Poupon's 1988 record smashed by rank outsider

In a remarkable display of perseverance maverick French trimaran sailor and outside favorite, Francis Joyon has won the Europe 1 New Man STAR, in the process chopping 9 hours and 54 minutes off the course record for this classic transoceanic race.

Joyon’s Nigel Irens-designed trimaran Eure et Loir crossed the finish line between Castle Hill and Kettle Bottom Rock at 0631 local time (1031 GMT). After speeding towards the line under genniker at 16-20 knots, for the last few mile he had to beat, tacking his large yacht under solent jib and full main like a dinghy.

Joyon’s finishing time of 9 days 23 hours and 21 minutes, smashes the course record of 10 days 9 hours and 15 minutes set by Philippe Poupon in the freak conditions of the 1988 race when the lead competitors experienced almost exclusively of reaching conditions.

The history of the Europe 1 New Man STAR is one of vindication. Philippe Poupon won in 1988 after losing the 1984 race to Yvon Fauconnier, who won after he was awarded time for standing by a fellow competitor. This is Joyon’s third shot at the Europe 1 New Man STAR, following his second place finish in 1992 and capsizing in 1996 while commanding a substantial lead.

In the fleet of seven 60ft trimarans Eure et Loir is the one of the oldest boats, a sistership to Loick Peyron’s Fujicolor winner of the last two races. The boat was originally called Banque Populaire and built for Joyon, but last season he was kicked off the boat in favour of two younger skippers Lalou Roucayrol and Jacques Vincent. A brand new Banque Populaire trimaran was built for this race, so Joyon bought back his old steed, fitted an old rig (one of the spare wingmasts from Florence Arthaud’s ) found limited sponsorship from a region of France, Eure et Loir (south of Paris) and entered this race. In Plymouth prior to the start while other trimaran campaigns had teams of support crew preparing their boats, Joyon worked alone on his.

At the last position update second placed Biscuits la Trinitaine was 47 miles astern.