IDEC SPORT: Time To Descend

Published on December 13th, 2015

(December 13, 2015; Day 22) – The 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT has reached the longitude of New Zealand, and is preparing a series of gybes to deal with the wind, which is backing westerly as they enter the Pacific. Now under gennaker, IDEC SPORT’s trajectory has now moved towards the NE – meaning they are losing a few miles, as the record-holder sailed 500 miles further south.

“The NW’ly wind enabled us to take the direct route,” explained skipper Francis Joyon. “It has backed westerly and so in a couple of hours, we will gybe. It will be night here for us …we have around a thousand miles of gybing ahead of us. We won’t be gybing every three hours though, but we will have the wind from astern.”

What lies ahead? “For the time being, it’s a matter of waiting to see what happens. There are lows to our north and we’re examining where to position ourselves in relation to them. The Pacific is looking a bit complicated, as the lows aren’t really moving from west to east and that will only happen in a few days from now, so it’s not going to be easy to go from one system to another.”

For the time being, after her record crossing of the Indian Ocean, IDEC SPORT is certainly still in the game. The deficit in relation to the record-holder is small and they still have 24 days ahead of them to get back home. Meanwhile, another sailor on board, Gwénole Gahinet, is in the process of setting some new personal records.

“In the Mini Transat and the Transat AG2R, I spent 21 days at sea in a row, but 22 days or more is a record for me. This is also the first time I have crossed the Pacific. I’m enjoying it.”

Gwénolé Gahinet told us too that the crew are in good shape, in spite of the high speeds and the demanding manoeuvres: taking in and shaking out reefs, sail changes, stacking, etc. “Changing the headsail to hoist the gennaker takes around an hour, so we’re sweating a lot under our three layers of fleeces. We’re being kept busy.” The men are indeed very busy. At 1000hrs UTC on Sunday after 21 days and 7 hours at sea, IDEC SPORT was sailing at 30 knots.

As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 10998.18 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 576.56 nm
Distance ahead of record: -217.48 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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