How Joyon smashed solo Atlantic record

Published on June 18th, 2013

By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
Bravo Francis Joyon.

With a scorching display of boatspeed and human endurance, France’s enigmatic rocket man Francis Joyon pulverised the solo transatlantic record on 15 June, sailing from New York to the Lizard to set a new time of 5 days 2 hours.

This record has had only six holders – twice by Joyon, 57 – and there is a very good reason for this. Few have the wherewithal, experience or courage to try it.

There is a world of difference between attempting an Atlantic record on the edge of a gale with a full crew and keeping a highly strung giant trimaran at the brink all alone. Not everyone can handle it physically or mentally, or has the level of seamanship required to dance, as it demands, along the edge of capsize or breakage.

The heartstopping photo above gives a tiny inkling of just how stressful it must have been for Joyon. It shows his arrival at the finish line of the record off The Lizard, still racing at full pelt while close to shipping and closing on land.

Joyon got the go-ahead for this record from his longtime weather adviser, Jean-Yves Bernot, on 10 June. He left New York and hurtled past Ambrose Light on 11 June to establish himself in the favorable portion of the weather system, ahead of the front and where the sea was not too formed. – Read on

Note: Click here to see route comparison between Joyon and previous record holder Thomas Coville, who had held the record since 2008.

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