Francis Joyon is currently on standby in New York awaiting the final green light for his attempt at the single-handed Atlantic record
Francis Joyon is currently on standby in New York awaiting the final green light from his weather expert, Jean-Yves Bernot, to set sail on his attempt at the single-handed Atlantic record.
Some favourable weather conditions are finally coming together, and after a few small jobs getting her ready, Joyon may well be setting off from North Cove marina in Manhattan this evening to head for Ambrose Light, the rock off New York, which marks the start of this mythical, major Atlantic record.
The record to beat from New York to The Lizard (theoretical distance calculated by the WSSRC at 2,925 miles) is 7 days, 2 hours 34 minutes and 42 seconds set by Laurent Bourgnon on Primagaz in June 1994.
Joyon commented: “I still have a few little problems left to sort out today. The start isn’t far off. I reckon I’ve a 90 per cent chance of being on the starting line tomorrow morning (Thursday).”
Jean Yves Bernot – the famous route planner from La Rochelle – is making his last forecasts for the European area. However, tonight, Joyon will also have to take his giant 90ft trimaran IDEC on the slow, perilous journey up the Hudson, passing underneath the Statue of Liberty, going under Verezziano Bridge, along the Jersey coastline, before he can reach Ambrose Light, which is almost 13 miles off New York City.
The time-keepers for the World Speed Record Council will be ready to record to the nearest second the start of his attempt, which Joyon himself admits is a rather Herculean task. “It’s the most difficult record to reach in single-handed racing. Just think! An average speed of almost 18 knots.” Yet, the window in the weather that he has been waiting for, for so long (IDEC has been in New York since 10 April) seems finally to be appearing. The Azores High is lazing around in mid-Atlantic, causing a strong south-westerly flow to blow up the eastern seaboard of the US. “I’m expecting 20-25 knot winds for the start,” Joyon confirmed, “Ideal conditions, which may strengthen further on Friday to 35 knots. I’m in fine form. I spent four hours in the water yesterday cleaning off her bottom. A bit of diving wakes you up.”