IDEC SPORT: Choosing the Least Bad Option

Published on December 17th, 2015

(December 17, 2015; Day 26) – For skipper Francis Joyon and his team on the 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT, there were no easy decisions on how to complete their crossing of the South Pacific. “We are choosing the least bad option,” explained Joyon. “We are dragging our feet a bit tacking downwind. We are still to the north of what remains of the area of low pressure, hoping that something will develop along the way.”

Joyon and his merry band are relying on their professionalism and their knowledge of the sea to make the most of the light conditions, which stretch out along their route to the southern tip of Latin America. Focusing on their trimming, by gybing they are hoping to compensate for the lack of power of the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran in these light airs. Her mast is well suited to the strong conditions in the far south, but means they are lacking that vital horsepower, when the wind drops below ten knots.

“The bright sunshine of the Southern Ocean cheered the crew up yesterday,” explained Joyon. “We managed to recharge the batteries – for the boat and the men. We need sunshine for our solar panels, but it was also excellent for us, as we were able to dry our clothes and forget the dull weather of the past few days.”

The light conditions have interrupted the incredible pace the team managed to maintain from New Zealand. “We shall continue to weave in and out for most of the day,” added Francis, “trying to keep up a bit of speed. IDEC SPORT is a bit like a big 4-wheel drive. She does really well in heavy conditions, but suffers a bit, when the wind drops off and the sea is calm.”

The exit from this area isn’t that far off, but the way to get there is constantly changing, meaning that the day ahead of them is rather uncertain. The main weapon the six sailors on IDEC SPORT have is their ability to react quickly, as the boat doesn’t demand too much of them, when changing tack, with the current sail, the big gennaker, in place now for more than forty hours.

As of 20:56 UTC
Distance to finish: 9472.6 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 360.63 nm
Distance ahead of record: -85.09 nm



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Background: IDEC SPORT has entered 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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