IDEC SPORT: Around the Horn, Behind the Record

Published on December 23rd, 2015

(December 23, 2015; Day 32) – The 31.5m maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT rounded the legendary Cape Horn at 0350hrs UTC on Tuesday night (Dec 22). Francis Joyon and his crew of five took 31 days 1 hour 47 minutes to sail from Ushant to the tip of South America.

The big, red multihull has made her way back into the Atlantic, leaving the desolate Southern Ocean in her wake and in so doing was very close to the intermediate time for the Jules Verne Trophy record set in December 2011 by Loïck Peyron and his crew of 13 on the maxi-trimaran, Banque Populaire V.

Rather like in the Indian Ocean, in the huge Pacific, IDEC SPORT switched between long periods of high speed sailing and time-consuming transition zones, often far away from the most direct route. It is almost as if the counter has been reset to zero as they start this final chapter in the Atlantic.

“We had to fight hard to get to the Horn tacking downwind in light winds below the coast of Chile,” explained Francis Joyon, now fully concentrated on the strategy required in the climb back up the South Atlantic.

As a reward after this hard work, the wind, which was blocked by the mountains for so long, finally appeared to greet the troops. So it was that in spite of the nasty choppy seas, IDEC SPORT left Staten Island to port at thirty knots. The race against the clock continues with the battle raging. In this part of the voyage, their virtual rival, Banque Populaire V, was fast, so aboard IDEC Sport they are reacting with a daring strategy between the St Helena high and the areas of low pressure moving away from Argentina.

“We have given IDEC SPORT the nickname of ‘30 knots or nothing’ ” joked Joyon, because the former Groupama IV, fitted with her short mast designed for solo sailing, is proving to be efficient in strong winds, but less at ease in light airs. “Before the start, we would have been pleased with the time it took us to reach the Horn,” Francis reminded us. “It means we are still in with every chance of beating the record.”

As of 21:00 UTC
Distance to finish: 6684.16 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 365.70 nm
Distance ahead of record: -156.50 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 04:01:58 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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