© JM Liot / DPPI / IDEC SPORT

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

The World Speed Sailing Record Council has ratified three intermediate records set by IDEC SPORT

After ratifying the extraordinary performance of the maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT sailed by Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane around the world, the World Speed Sailing Record Council, the international body, which certifies major sailing records, has just officially recorded three new intermediate records achieved along the way.
Indian Ocean record between Cape Agulhas and Tasmania, which already belonged to Francis Joyon and his men, was shattered by more than a day between 29th December 2016 and 4th January. It now stands at 5 days, 21 hours, 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

IDEC SPORT also slashed almost a day off the South Pacific record set by Bruno Peyron and the maxi catamaran, Orange in 2005 (8 days, 18 hours and 8 minutes). Joyon and his crew took just 7 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes and 31 seconds to sail the distance between Tasmania and Cape Horn.
Finally, the intermediate reference time between the Equator on the way down and the Equator on the way back now stands at 29 days, 9 hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds, replacing the time set by Loïck Peyron aboard the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V of 32 days, 11 hours and 52 minutes.
As a reminder, the time of 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds is now the outright round the world record from Ushant to Ushant via the three major capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn, referred to as the Jules Verne Trophy record.
The WSSRC has recorded the following reference times:
Dates: from 16th December 2016, start at 0819hrs UTC, to 26th January 2017 at 07:49:30 UTC.
The international body recorded an average speed of 21.96 knots over the theoretical distance of 21,600 miles.
Francis Joyon and his men actually sailed 26,412 miles out on the water, at an average speed of 26.85 knots.
They shattered the previous record held by Loïck Peyron and the crew of the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V by four days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
 Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

The Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT sailed by Francis Joyon, Clément Surtel, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane won the Jules Verne Trophy, the outright round the world sailing record, this morning.

They crossed the finish at 0749hrs UTC on Thursday 26th January 2017.
Francis Joyon and his crew sailed the 22,461 theoretical miles in 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds, at an average speed of 22.84 knots.
Out on the water, they actually sailed 26,412 miles at an average speed of 26.85 knots.
They shattered the previous record set by Loïck Peyron and the crew of the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V by 4 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
During this round the world voyage, they smashed no fewer than six intermediate records at Cape Leeuwin, off Tasmania, on the International Date Line, at Cape Horn, at the Equator and off Ushant.

 

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

Francis Joyon and his crew of five took the decision yesterday morning to turn back after six days of sailing in their attempt at the round the world record. Aboard IDEC SPORT, they are heading for Brest to await a better opportunity to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy.

After what was a more than satisfying start until the Cape Verde Islands, the maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT found herself taken prisoner in the Doldrums, which were very active and expanding in front of them. Even experienced sailors like Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella and Boris Herrmann were surprised by the situation.

Francis Joyon looks back at this episode for us. “Aboard the red and grey bird, we are approaching the Doldrums feeling upbeat after these first few days at sea. We’re on schedule and our virtual rival is alongside us on the tracker. The weather models and satellite photos indicate a fairly rapid crossing of the 200 miles separating the winds in the North and South Atlantic. We’re entering a zone of leaden skies and heavy rain, but feeling quietly confident.”

“If you total up the experience of the six of us, you’re looking at several dozen crossings of this zone. But it is hell out here with rain that is getting heavier and heavier leaving several centimetres of water on the deck, while the skies are so black that it’s like night. Sudden violent gusts hit us, and we have to sail downwind for a few minutes before finding the sails flapping with no wind at all.”

Under full sail in the dark just to get out of there
“That was just the introduction to the thirty hours that would follow. I can remember one particular moment at night with Alex at the helm under full mainsail and big gennaker, when we were forced to run downwind in 40 knots of wind. This wasn’t one big gust, but wind that lasted a fairly long time, to the extent that we wondered how long it would be before the boat capsized if it got any worse. Under full sail in the dark with sails wide open, we sped along in the dark without paying attention to the route, just to get away from the worst. Last time Alex found himself in such a situation, aboard a MOD70 a few months ago, (Musandam Oman Sail – Transat Quebec/Saint-Malo, editor’s note), the wind proved too strong for the boat to keep her balance and she suddenly went over with Alex trapped under the net. It was a very lucky escape for him and this experience has strengthened his courage. Then, there were the calms with the trimaran drifting at 1 knot, a snail’s pace.”

Heading north to Brittany for another start
“The skipper’s mood sank as did that of the crew that are usually so upbeat. We saw the hours slipping by. Hours when we should have been hopping onto a low a long way south, which was heading for the Cape of Good Hope without us. The following morning we should have been in the SE’ly trade winds, but it was too late. The stopwatch, usually on our side, was against us, so all we could do was head north to go back across the Doldrums and towards Brittany to give it another go later. There’s no getting away from the Doldrums…”

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Training for the maxi tri IDEC Sport, skipper Francis Joyon, and his crew, prior to their circumnavigation crew record attempt for Trophy Jules Verne, off Belle Ile, on october 12, 2016 – Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

It was at 21:14:45 UTC on Sunday 20th November that Francis Joyon and his crew crossed the start line for the Jules Verne Trophy, the outright round the world sailing record, on IDEC SPORT.  “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 Francis Joyon, the skipper of IDEC SPORT, who was in a hurry not to avoid the weather opportunity ahead of the bows of the 31m long trimaran.

24 knots crossing the line

Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Boris Herrmann left the harbour in Brest shortly before 1845 UTC. They had intended to wait a while in the light airs at the centre of the low before making the most of some powerful and favourable winds generated to the west of this system. The weather however meant they did not have to remain patient for long, as they ended up crossing the line much earlier than scheduled. This commando force of exceptional sailors set off on Sunday to break the record, propelled along at 24 knots after a change of headsail over the line between the Le Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant and The Lizard at the SW tip of Britain.

The situation is very unusual for a record attempt and this is a first for Francis Joyon. The voyage is beginning with light airs, but northerly gales are on their way to the tip of Brittany. This is the system that Francis and his router, Marcel van Triest have been looking at. The skipper hopes to pick up these winds later this Monday morning to speed across the Bay of Biscay and get to the trade winds off Portugal and the Canaries without hitch.

The first few hours were more of a slow trot as they make their way across a ridge, where there are light winds and calms. So the maxi trimaran is practically stopped waiting for the big blow to head towards the SW. As usual, the sea state will determine how fast they can go. The storms which swept across Western France this weekend led to a heavy swell, but this has eased and is in the same direction as the wind, so it should not be too much of a problem for the multihull.

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

Same people to try again

After making an initial attempt last year and getting ever so close to the record, the crew of IDEC SPORT has set off in the same configuration as last time. There is no point in changing such a fantastic combination. To smash the record set by Loïck Peyron and his crew of thirteen dating back to January 2012 and see his name in the record books for the eighth time, Francis Joyon along with his crew of five must return to cross this same line between Brittany and Cornwall by 10:56:38 UTC on 5th January 2017.

Gwenole Gahinet portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Gwenole Gahinet portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Clement Surtel portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Clement Surtel portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Bernard Stamm portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Bernard Stamm portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Alex Pella portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Alex Pella portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

 

Francis Joyon portrait, skipper of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Francis Joyon portrait, skipper of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran crew members, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran crew members, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

September 28th, 2016
IDEC SPORT will once again be tackling the Jules Verne Trophy, less than a year after their last attempt, when Francis Joyon’s crew only missed out on the record by two days. For the first time in the history of the Trophy, the crew will remain the same. For this wild bunch of just six, there is the feeling that the job needs to be completed.
At the finish in Brest last February, the six sailors on IDEC SPORT, without exception, stated that they wanted to get back together and sail around the world. A lot of people thought it was just a statement, a desire expressed in the heat of the moment at the finish, particularly as it is never easy to bring together such world-renowned sailors, who are often hired for other adventures or other races. It seemed that the likelihood of setting off with exactly the same crew was remote… but that is exactly what is going to happen.
They will all be there again ready to sail around the world, as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Maybe in late October, but in any case, “as early as possible,” declared Francis Joyon. In particular, because “there aren’t many of these opportunities between October and February” and by setting off early in the season, there is a greater likelihood of moving from one system to another on the final climb back up the Atlantic. Taking advantage of their first round the world voyage together, when they pulled off some remarkable achievements (Indian Ocean record, in particular) but above all, experienced an extraordinary human adventure, the six sailors on IDEC SPORT are going to do it all over again, hoping that they will be luckier this time and grab the record held by Loïck Peyron’s crew since 2012 – 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
Francis Joyon portrait, skipper of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Francis Joyon portrait, skipper of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Francis Joyon presents…
Let’s leave the job of presenting the five sailors to Francis Joyon, who sailed 30,000 miles with them. They come from a range of backgrounds, but are all good all-rounders and motivated by the same goal – to become the fastest men around the world:
Alex Pella portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Alex Pella portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Alex Pella (SPAIN) 43
F.J.: “Alex was on watch with Bernard (Stamm) and they got on like a house on fire. You just have to watch the funny videos they did together to see that… Alex has a huge experience of sailing on all sorts of boats, in particular on 60-foot IMOCAs (the Vendée Globe boats). He is bringing us his wealth of experience from solo, double-handed and crewed racing. As there aren’t many of us, we don’t have defined roles on board and everyone needs to know how to do everything! Alex is a very good trimmer, helmsman, but is also good when carrying out manoeuvres on the bow…. In fact, I’m wondering what he isn’t good at!”
>Bon in Barcelona, the Catalan sailor began his career on a Mini 6.50 (2nd in the Transatlantic race) before winning the Route du Rhum on a Class40. He has also sailed a lot on bigger boats, in particular in the Barcelona World Race, in which he finished fourth in 2011.
xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

xxxx portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Boris Herrmann (GER) 35
F.J: “Befoere coming out with us, Boris had already sailed around the world on a small boat, a project he ran himself. He sails a lot with a crew, but also has a lot of experience sailing solo. He’s a nice, friendly guy, who knows how to do a lot of things. He is also a good all-rounder. Our crew is basically a group of solo sailors who complement and help each other. He fits in perfectly with those criteria.”
>In 2009, Boris Herrmann became the first German to win a round the world record: the Global Ocean Race. He can do anything, has sailed on small monohulls and giant multihulls and has the experience having faced the hostility of the Southern Ocean. Like a Swiss army knife, he is multi-purpose.
Bernard Stamm portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Bernard Stamm portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Bernard Stamm (CH) 52
F.J: “Out of all of this, it is Bernard, who has clocked up the most round the world voyages. He is our most determined helmsman. He knows how to speed the boat up, but keeps that speed going. During our last attempt, he gave us something extra in terms of strategy, navigation, finding the ideal route. It’s always worth listening to his advice. Having taken part in the Vendée Globe, where routing is not allowed, he has really worked hard on these matters. He is very clever at analysing satellite photos.”
Ø The only member of the IDEC SPORT gang, who has already held the Jules Verne Trophy (in 2005 as part of Bruno Peyron’s crew), Bernard has already won three round the world races on monohulls – the solo race, Around Alone twice and the double-handed Barcelona World Race once with Jean Le Cam. An impressive CV.
Clement Surtel portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Clement Surtel portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Clément Surtel (FRA) 37
F.J: “With Corentin (Joyon, his son) and me, Clément takes care of the boat throughout the year, and he did that before for the previous skippers. So, he is the one, who know the equipment best of all. Whenever there is a technical question, a risk of wear and tear or a part that looks like breaking, he is able to answer all our questions. He is a key figure, as he has known the boat for years. He’s a nice chap, who gets on with everyone, who has a great character. He loves trimming, carrying out manoeuvres and being at the helm. He has a wide range of talents, is a good all-rounder, but also an experience of solo sailing…”
Ø Fascinated by multihulls, Clément has a huge experience of giant trimarans. He was in charge of preparing the boat, when she was in the hands of Franck Cammas. Before going aboard IDEC last year for the round the world attempt, he was a member of the shore team for two Jules Verne Trophies in 2005 and 2010.
Gwenole Gahinet portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Gwenole Gahinet portrait, crew member of IDEC Sport Maxi Trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon, prior to their circumnavigation record attempt, in La Trinite sur Mer, France, on october 13, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA) 32
F.J: “Gwéno is someone, who is appreciated by all the crews he has sailed with. He was maybe lacking in experience in comparison to the older guys, who accompanied him during the last round the world attempt, but now he knows the score as well as the rest of us. He spent a long time at the helm last year, carried out a lot of manoeuvres and trimming… He is another of those all-rounders, whom you can always count on.”
Ø Son of the late Gilles Gahinet,a legendary sailor, “Gwéno” is also an engineer in boat design and worked a lot with the VPLP design team that came up with IDEC SPORT. He is above all an excellent navigator, who achieved several major victories on a Mini 6.50 and in the Figaro class before tackling the round the world adventure.
Router back on dry land: Marcel Van Triest (NDL), 52
F.J: “A fantastic router… whom we hope to have sailing with us on IDEC SPORT in early October. This will be useful, as he will get a better idea of what life is like on board. We’ll be thinking of him a lot, as he works in the sunshine of the Balearic Islands, while we’re in amongst the ice in the Southern Ocean. It was like that several times last year (laughs).”
Ø The Flying Dutchman, as he has been nicknamed, is one of the top routers in the world. He will be trying to beat his own record, as he worked with Loïck Peyron in 2012. Another detail: Marcel is also a great sailor himself having clocked up five round the world races.
Francis Joyon (FRA), 60
F.J: “It’s never easy to present yourself… Let’s just say I’m the youngster in the crew! One of the most important things for me before our last attempt was to manage to experience a round the world voyage, where the sailors enjoyed themselves… because it’s more fun like that, but also because if you enjoy something, you do it well. I think we were successful from that point of view. The proof being that we only just missed out… and now they’re all returning. As there aren’t many of us, it is vital that we all get on well together. I leave them use their own initiative. The watch system for example is something they came up with, not me.”
Ø The only sailor in the world to have the four major solo sailing records at the same time – the Round the World record, the Atlantic record, the 24-Hour record and the Columbus Route record, Francis Joyon’s attempt with a crew was closely followed last year. He certainly passed the test. Will he become the first sailor to hold the outright round the world record sailing solo and with a crew?
In brief
The IDEC SPORT crew
Francis Joyon (FRA), skipper
Bernard Stamm (CH), helmsman-trimmer
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), helmsman-trimmer
Alex Pella (ESP), helmsman-trimmer
Clément Surtel (FRA), helmsman-trimmer
Boris Herrmann (GER), helmsman-trimmer
Marcel Van Triest (NLD), on-shore router
. The Jules Verne Trophy
Record to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds set by Loïck Peyron and his crew of 13 in January 2012 on the trimaran Banque Populaire V (40 m)
Average speed to beat: 19.75 knots
Course: around the world via the three capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn.
Great circle distance: 21,600 miles
Start and finish line between Ushant (Créac’h Lighthouse and The Lizard (Cornwall).
. The IDEC SPORT trimaran
Trimaran with foils
Designers: VPLP
Previous names: Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII
Initial launch: June 2006
Length: 31.50 m
Beam: 22.50 m
Displacement: 15 t
Draught: 5.70 m
Mast height: 33.50 m
Structure: carbon-nomex

TROPHEE JULES VERNE

 

Francis Joyon on IDEC SPORT (Photo courtesy IDEC SPORT)

Francis Joyon on IDEC SPORT (Photo © IDEC Sport)

December 9th, 2015

The happy faces on the sailors during this morning’s video conference live from IDEC SPORT were a pleasure to see. Francis Joyon’s crew is in the process of seeing their gamble pay off and ending up on the right side of the area of low pressure coming down from Madagascar. The big, red trimaran is smoking: 450 miles regained in two and a half days.

Less than 350 miles behind the record pace in comparison with 800 on Sunday, IDEC SPORT is clocking up the miles at very high speed. Deep in the Southern Ocean, Francis Joyon and his crew of five have put their foot down, clearly stating their goal: to attempt to stay above 30 knots for as long as possible and weave their way around the Great Circle Route low down in the Furious Fifties between 52 and 54 degrees south.

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT in the Indian Ocean (Photo © IDEC Sport)

Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT in the Indian Ocean (Photo © IDEC Sport)

As fast as possible on the shortest route
This is not some miracle that has suddenly happened, but the result of a carefully thought out strategy developed with their onshore router, Marcel van Triest. According to him, the risk of encountering icebergs is not as great as 48 hours ago, when a 150m long monster was spotted on the radar. The race track looks clearer now and they can get the speed back up.
So they are on the attack, sailing as fast as possible on the shortest route, even if this means diving down to where no multihull has gone during such a record attempt. Yesterday evening, IDEC SPORT gybed at 54°31 south, after passing to the south of the volcanic Heard Island. “It’s a snow-capped volcano, which is still active. We hoped to see the smoke, but we didn’t get to see anything,” said Francis Joyon. Marcel Van Triest – with five round the world voyages under his belt – remembers that during the first Whitbread and Vendée Globe races, when there were no Ice Gates, a few monohulls sailed as far down. But no multihulls. So, in short, this is a long way south and it is very cold. Outside, your hands and face freeze, and they have to change over at the helm very often, sometimes every half hour. Inside the boat, in spite of the very basic heater, fitted above all to get rid of some of the dampness, it is between 6 and 8 degrees. However, in spite of the harsh conditions, the sailors on IDEC SPORT have a smile on their face. A beaming smile, as it looks like after their hard efforts, their gamble has paid off.
On the right side of the Low
The race against the area of low pressure is being won. That’s today’s good news, as Francis Joyon explained, “The area of low pressure has slowed down, while we managed to go faster than expected, so things are looking up. We are in with a very good chance of making it to the other side of this tropical low.” To be more precise about the movement of the low, it is expected to move behind them on Thursday evening. “Unless they have a major technical problem, they should get ahead, and that is almost certain now,” declared Marcel Van Triest this afternoon.
Francis Joyon added, laughing, “In any case, we have to pull this one off, as otherwise Bernard (Stamm) has threatened to turn us around and come back!” The Swiss sailor made it clear he was joking and that he won’t need to carry out his threat anyhow, as the boat is sailing at 100% of her potential… and the sailors are feeling very upbeat today. In two and a half days, the troops on the red boat have cut their deficit in comparison to the record pace in half, regaining 450 miles. Around a thousand miles from the longitude of Cape Leeuwin that they are expecting to cross early on Friday morning, they are now only 350 miles behind the record run.
450 miles regained
It is true that they are not going to be able to keep on making such gains and at some point in a few days from now, they are going to have to climb back up to fifty degrees south, if we look at the weather charts. But they have already accomplished something. While the end of last week was difficult in terms of the numbers, the start of this week has been very positive and exciting. “When we are at the helm, we remain focused and the goal is to keep up a good VMG, with a compromise between speed and bearing,” the German sailor, Boris Herrmann explained. He went on to talk about the food they were getting on board. In general, they have all they require, but the freeze-dried stuff doesn’t taste that good “while the bits of ham that Bernard prepared are well received.”
Gwénolé Gahinet, the youngest member of the crew and a rookie as far as the Southern Ocean is concerned, feels positive too. Apart from his obvious talents as a sailor, he has also been using software to identify sea birds to teach the crew about what they can see. “Here, under the protection, it’s a bit like a gathering in the pub,” joked Francis Joyon during the live link-up, encouraging his crewmen to take the microphone. It shows what the master of IDEC SPORT is like. He willingly shares the microphone and his experience of adventures at sea. This adventure is up there with the best. The boat is at 100% of her ability, the weather strategy has worked out (more gybes at 1200 and 1400hrs UTC), high speeds and all clear ahead… all the lights are on green for the big red boat.
In short

After 17 and a half days at sea, at 1430hrs UTC on Wednesday 9th December, IDEC SPORT is sailing at 31.4 knots at 53°55 south and 87°46 east. Bearing: east (86°) 345 miles behind the record pace.
The crew
The international crew on IDEC SPORT includes just six men: Francis Joyon (FRA), Bernard Stamm (SUI), Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), Alex Pella (ESP), Clément Surtel (FRA) and Boris Herrmann (GER)
Start
IDEC SPORT set off at 02:02:22 on Sunday 22nd November.
The time to beat
Loïck Peyron and his crew (Banque Populaire) with a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
Deadline
To smash the Jules Verne Trophy record, IDEC SPORT has to be back across the line before 1544hrs on Wednesday 6th January.
A peek on IDEC Sport (Photo © IDEC Sport)

A peek on IDEC Sport (Photo © IDEC Sport)

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

As the tenth edition of the legendary Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race to Guadeloupe started off Saint Malo, France this Sunday afternoon under grey skies and a moderate SSW’ly breeze. The perennial question of just how hard to push through the first 24-36 hours at sea was foremost in the minds of most of the 91 skippers.

 

When the start gun sounded at 1400hrs local time (1300hrs CET) to mark a spectacular send off for a 3,524 miles contest, which engages and entrances the French public like no other ocean race, breezes were only 15-17kts. But a tough, complicated first night at sea is in prospect, a precursor to 36 hours of bruising, very changeable breezes and big unruly seas.

Such conditions, gusting to 40kts after midnight tonight, are widely acknowledged to be potentially boat or equipment breaking. But the big ticket reward for fighting successfully through the worst of the fronts and emerging in A1 racing shape, will be a fast passage south towards Guadeloupe. Such an early gain might be crucial to the final result.

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

The converse is doubly true. Any trouble or undue conservatism might be terminal as far as hopes of a podium place in any of the three classes.

In short, the maxim of not being able to win the race on the first night, but being able to lose it over that keynote, initial period, has perhaps never been truer.

The routing south is relatively direct, fast down the Iberian peninsula with a fairly straightforward, quick section under the Azores high pressure which shapes the course. The Ultimes – the giant multis – are expected to be south of Madeira by Tuesday night when the IMOCA Open 60s will already be at the latitude of Lisbon and the Class 40 leaders passing Cape Finisterre.

Vincent Riou, Vendée Globe winner who triumphed in last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre two-handed race to Brasil, said of the forecast: “I carried out statistical studies, set up 140 different routings using ten years of files in my pre-race analysis and I can’t recall a single example of the weather being as favourable for the IMOCAs as what seems to lie ahead‏.”

The change in weather from the idyllic Indian summer conditions which have prevailed through the build up weeks to gusty winds, heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures could do nothing to dampen the extraordinary ardour displayed by the crowds which so openly embrace the Rhum legend. From all walks of life, from babes-in-arms to the elderly, they descend on Saint Malo and the nearby beaches and promontories to see the start and the opening miles.

Lemonchois Leads
It was fitting then that the tens of thousands who braved the deluges and the breeze were rewarded when it was the owner of the race record, Lionel Lemonchois, winner of the Multi 50 Class in the last edition and overall winner in 2006, who passed their Cap Fréhel vantage point, 18 miles after the start line leading the whole fleet on the Ultime Prince de Bretagne.

 

Thomas Coville on Sodebo lead the Caribbean-bound armada off the start line dicing with the more nimble, smaller Multi70 of Sidney Gavignet Musandam-Oman Air which also lead for a short time. The fleet’s ultimate Ultime, the 40m long Spindrift (Yann Guichard) was seventh to Fréhel, clearly needing time and opportunity to wind up to her high average top speeds. Coville has the potent mix of tens of thousands of solo miles under his belt as well as an Ultime (the 31m long ex Geronimo of Olivier de Kersauson with new main hull and mostly new floats and a new rig) which is optimised for solo racing.

The favourites to win each of the different classes seemed to make their way quickly to the front of their respective packs. Vendée Globe victor François Gabart established a very early lead in the IMOCA Open 60s on MACIF, ahead of PRB (Vincent Riou) and Jérémie Beyou (Maitre-CoQ). In the 43 strong Class 40 fleet Sébastien Rogue quickly worked GDF SUEZ in to the lead. He remains unbeaten and won last year’s TJV. Defending class champion Italy’s Andrea Mura was at the front of the Rhum class with his highly updated Open 50 Vento di Sardegna.

Spain’s highly rated Alex Pella was second in Class 40 on Tales 2, Britain’s Conrad Humphreys 20th on Cat Phones Built For It and Miranda Merron sailing Campagne de France in 22nd.

The key international, non-French skippers made solid starts to their races. Self-preservation was key priority for 75 year old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Grey Power, who said pre-start that his main goal was to get safely clear of Cape Finisterre, before pressing the accelerator.

He is in good company not least with ‘junior’ rivals Patrick Morvan, 70 and Bob Escoffier, 65 all racing in this Rhum class which features race legend craft as well as sailors. Two of the original sisterships to Mike Birch’s 11.22m Olympus – which stole victory by 98 seconds in the inaugural race in 1978 – are racing in this fleet replaying the fight against the monohull Kriter V which finished second.

First to return to Saint-Malo with a technical problem- needing to repair his rigging – was the Class40 of Jean Edouard Criquioche, Région haute Normandie, who had to turn round after just 45 minutes on course. And the Portuguese skipper in the Rhum class Ricardo Diniz was also reported to be heading back with trouble with his diesel.

Order at Cap Fréhel

1 – Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) / 1st Ultime
2 – Sidney Gavignet (Musandam – Oman Sail)
3 – Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim’)
4 – Loïck Peyron (Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII)
5 – Sébastien Josse (Edmond De Rothschild)
6 – Yann Eliès (Paprec Recyclage)
7 – Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2)
8 – Yves Le Blévec (Actual) / 1st Multi50
9 – Francis Joyon (Idec Sport)
10 – Erwan Leroux (FenêtréA – Cardinal)
11 – Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema Région Aquitaine)
12 – François Gabart (MACIF) / 1st IMOCA
13 – Vincent Riou (PRB) 14 – Loïc Fequet (Maître Jacques)
15 – Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq)
16 – Marc Guillemot (Safran)
17 – Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
18 – Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde)
19 – Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives-Coeur)
20 – Armel Tripon (Humble for Heroes)
21 – Erik Nigon (Vers un monde sans sida)
22 – Pierre Antoine (Olmix)
23 – Andrea Mura (Vento Di Sardegna) / 1st Rhum
24 – Sébastien Rogues (GDF SUEZ) / 1st Class40‏

Follow the race on www.routedurhum.com/en
Live Radio Vacations 1200-1230hrs each day in English on www.routedurhum.com/en

 

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

The weather forecast for the first few days of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe seems to suggest that the 3,542 miles from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre will be quick. But first up there will be an active frontal system to cross before Ushant.

Sunday afternoon’s start will see the SSW’ly breeze at around 15-18kts with some squally bursts perhaps. But the first three days of racing will be quite tough for the 91 solo skippers competing on this legendary Transatlantic. And with such a promising forecast it seems there might be every chance the outright race record of 7 days 17 hours 19mins 6 secs of Lionel Lemonchois, set in 2006 on Gitana XI, might fall.

It had to happen some time. The blocking high pressure system which has provided summer-like weather for most of the times in Saint-Malo will give way to more usual Autumnal conditions, an Atlantic low pressure arriving on cue for Sunday’s start. The weather will worsen progressively along the Brittany coast and there will likely be rain just after the 1400hrs local time start gun.

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

The 91 solo skippers gathered for their final meteo briefing this morning as Meteo Consult provided them with their final weather analysis. Sunday afternoon will see SSW’ly winds of around 15-18 kts but with some much bigger gusts. The breeze will veer more west behind the front, easing slightly initially but it will always be gusty. The air temperature will be around 13-16 deg C. The Ultime leaders might well have passed Cap Fréhel ahead of the front but for most this will mean headwinds.

The soloists will have a long port tack to get out of the Channel. But around midnight a second, more active front will bring a big increase in wind strength from the SW, gusting to 40-45kts with a chaotic sea. And this will be one of the key phases of this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Approaching and around the tip of Brittany there are a powerful combination of big untidy waves, busy maritime traffic and gusty winds, so the real strategy here will be trying not to break anything whilst still keeping the pace on.

By daytime Monday the biggest Ultimes should be into the brisk NW’ly which will make for a fast descent to Madeira which they should reach by Tuesday night. But meantime for the first part of Monday the IMOCA and Multi 50s will have a pretty tough time trying to find the right tempo across the first part of Biscay in an unruly, nasty sea making a messy, stressful passage to Cape Finisterre for Tuesday morning.

Overall it is quite a promising forecast. Class 40 and the Rhum fleet will need to take it more carefully but there really is only one general route south and the fleets should enjoy more of a speed rather than strategy race.

In the Class 40 fleet Briton Conrad Humphreys says he has never been better prepared or felt as good before a race start but the pressure will be on from the start. There is a critical stage early on where the skippers must time their approach through Sunday night’s front to make sure they can get comfortably inside the Ushant traffic separation zone, or not. There is a tactical danger in being squeezed out to the west by the zone when the main opposition is inside, able to cut the corner and get south across Biscay earlier.

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

“The critical thing will be how far west you get and whether you are positioned inside or outside the separation zone at Ushant. If you are caught half way you can’t cross the separation zone. And so the timing of that shift is important. After that the Bay of Biscay is going to be quite lively. I think the sea state will be one of the worst things, 4-5m swell with waves on top and then a lot of rain. The further south we get the High will have an effect and it will start to calm down a bit, but I think for most of the first 24-36 hours it will be quite wild. It is so critical to be with the pack and to get through that first shift with them. If you don’t they can be going quite fast and the ones who don’t will be still on the wind, have less runway to get around Ushant and so on. I have to say you will have to sail quite aggressively.”

In boisterous sea and wind conditions, with rain showers passing through, the start itself holds the possibility is problems. Indeed that is the phase that concerns Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) most immediately. The France-based English soloist said after the weather briefing:

“It’s November. You are going to take a kicking some time and this first bit looks tough, but it is the start with all the traffic and stress around that worries me most. I just want to get away cleanly and safely.”

They said:
Ari Huusela (FINLAND) – Rhum Class, Neste Oil:
“It is a victory to be here. In total we have had almost 20 people involved in the project at home in Finland. It is my passion to sail alone, that is why I want to do this race. This is the pinnacle. I have had this boat two years after it took me seven years to realise my dream. I think the boat is good, I am going to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Yann Guichard (Ultime) – SPINDRIFT 2:
“Everyone knows that the start phase is always critical. I know that if I have to do an emergency change of tack, it can’t be done in two minutes. The first twelve hours are going to be complicated. It looks like we’re going to have to do two changes of tack. This isn’t where the race is going to be won, but it is where it can be lost.”

Loïck Peyron (Ultime) – MAXI SOLO BANQUE POPULAIRE VII:
“The start is never easy for anyone. And here it’s going to be violent. There is going to be wind and lots of rain: typical sailor’s weather. This will make things a bit more dramatic, as we’re straight into the rough stuff.”

To follow the race on click La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

 

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))