Crossing Midfield, Entering Minefield
Published on January 4th, 2017
(January 4, 2016; Day 20, 23:00 FR) – In their bid win the Jules Verne Trophy for fastest outright time around the world, Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT continue to maintain an impressive pace but the view ahead is less certain.
After Cape Leeuwin, just two days ago, the team smashed the reference time from Ushant to Tasmania to the SE of Australia, taking the title away from Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli’s Spindrift 2 maxi-trimaran. The new time is 18 days, 18 hours and 31 minutes replacing the previous time of 20 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes set last year by the world’s biggest racing trimaran and a crew of fourteen.
The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran has today completed the first half of the round the world voyage, having sailed the 11,160 theoretical miles representing half of the total distance between Ushant and Ushant via the three major capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn.
Joyon and his men swallowed up this first half at an average speed of 24.2 knots. In reality they have sailed 13,200 miles out on the water, at the incredible average speed of 28.7 knots.
As they begin to tackle the world’s biggest ocean, the Pacific, there is a strange problem for Joyon and his band of soldiers. How can they slow down a boat that is eager to speed across the ocean? They need to look after the boat and there is the fear of going faster than the low-pressure system and ending up in calms.
Tossed around by a nasty swell hitting the boat side on for the past 48 hours, Joyon’s crew have to put the brakes on their IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran. “It is something of a paradox,” continued Francis. “We are trying to smash speed records, but in the past 48 hours, we have been trying to find ways to slow the boat down and look after her.”
The unprecedented performance of the VPLP designed boat from 2005 has also led to some breakages, albeit superficial ones. “The plexiglass screen at the helm did not resist a breaker,” explained almost matter of factly Joyon. “We had to set up a replacement panel to protect the helmsman,” added Gwénolé Gahinet.
The nasty swell which was hitting the side of IDEC SPORT has now shifted to behind the boat. “Today, we have a very good wind angle with the breeze still at around thirty knots and the seas pushing us along from astern. The helmsman is not getting as wet and the movement of the boat is more comfortable than over the past couple of days,” stressed Joyon.
All lights are on green, in spite of the many little matters that the crew have to deal with and the start of the huge Pacific. “We are dreaming of Cape Horn, and the climb back up to Brazil,” said the youngest member of the crew, Gwénolé Gahinet. “A little bit of sunshine and warmth would do us good.”
However, getting to the Horn may not come easy. Joyon thinks there will be a relative slowdown in the Pacific with a series of manoeuvres and gybes to weave in and out of the systems on the edge of the ice zone.
With their latest 24 hour run of 814nm, the team has increased their lead to 1075.4 nm (+53.8 nm) ahead of the current time set in 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.
Status as of 23:00 FR
Distance to Finish: 11037.4 nm
24 Hour Distance: 814 nm
24 Hour Speed Average: 33.9 knots
Ahead/Behind: +1075.4 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