IDEC enjoys calmer conditions as she makes her way North 16/1/08

While the start of Francis Joyon’s night was characterised by some tough sailing, unexpected squalls, and winds reaching up to 35 knots, it was to end with long-awaited calmer conditions.

By veering east, the trade wind blowing to the south of the Azores eased off significantly, making it easier for the red multihull to make her way north. With the wind on the beam – resting on her port float – IDEC was sailing along at first light at 16-18 knots.

Despite the ever-present threat of the shroud breaking away from the mast, what lies ahead for the solo yachtsman after 53 days, seems much clearer. With the change in wind direction, Joyon must wait for the swell to improve before he can make his fourth climb up the mast – a crucial moment in this voyage, as it will enable Joyon to work out how much he can get out of his machine before the finish.

If reassured by the mast’s condition, Joyon will be able to look forward confidently to the final days. The weather pattern is in his own words favourable. He just needs to avoid hanging around on the way:

“With the westerly winds, we can hope to finish on 20 or 21 January. We must not dawdle, as after the 21 there are calms and upwind conditions expected in the Bay of Biscay. I want to make the most of the weekend’s south-westerlies to reach Brittany.”