Optimism as Joyon Approaches Doldrums
Published on December 20th, 2016
(December 20, 2016; Day 5) – Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT continue at high speeds, averaging 30.5 knots over the past 24 hours to cover 731 nm. The team is now be 197 nm ahead of the pace needed to grasp the Jules Verne Trophy for crewed round the world speed.
Joyon and his crew will be facing the Doldrums late this evening. It will only have taken the elite squad four and a half days to reach this area of great instability, which stretches out a few degrees north of the Equator. The width and level of activity of this zone, where forecasts are not very reliable, will have a major effect on the time it takes the red and white maxi-trimaran to complete this first stretch of the Jules Verne Trophy.
Averaging over thirty knots out on the water and 25.5 on the great circle route, they have found just the right mixture of energy, concentration and vigilance to obtain a very good time between Ushant and the Equator. Will the final determining factor, the Doldrums, be kind to them? Joyon wants to believe so, stressing with a smile that “the Doldrums can’t have it in for us twice.”
Joyon continues, “It’s true that with the short mast and small crew, there have been weight savings and IDEC SPORT is behaving really well in these relatively stable trade winds on fairly calm seas. We are able to get the most out of the boat and she cuts magnificently through the water, which makes it a real pleasure to be at the helm. The combination of sails in this wind angle works remarkably well.”
IDEC SPORT is about to tackle all the uncertainties of the Doldrums. Router Marcel van Triest has seen an ideal entry point to get to the Southern Hemisphere at a longitude of 25 degrees west. The SE’ly trade winds can already be felt and should offer a decent crossing into the vagaries of the mighty South Atlantic.
Status as of 22:30 FR
Distance to Finish: 19635.07 nm
24 Hour Distance: 731 nm
24 Hour Speed Average: 30.5 knots
Ahead/Behind: +197 nm
Note: The 24 hour speed record of 908.2 nm (37.84 knot average) was set in 2009 by Banque Populaire 5, a 131-foot trimaran skippered by Pascal Bidegorry (FRA).
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.
After starting on November 16, Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT need to finish by 22:00:53 UTC on Monday January 30 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.
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
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
Source: IDEC SPORT