French ocean racing legend Francis Joyon breaks another record aboard IDEC Sport, the boat that smashed the fully crewed round the world record in January and was converted for a single-handed Atlantic record attempt.
Francis Joyon has beaten his own North Atlantic solo record by 49 minutes aboard IDEC Sport, the VPLP designed maxi trimaran that last winter smashed the Jules Verne Trophy crewed round the world record, adding yet another accolade to his already impressive set of world record achievements.
In typical Joyon fashion, the 61 year old Frenchman set off with little warning or preparation following the finish of the crewed east to west The Bridge 2017 race. See our profile of this extraordinary sailor here
Francis Joyon crossed the longitude of The Lizard, Cornwall, which is the historic finish line for the North Atlantic record from Ambrose Light in New York, at 0137 hrs UTC this morning (Wednesday) taking just 5d 2h 7m to sail the 2,880 nautical miles. His previous record was set in June 2013 aboard his 29m trimaran, IDEC.
A statement marking his achievement was published on his own website: ‘For his first solo Atlantic crossing aboard a boat initially designed for twelve sailors, he has improved on the time for the legendary crossing between New York and The Lizard. He did this the Joyon way without any preparation beforehand, no stand-by period or sophisticated routing, just using his talent, determination and his ability at the age of 61 to push that bit harder when sailing solo aboard a multihull.
‘The World Speed Sailing Record Council will be adding his time of 5d 2h 7m to the history books.’
“I only just did it,” declared the sailor from Locmariaquer in Brittany after an exhausting night with a lot of manoeuvres and gybes to get to the southernmost tip of mainland Britain.
“I was pleased to finish, as over the past 24 hours, it has been very tiring,” he added. “My autopilots weren’t working well, so I had to stay at the helm all the time over the past 24 hours, while carrying out manoeuvres in a lot of squalls with the boat slamming into the seas.”
“I set off from New York in a hurry,” he stressed. “I didn’t even have time to sort out the supplies. I just bought some eggs and bananas. As for the food on board, the lads ate it all during the crossing in The Bridge 2017 [the transatlantic race between four maxi trimarans and the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner that started off Brittany on 25 June]”
Joyon made do with whatever weather the Atlantic threw at him, setting off on Thursday evening (6 July). “The weather wasn’t that good on the first day and I had to tack upwind. But on the following day a system became established.
“I could see the Queen Mary 2 setting off for Europe. I said to myself that as we didn’t manage to beat her on the way out from Saint-Nazaire, maybe I could finish in Brittany before she docked in Southampton.” (She is due in Thursday morning).
“I entered the spirit of the competition and went on the attack. I spent two days sailing at over 30 knots all the time. I was worried about what it looked like approaching Europe, as there was a north-easterly wind. But the Azores high moved slightly further north allowing me to enter the English Channel with south-westerly winds.
“I made a few mistakes hoisting the gennaker in particular, as I had got used to relying on some fantastic sailors in the Jules Verne Trophy. In fact, it was a bit like going back to school to learn the alphabet all over again. Fortunately the boat reacted kindly, even at 30 knots.”
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Pleased with the outcome, Francis Joyon will be grabbing a few minutes sleep this morning, while heading for his home port of La Trinité sur Mer (Brittany), which he hopes to reach as quickly as possible.