to the 13 that accompanied Peyron on his larger trimaran for his successful ecord trip in 2012.

In order to beat the record the team needs to return to Ouessant before 1056 on January 5, 2017. You can follow their progress against Banque Populaire’s record time at their live tracker on http://www.idecsport-sailing.com/live-map/?lang=en

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Ironically, while Joyon is pursuing the Jules Verne trophy, Thomas Coville is chasing down his solo round the world record. Coville, on the 31m maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim, began his singlehanded round the world record attempt from Brest on the same weekend that the 29 competitors left Les Sables d’Olonne to start the Vendée Globe, and has also benefitted from the rapid, but relatively smooth conditions which have sped the IMOCA 60s into the Southern Hemisphere in record time.

Coville is currently 388 miles ahead of Joyon’s equivalent position, and has to beat his time of 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds. Coville also has a race tracker which shows his position relative to Joyon’s 2008 time, at http://tour-du-monde.sodebo.com/

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT, Skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, prior to their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, crew circumnavigation, in Brest on November 20, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT, Skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, prior to their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, crew circumnavigation, in Brest on November 20, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI