IDEC SPORT: Final Week

Published on January 1st, 2016

(January 1, 2016; Day 41) – “Our final week looks very exciting.” That was how the youngest member of Francis Joyon’s crew, Gwénolé Gahinet, summed up the situation as he celebrated his 32nd birthday at sea. More than the little gifts from his fellow crewmen, the most important thing for him was the fact that he was out there competing on a maxi multihull in this incredible challenge. The atmosphere remains joyful and festive on the IDEC SPORT 31.5m maxi-trimaran, back at speed for the final amazing dash home.

Having regained almost 600 miles in two days from the Jules Verne Trophy record holder and more than 400 from their rival out there on the water, the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2, Joyon and his men have shown once again the quality of their boat and their determination to push hard in any wind they manage to get. Due to cross the Equator later this afternoon, IDEC SPORT will be tackling the final tortuous stretch back to Ushant with some strong NE’ly trade winds, a well-established Azores high and a series of lows in the North Atlantic, which are looking oparticularly violent. A great way to finish this fast race around the world after everything that has happened.

2016-01-01_15-09-00“This isn’t the first time this has happened to us during the dash around the world, but we are going to have to carry out some work on the mast to repair a damaged mainsail car.” Francis Joyon went on to explain to us that apart from a weakening easterly wind, as they approached what is more or less the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, the speed of the big, red trimaran, which has been so high for 48 hours will be dropping in the coming hours, when the crew brings down the mainsail to make it easier for Clément Surtel to work on the mast and damaged car.

They have been celebrating the New Year and young Gwenolé’s birthday, so in spite of the slowdown, the crossing of the Equator is seen as a major moment in this round the world voyage. IDEC SPORT, so cruelly punished after rounding the Horn, is finishing off the South Atlantic at cannonball pace as they climb back up the coast of Brazil. “Thirty knots or nothing,” as Joyon’s troops have named her has lived up to her promise and regained 600 miles in just two days from the record-holder, Banque Populaire V, meaning the gap has been cut to 750 miles from the 1350 they recorded on Wednesday morning. The big gennaker will shortly be replaced by the solent, to advance with a NE’ly wind on the beam, although there is still the option of cutting across by sailing close to the wind. It is of course, how they get to the westerly winds that will determine the final time. Slow moments, periods of acceleration, strategic changes of tack, a stormy finish…the 2015-2016 Jules Verne Trophy still has a lot up its sleeve.

As of 21:00 UTC
Distance to finish: 3232.66 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 482.8 nm
Distance ahead of record: -672.54 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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