IDEC SPORT: An Amazing Recovery

Published on December 10th, 2015

(December 10, 2015; Day 19) – Francis Joyon’s crew on 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT is in the process of succeeding in their gamble and achieving the remarkable feat of wiping out a deficit of 800 miles in just four days. They are but a couple clicks now off the pace, and tonight will be crossing the longitude of Cape Leeuwin.

The six sailors on board IDEC SPORT are still pushing hard in their challenge of claiming back lost ground, which began on Sunday evening, as they attempt to get back to the pace set by the record-holder, Loïck Peyron’s Banque Populaire V. They have had to fight to keep a tropical low coming down from Madagascar behind them, and they appear to have achieved this goal. As they dash across the Indian Ocean, it has been a bitter struggle too, “dealing with the cold and maintaining high speeds,” as Gwénolé Gahinet, who is discovering the Southern Ocean, explained.

The boat could not be contacted today and we can fully understand why. In the polar cold in the Southern Ocean at between 52 and 54 degrees south, the aim of the six men on IDEC SPORT has been clear: they have to sail as quickly as possible on the straightest course they can find. They have been doing just that, taking it in turns at the helm changing over every hour to remain fully focused. The speeds are high averaging more than thirty knots with peaks of forty, meaning they are covering more than 700 miles in 24 hours.

Leeuwin early tonight
It is true that the wind charts indicate lighter winds to their south, forcing them to climb back up to a more northerly route. And that is indeed what they are doing. The exceptional gains they have made over the past few days are likely to slow down, as the record-holder started to head down south at this point. But let’s enjoy what we are seeing for now. Tomorrow is another day.

We knew before the start of this round the world voyage that if there was any improvement to be made over the reference time, it would be in the Pacific, where Banque Populaire saw time slipping by during their record voyage. So let’s sit back and enjoy the huge success of this third week of racing, with hundreds of miles being clocked up in the deep south on a straight line thanks to the efforts of the crew.

Tonight, Francis Joyon and his troops will be crossing the longitude of the second of the three major capes in the Jules Verne Trophy: Cape Leeuwin in SW Australia. For those people, who thought the game was up four days ago, the message is now clear: IDEC SPORT is still in with every chance.


As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 12650.94 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 741.31 nm
Distance ahead of record: -26.17 nm


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Background: IDEC SPORT is seeking to claim the Jules Verne Trophy, a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, starting and finishing between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.

Francis Joyon (FRA), skippering the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran, crossed the start line on November 22 at 02:02:22 GMT, and his 6-man team must return by 15:44:15 UTC on January 6, 2016 to beat the current record set January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on Banque Populaire V of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

MORE: Also starting on November 22 (at 4:01:58 GMT) for an attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy was the 40m VPLP-designed Spindrift 2, led by Yann Guichard. The 14-person team must return before 17:43:51 GMT on January 6, 2016 to beat the record. Here’s a tracker showing both teams:

Francis Joyon (FRA)
Bernard Stamm (SUI)
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)
Alex Pella (ESP)
Clément Surtel (FRA)
Boris Herrmann (GER)

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