IDEC SPORT: Ahead of the Ghost

Published on December 20th, 2015

(December 20, 2015; Day 29) – In less than 24 hours, Francis Joyon and his crew of five on the 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT turned things around again in terms of the Jules Verne Trophy record time. They have just achieved another success following the one they had off the coast of South Africa, getting back up to the pace set by the record holder, having cut several hundred miles off their losses, which had reached 580 miles on Saturday morning.

With 1200 miles to go to the southernmost tip of South America, IDEC SPORT is looking calmly ahead to the final weather hurdle before they get out of the South and head back into the Atlantic, with a small area of low pressure to deal with 150 miles before the Horn. IDEC SPORT’s intermediate time will depend on how they get across this calm patch and whether they “equal or do better than Banque Populaire V,” explained Francis.

IDEC SPORT will be continuing her rapid, direct tack towards the Horn until tomorrow morning, clocking up some useful miles over her virtual rival that they should overtake this evening. The ETA at the Horn depending on the difficulties in the light patch associated with the low pressure area under the coast of Chile, is for an arrival within sight of the famous rock in the middle of the day on Tuesday, after exactly the same time as that set by Banque Populaire V in 2011 (30 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes), which was the best time ever achieved by a sailing vessel.

At a time when IDEC SPORT is starting to head further towards the east, following the Great Circle Route, the visibility remains above 5 miles meaning that the helmsmen can feel more relaxed. “The seas are a bit rougher,” explained Francis, “and the whole of the bow sections are now underwater. It’s impossible to go further than the foot of the mast.” We can imagine it must be very tricky in these conditions taking in a reef with such a small crew. “Fortunately, our mast is perfectly suited to most of the conditions that we are encountering in the Southern Ocean,” added Francis. “This morning was only the third or fourth time that we have taken in a reef since the start.”

As of 21:00 UTC
Distance to finish: 8060.81 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 778.89 nm
Distance ahead of record: 117.89 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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