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.
091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM', skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Photo Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM’, skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

At 23:30, Sunday, Nov. 2, the Cross informed the race management of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe that a collision had occurred between Sodebo Ultim ‘and a cargo and Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was almost out of the rail and sailed under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in assets grains with 30 knots of wind from the southwest.

In shock, the trimaran has lost the front of the starboard float to link arms. The middle housing also appears to have been damaged at the front. Sodebo Ultim ‘moves towards the port of Roscoff, crosswind, under reduced sail, leaning on the port float. He is currently lead less than 10 knots. By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind will ease and the sea to settle down. His crew was on standby in Brest will travel at night in Roscoff where the trimaran is due in the morning

Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

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Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

Covillle recalled: “Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen … You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard (Wallfo.com) succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

Multi 50
Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne.

IMOCA
One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment – back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it’s sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can’t have it all!”

Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

11 abandons

1. Thomas Coville (Ultime – Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA – Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 – Royan) : dismasted
4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 – Maître Jacques) : float damaged
5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 – Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 – Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
7. François Angoulvant (Class40 – Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 – Sensation Class40) : lost keel
9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 – Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 – Wallfo.com) : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem

 

Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

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))

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

He’s done it! At 1738hrs UTC (1938hrs CET) on Monday 21st April 2014, the IDEC maxi-trimaran crossed the finishing line in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Francis Joyon has set a new reference time for the Friendship Route between Bordeaux (France) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). His race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds for the theoretical 4812 miles.

 

ALF0651Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon left Bordeaux on Tuesday 8th April beginning in the Gironde Estuary at 1433hrs UTC. This was merely four days after officially going on stand by with the support in particular  of the French football team, the Girondins de Bordeaux and Fabien Barthez among others. This new Friendship Route between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro was designed to bring together France and Brazil and come to the aid of charities in Brazil, as well as the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in France.

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

An average speed of 15.2 knots on the Great Circle Route and 18.1 knots out on the water

 

IDEC’s race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds to sail the 4812 miles of the theoretical route or 15.27 knots. In reality, IDEC sailed 910 miles more out on the water: 5722 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.16 knots. The explanation: Francis Joyon had to go around all the low-pressure areas from Cape Finisterre to the middle of the Atlantic. He had no hesitation in sailing 900 miles away from the direct route. Once again, Francis Joyon has managed to get the most out of his maxi trimaran to play with the various weather systems. He very often got up to around thirty knots…

The final 24 hours of sailing along the coast of Brazil were very demanding for the skipper of IDEC, who had to sail upwind for the final 120 miles to Rio de Janeiro. Exhausted after missing out on his sleep, Francis Joyon had to keep hard at it, carrying out changes of tack and many manoeuvres to reach the finishing line. These thirteen days of sailing were rather unusual as he had to sail a long way north to get to the west and this demanded a lot of effort. A few moments after crossing the line, Francis Joyon gave us his first impressions of this new record.

What Francis Joyon told us at the finish

His first reaction

I’m really pleased to have finished, as the final 24 hours were very testing. Physically I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept for two days because of the conditions, but also because there is really a lot of shipping along the coast of Brazil. You have to remain alert all the time. This is a particularly exhausting job.”

The final 24 hours at sea

The final hurdle was very stressful. Around midnight last night, I found myself in a huge storm, which was quite impressive… and the wind suddenly swung around 180 degrees. I went from downwind sailing to upwind sailing with the wind strength all over the place going from 10 to 25 knots in just a few seconds. Aboard a giant multihull like IDEC, these are challenging conditions. You have to keep manoeuvring, taking in reefs and making changes. And at the same time there is the threat of all the shipping between the coast and the offshore oil rigs. A tug came close to the boat, while I was carrying out manoeuvres for example. And with the wind coming straight at me, everyone knows that neither I nor the boat likes that. That’s why I’m particularly pleased to be here now in Brazil.

The time and the route

Before setting off from Bordeaux, I thought it would take around fifteen days. So thirteen days isn’t that bad, taking into account my route off to the west that was necessary to get around the lows in the Atlantic, then the width of the Doldrums (300 miles, editor’s note) where I was slowed down, but never came to a complete standstill. This route was excellent training for the Route du Rhum: when I finally got back on a southerly route in the Atlantic, I was only two days away from Guadeloupe! I sailed a lot of miles, a lot more than indicated on the theoretical route… and I learnt a lot. Each mile sailed, each manoeuvre carried out helps me get to know the boat. My time can of course be improved, if the weather cooperates allowing a more direct route.”

The boat

I’m really pleased as IDEC has shown that she is still fast and reliable. I didn’t break anything important. The little problems I had along the way were routine incidents and not that important. I’m going to be able to sort them all out by myself here in Brazil. They are only minor details. So there is nothing to worry about on that score.

For the ICM

Sailing to support the ICM and for charities is very motivating for me. It adds something spiritual to the mere sport of sailing.

REMINDER

This new record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro was aimed at creating a friendly link between France and Brazil. It brought together ambassadors from both countries – personalities from the world of sport, the arts, business and the media to offer support to Brazilian charities and the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

For this latest 4800-mile long route across the Atlantic, the big red trimaran hoisted the Sail of Hope, signed in France and Brazil by the ambassadors from both countries involved in this project. This sail will be auctioned for charity at the end of the year at a gala event in Paris with all the proceeds going to Brazilian charities and the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

Joyon, the record hunter

Francis Joyon was the first sailor to win the Ultimate Trophy. He is the only one to have held the four following records at the same time:

-The Round the World Record: 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds, February 2008 (still the record today)

-The North Atlantic Record: 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, June 2013 (still the record today)

-24-hour record: 666.2 miles sailed, July 2012

-Columbus Route Record (Cadiz – San Salvador): 8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds, February 2013

 

_ALF0730Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

SAILING - NEW FRANCE BRAZIL RECORD FOR IDEC

SAILING – NEW FRANCE BRAZIL RECORD FOR IDEC

 

It’s great and I’m really pleased to be sailing on this tack directly towards the finish. It’s something I haven’t been able to do that much with all the low pressure areas I had to get around. The boat is sailing smoothly through the water. I’m in the fairly variable north-easterly trade winds, which are varying between 20 and 28 knots.” Francis Joyon sounded upbeat this Wednesday lunchtime: the IDEC maxi trimaran is sailing at around 25 knots and the solo sailor is clocking up the miles. He is back up to days sailing more than 540 miles. “I’ve got just 300 miles left before the Equator. I shall be crossing into the Southern Hemisphere in around fifteen hours, so during the night for you in Europe,” declared Francis.

The other good news is that “I have managed to repair the link rods between the rudders on the floats. I’ll sort it out completely when I finish, but the repair job is working perfectly well for now. I no longer have to keep switching them over each time I change tack. I haven’t had any other worries apart from what I call my daily routine jobs: a sheet that gives up the ghost, a line that needs replacing, just a few little things like that.”
The Doldrums are active and spread out

Aerial shoot of the Maxi trimaran IDEC and her skipper Francis Joyon in Bordeaux for their standby prior to sail for a new record between France and Brazil on April 04, 2014 - Photo Manuel Blondeau / DPPI

Aerial shoot of the Maxi trimaran IDEC and her skipper Francis Joyon in Bordeaux for their standby prior to sail for a new record between France and Brazil on April 04, 2014 – Photo Manuel Blondeau / DPPI

So, everything is going well, as IDEC prepares to finish her eighth day of sailing this afternoon after sailing almost 3000 miles and with Rio just 1800 miles ahead. Yes, it’s going well, but there is one notable exception, as the latest forecasts for the passage through the Intertropical Convergence Zone are not that certain and so the skipper of IDEC is unable to come up with an idea of his ETA in Rio de Janeiro.

The reason for that is “On my North-South route, I don’t have any real choice about how to tackle the Doldrums, except some minor adjustments of a few miles along the way. The area has stretched right out. I’m already to get a taste of what lies ahead, as I’m starting to sail under some very dark clouds. Yesterday, the forecast talked about a strip 200 miles wide, but today, they’re forecasting more or less twice that with around 300 or 400 miles. Inside that zone according to the forecasts, there is a bit of everything with light NE’ly winds, but also calms and sometimes even southerlies straight into our bows. I’m not panicking yet, as I know there is very often a difference between what is forecast and what we find out there on the water.”

What about after that? “If we look a little further ahead, it looks like I’m going to have to deal with an area of calms between Salvador da Bahia and Rio around 21st April… but other forecasts show a relatively decent breeze for this final stretch. I’d really like that, as a strong breeze with the boat sailing close to the wind will allow me to hoist the Sail of Hope, that I have kept back for the moment waiting for the right conditions.”

Just to remind you, the Sail of Hope was signed by the Ambassadors for this Friendship Route the new record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro. Among those, who signed it (see our previous articles) there was for example the whole of the French football team as well as the Girondins de Bordeaux. This sail will be auctioned with proceeds going to Brazilian charities fighting against poverty and to the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in Paris, which Francis Joyon and IDEC have always supported.

In short

At noon CET (1000hrs UTC) on Wednesday 16th April 2014, after 7 days and 19 hours of sailing, Francis Joyon was sailing on IDEC at 27.8 knots on a SSE bearing (173°), at 05°04 North and 34°47 West, or in other words, 600 miles from the eastern tip of the Horn of Brazil. Distance covered since the start in Bordeaux: 2968 miles. Distance to the finish in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): 1844 miles.

 

Francis Joyon IDEC  (Photo by Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI /IDEC)

Francis Joyon IDEC (Photo by Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI /IDEC)

Aboard the maxi-trimaran IDEC, Francis Joyon will stand-by on Friday, April 4 at Bordeaux. Objective: To watch the best weather window to tackle the Route de l’Amitié, a new record to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in favor of the ICM. The football team Girondins de Bordeaux will welcome sign for the “Sail of Hope”.

Friday, April 4 will be a special day in Bordeaux, which will host the maxi trimaran IDEC and pilot Francis Joyon, in the preamble to the top from the Route de l’Amitié. This new record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro is intended as a bridge friendly union between France and Brazil. It will bring Great Ambassadors of the two countries – sports personalities, artists, or from the business and media circles – around a common support to charities including ICM, Institute for Brain and Spinal Cord. For this new Road 5000 nautical miles (9,200 km) across the Atlantic, the big red trimaran will front the “Sail of Hope”, which will be dedicated during signing ceremonies in France and in Brazil by all great ambassadors of both countries gathered around the project. It will then be auctioned in late 2014 at a gala evening in Paris. All the profits will be donated to charities and the Institute for Brain and Spinal Cord (see previous news). From 10 am this Friday, April 4, therefore, the big red trimaran pass under the bridge Chaban-Delmas, and will dock to honor pontoon, near the Place de la Bourse. At 11am, the team Girondins de Bordeaux sign turn Sail of Hope in other sports personalities company. At 15:30, Francis Joyon will board the big multihull and revert the Chaban-Delmas bridge 16h. This will be the official start of stand-by itself. Ie the waiting period of better weather opportunity to carry out this solitary navigation and establish the first reference of this new Route de L’Amitié.

 

Francis Joyon in NYC in May of 2013 awaiting a weather window for the North Atlantic Record (Photo by George Bekris) (Photo

Francis Joyon in NYC in May of 2013 awaiting a weather window for the North Atlantic Record (Photo by George Bekris) (Photo

Francis Joyon Awarded the Ultimate Trophy (Photo courtesy of Francis Joyon - Trimaran IDEC)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013, Francis Joyon received ULTIMATE TROPHY, new sporting distinction that honors the fastest sailor on the four major ocean records alone: “World Tour, North Atlantic Discovery Route and 24 hour record . The skipper of the maxi-trimaran IDEC is the first to receive this new award, true Grand Slam of ocean sailing solo! Award received from Jean Todt, FIA President and Gérard Saillant, President of ICM.

Repeat the exploits of Francis Joyon deserved a trophy. Record World Tour alone in 2008, 24-hour record in 2012, Discovery Route and Record of the North Atlantic in 2013: so many great records held by Francis Joyon and earned him this award Wednesday, October 9 the ULTIMATE TROPHY. “I am pleased that this award embodies performances that are the fruit of a long process with the IDEC Group, ICM, my router Jean-Yves Bernot, but Christophe Houdet who helped me for escorts” says the skipper of the maxi-trimaran IDEC. 57 days around the world solo Marin fastest around the world since 2004, his record was broken the following year by the British sailor Ellen MacArthur who sailed around the world  in 71 days and 14 hours – one day better than Francis.  Francis who went for the record in 2008 and hit a great shot breaking the record in 57 days 1:34 p.m. minutes and 6 seconds! “World Tour is the most difficult record for its length and crossed areas,” says he. “I had to go very far south in iceberg areas, facing extreme weather conditions . The rise between Cape Horn and Britain was also complicated, with a lot of minor damage. And despite the challenging course, we had to go fast for a

long time. This is my best record, one that leaves me more memories. ” 666,000 in 24 hours in the summer of 2012, Joyon addresses a second major record: the greatest distance covered in 24 hours alone. Result: 666.2 miles. “I saw a depression formed in the middle of the Atlantic. I left Britain to join then I placed on its front. It worked! The record of 24 hours is too extreme, in the sense that it must be very high speeds in rough conditions necessarily. ” eight days on the road to Columbus in February 2013, Francis Joyon part in the assault of the one of his records he feels threatened: the Discovery Route between Cadiz (Spain) and San Salvador (Bahamas). He explains: “Thomas Coville had a nice ahead of my time reference and was poised to improve. So I went to my turn. Meanwhile, Thomas gave up and so I fought against my own clock. Successfully (8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds). In the Discovery Route, it takes several fronts, but also faced calm zones. Unstable conditions, therefore, and must successfully manage these different weather systems. ”

Atlantic in 5 days Last record to date: the North Atlantic in 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds to rally Ambrose Light off New York to Lizard Point, at the western tip of Cornwall. A particularly remarkable that it occurred in a particular context. Francis Joyon: “I capsized off New York during the previous attempt. I felt apprehensive but I was desperate to erase the bad memory. Again, it must be constantly very fast, background settings on the boat all the time to file more than 25 knots. We hardly slept for five days and you get overwhelmed. ” Keep Trophy Francis Joyon has to date four records in his pocket. But it is well placed to know that they are by definition meant to be broken. Especially as competition sharpens: sailors from the likes of Thomas Coville, Armel Le Cléac’h, François Gabart or Lemonchois covet his records, and at the same time the Ultimate Trophy. Francis Joyon but does not move in quite the contrary: “I find that my performance has created a rivalry that pushes sailors and sponsors to invest. They provide the means to fight with larger boats, lighter, wider – so faster. But I will not let me do, if one of my records is beaten, I’ll do anything to get it back! “. Patrice Lafargue, Chairman of the IDEC Group: “I am very proud of this award which recognizes a great sailor and history of over 10 years with the IDEC Group. I agree with all employees to congratulate these exploits non-standard. ” Gerard Saillant, President of the ICM: “The Ultimate Trophy is the recognition of repeated exploits of an extraordinary man common and through it all a team. Francis has long shown that the victory was the result of talent, labor and courage, but was not incompatible with loyalty, generosity and legendary discretion that he knows. Francis thank you for making us dream! ”

Reminder of four records:

– Record Around the World: 57 days 1:34 p.m. minutes and 6 seconds, February 2008

– 24-hour record: 666.2 miles traveled, July 2012

– Record of Discovery Route (Cadiz – Without Salvador): 8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds in February 2013

– Record of the North Atlantic: 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, in June 2013