Racing the Clock Around the World

Published on November 20th, 2016

It was at 21:14:45 UTC on Sunday November 20 that Francis Joyon and his crew crossed the start line for the Jules Verne Trophy, the outright round the world sailing record, on the 31m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT.

“All we can see is the Créac’h Lighthouse. It’s pitch black. But we have the impression that this is the start of something big,” commented Francis Joyon, who is joined by Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Boris Herrmann.

While winds were light at the start line, which extends between the Le Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant and The Lizard at the SW tip of Britain, northerly gales are on their way to the tip of Brittany. This is the system that Francis and his router, Marcel van Triest, have been looking at. The skipper hopes to pick up these winds on Monday to speed across the Bay of Biscay and get to the trade winds off Portugal and the Canaries without hitch.

The first few hours were more of a slow trot as they make their way across a ridge, where there are light winds and calms. So the maxi trimaran is practically stopped waiting for the big blow to head towards the SW. As usual, the sea state will determine how fast they can go. The storms which swept across Western France this past weekend led to a heavy swell, but this has eased and is in the same direction as the wind, so it should not be too much of a problem for the multihull.

After making an initial attempt last year and getting ever so close to the record, the crew of IDEC SPORT has set off in the same configuration as last time. To smash the record of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds set by Loïck Peyron and his crew of thirteen dating back to January 2012, Joyon’s team must return to cross this same line between Brittany and Cornwall by 10:56:38 UTC on January 5, 2017.

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Background:
The Jules Verne Trophy is 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) will be skippering the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT to beat the current record set January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on the 40 VPLP-designed trimaran Banque Populaire V of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

IDEC SPORT crew
Francis Joyon (FRA), skipper
Bernard Stamm (CH), helmsman-trimmer
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), helmsman-trimmer
Alex Pella (ESP), helmsman-trimmer
Clément Surtel (FRA), helmsman-trimmer
Boris Herrmann (GER), helmsman-trimmer

Marcel Van Triest (NLD), on-shore router

Jules Verne Trophy

Record to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds set by Loïck Peyron and his crew of 13 in January 2012 on the trimaran Banque Populaire V (40 m)
Average speed to beat: 19.75 knots
Course: around the world via the three capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn.
Great circle distance: 21,600 miles
Start and finish line between Ushant (Créac’h Lighthouse and The Lizard (Cornwall).

IDEC SPORT trimaran
Trimaran with foils
Designers: VPLP
Previous names: Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII
Initial launch: June 2006
Length: 31.50 m
Beam: 22.50 m
Displacement: 15 t
Draught: 5.70 m
Mast height: 33.50 m
Structure: carbon-nomex

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