IDEC SPORT: Nobody Faster Across Indian Ocean

Published on December 11th, 2015

(December 11, 2015; Day 20) – Francis Joyon’s crew on 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at 2240hrs UTC after 18 days, 20 hours and 41 minutes of sailing from Ushant. IDEC SPORT has become the first sailing boat in history to sail from Cape Agulhas of South Africa to Cape Leeuwin of Australia in less than six days.

Five days eleven hours and 23 minutes was the time it took IDEC SPORT to go from South Africa to the south of Australia. Thanks to their straight, southerly crossing, Francis Joyon and his crew of five have become the fastest sailors in history on this Indian Ocean crossing. The only ones to have done this in less than six days.

Between the start off Ushant and Cape Leeuwin, IDEC SPORT has been sailing for 18 days, 20 hours and 37 minutes. That is 20 hours and 41 minutes more than Banque Pop V in 2012. So less than a day longer. But it is almost three days less than the time taken by Groupama. During their winning Jules Verne Trophy record in 2010, Franck Cammas’s crew reached this longitude after 21 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes. And let’s not forget that IDEC SPORT is none other than the former Groupama 3.

In other words, with the same boat and a crew that is half the size – six men instead of ten – Francis Joyon’s crew has improved on this performance by 2 days and 18 hours. A huge boost for the men rewarding their dash across the ocean over the past five days (they are still maintaining speeds in excess of thirty knots) and it also confirms that IDEC SPORT is back in the game. Let’s not forget that it is in the Pacific after Tasmania, that they are looking forward to making real gains on the record pace.

After regaining 800 miles in four days to get back on equal footing with the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy yesterday evening, IDEC SPORT has since lost some ground on the record but that is down to a question of geometry, as their virtual rival was heading south again. But they are still keeping up the pace on IDEC SPORT. They are fast, very fast with days of more than 750 miles. “Now, we’re doing 37, 39 knots… and to put it bluntly, we are sticking above 35 knots,” said Clément Surtel, who was clearly in great shape, extremely pleased to be speeding along on a trimaran expressing 100% of her potential.

Not quite as far down in the Furious Fifties, they are now at 51° south and reaching with the 30-knot northerly wind on the beam. They are ahead of the tropical low that they have been racing against for four days. Francis Joyon: “It was a bit difficult down in the south with the mist and icebergs, but that was necessary to shorten our route. So of course, we’re very pleased! The crew felt cold but nothing scared them. Now, we’re sailing at speed with the wind on the beam. We’re getting tons of water across the deck and there’s spray everywhere. The boat is going crazy. It’s not exactly comfortable, but we’ll be keeping this wind for another couple of days, which should allow us to continue rapidly.”

What next? “The weather isn’t very clear in the Pacific, but for the moment, we should catch up a lot of miles before getting to New Zealand,” explained the skipper of IDEC SPORT. The Catalan sailor, Alex Pella, summed up the situation like this: “Everything is going well on board. We have had some great days, one after the other on a straight line on the direct route that could have been drawn by a laser. It’s really enjoyable.”

That says it all really. Incidentally, during the radio link-up this morning, Francis Joyon explained that Bernard Stamm was suspended on a harness trying to make a slight adjustment to the wind turbine, which provides the power on board the boat. Acrobatics that have a purpose, but which involve getting very wet. “Between the real wind and our speed, there must be an apparent wind of about 50 knots out on deck,” guessed Francis before reassuring everyone ashore. “In this crew, they know how to do this sort of thing without taking too many risks.” OK. That’s noted, Francis. The next time we experience fifty-knot winds in the street, we’ll try to carry out repairs on our bicycle just to see how it feels.

As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 12054.18 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 774.88 nm
Distance ahead of record: -88.24 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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